General Debate
    President of the General Assembly (opening)
    His Excellency
    Abdulla Shahid
    President of the General Assembly
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    Statement summary

    ABDULLA SHAHID (Maldives), President of the General Assembly, recalling the international community’s achievements in the past two years, praised the worldwide collaboration of scientists and researchers to develop multiple viable vaccines for COVID-19.  The vaccine roll-out was the largest in the history of humankind, a huge undertaking of which the international community should be proud.  Recalling the Secretary‑General’s Our Common Agenda report and his discussions with world leaders, he emphasized that nations want to find solutions to collective challenges such as fragility, conflict, COVID-19 and climate change.

    However, he emphasized that more should be done.  Political support was often lacking to address the myriad issues facing the world and humankind was at a turning point.  COVID-19 may have been a tragedy, but it was also a warning of the perils the world would face if countries avoided making the hard but necessary choices.  Nonetheless, he believed in the power of humanity to overcome these challenges, he stated.

    During the seventy-sixth session, the General Assembly was directing its efforts on five areas, he continued.  Vaccine equity was the priority, with a focus on addressing practical obstacles for vaccine distribution.  Longer-term recovery from COVID-19 incorporating better, stronger, greener and bluer strategies would also be addressed.  The climate crisis remained a top priority with a series of events on climate action being planned, including one leading to the upcoming twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) to build ambition.

    The General Assembly was also going to hold an event on other major environmental efforts on the ocean, desertification and biodiversity, he continued, adding that human rights was the fourth area of focus for the General Assembly.  United Nations reform and revitalization must continue and would remain a priority for the General Assembly, he underscored.  One of his first actions in this regard would aim at better engagement with civil society organizations, including bringing more youth on board, such as the Youth Fellowship Programme.



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