BORUT PAHOR, President of Slovenia, said solutions to such global challenges as COVID-19, climate change and peace can only be found by working together to seize a historical opportunity to steer change in a direction beneficial for all. In combating COVID-19, science has proven its decisive role as the world faces the greatest test in global solidarity in generations, he said, paying respect to the new life-saving heroes, including health-care workers. The world must also take action to address climate change and listen to scientists and experts when shaping decisions. Committed to the objective of a climate‑neutral European Union by 2050, he said Slovenia supports taking swift action in light of alarming findings in the recent International Panel on Climate Change report and looks forward to the forthcoming United Nations conference in Glasgow.
A much-needed green transition should go hand in hand with digital transformation, he said, adding that nations must use reform and investments to achieve climate neutrality. Competition for increasingly scarce water resources and the imminent water crisis is an opportunity to rethink innovation, governance and collaboration at all levels. Climate change also affects food security. For the first time in history, global warming is the sole cause of a famine, occurring in Madagascar. While countries like Slovenia are contributing to World Food Programme (WFP) efforts around the world, fighting famine must go beyond humanitarian aid and must accelerate transitions to sustainable and resilient food systems.
The responsible use of new and emerging technologies can help tackle modern challenges, he continued. New technologies offer numerous opportunities to mitigate climate change, support sustainable agriculture, introduce smarter mobility, offer better education and improve the effective use of resources, he explained, noting that Slovenia launched, with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Research Centre on Artificial Intelligence in March in Ljubljana. The pandemic has only increased dependence on digital space, while at the same time revealing that platform’s vulnerabilities to the spread of hate speech, he said, reiterating that fundamental freedoms apply both online and offline.
Turning to peace and security, he said dependence on digital space has revealed a vulnerability to threats and cyberattacks. To enable peace and security in all domains, collective and more effective plans must respond to different crises, which currently exceed the capacities of individual States to react. The interconnected and interdependent nature of peace and security, sustainable development and human rights is more evident than ever before. The pandemic has worsened the situation of most vulnerable members of society, with shrinking spaces for the freedom of expression. The full realization of human rights for all has proven to be key to resilience and must be an integral part of recovery efforts. The situation in Afghanistan has exposed the fragility of the world’s human rights system. In this vein, he welcomed the Secretary-General’s call for action on human rights.
Following the atrocities of the Second World War, he said, the global community has built an international system codified by international law to promote dialogue and the peaceful settlement of disputes. All nations must work on actively ensuring respect for the principles of international law and for strengthening justice, he said, emphasizing that: “This is about effective multilateralism, which Slovenia is passionately advocating for; this is the United Nations finest achievement. Once again, let us work together.”
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