MARIO ABDO BENÍTEZ, President of Paraguay, said the pandemic inspired solidarity, but also revealed uncomfortable realities. Equitable distribution of the vaccine continues to be an issue, he stressed, reporting that Paraguay was made to wait for its share of doses regardless of agreements and payments made within the COVAX structure. In that context, he expressed disappointment in the response of the multilateral system to ensure equitable access to the vaccines, which are being used as a political and ideological tool.
Turning to the economy, he noted that Paraguay, as a landlocked developing country, is dependent on the world for food. For post-pandemic recovery, it will be vital for Paraguay to be able to export its own products in other countries, he said. Meanwhile, his Government is working to transform Paraguay’s geographic location into an advantage and promote physical integration throughout the region. Indeed, integration and sustainable development are at the heart of the Paraguay’s economy.
Climate change is linked to the water crisis affecting his region, he continued. Low water levels are compromising drinking supplies and negatively affecting navigation which further hampers international trade and energy generation. In that context, it is important that all countries honour their Paris Agreement commitments, particularly as they pertain to providing support for vulnerable developing countries.
He went on to emphasize that terrorism and organized crime are real threats to international community. Paraguay, for its part, has updated its legal frameworks to improve capacity and bolster international cooperation on that front. Furthermore, the use of children, kidnapping and extortion is inhumane, and Paraguay is working to ensure the return of nationals kidnapped by those organized crime groups. Highlighting the importance of the United Nations role in buttressing democracy around the world, he stressed that the General Assembly’s agenda should be enhanced and the Security Council reformed.
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