LUIS ALBERTO ARCE CATACORA, President of Bolivia, stressed that the capitalist system continues to replicate practices of colonial domination and exploitation, while many brilliant proposals emerging from the General Assembly have been ignored – presenting an existential threat to the planet. According to experts, the world has exceeded six of the nine planetary limits within which humanity and Earth can continue to develop and prosper, a tragic situation worsened during the last decades of unipolarity, inaction and unmet promises. However, he expressed conviction that a new international order is emerging in which all people participate “without masters or slaves”. Calling for an end to the arms race, he expressed alarm that global military spending has reached historic figures, with $2.24 trillion in weapons and war industry spending by April 2023. He further noted that a growing number of countries are seeking to use outer space to improve their military capabilities.
In view of that, he reiterated the regional commitment proclaiming Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, within the framework of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Turning to the environment, he called on each State to dedicate resources to the Damage and Loss Fund in proportion to its historical responsibility for greenhouse gases. “We must be bold and transform the expenses of war and death into investments for life,” he stated. While the neoliberal order multiplies forms of domination, exploitation and exclusion, he pointed to the unprecedented and peaceful rise of the Global South, through regional and interregional processes of cooperation and integration. The emergence of trade blocs in Asia, Africa, South America or the BRICS grouping allow nations to access international markets without the need to compromise their sovereignty.
Highlighting Bolivia’s economic efforts, he noted that nominal gross domestic product (GDP) increased from $40 billion in 2021 to $44 billion in 2022 — “the highest figure in our history” — without raising interest rates, or practicing neoliberal monetary policies, while taking care of the poorest. Turning to the climate crisis, he called for concrete actions based on the thinking of indigenous peoples, with developed countries making historical compensation and reparations to developing countries. “The systematic transfer of wealth from the South to the North has put us at a disadvantage to this day,” he said. Voicing alarm over water scarcity, he heralded this year’s conclusion of the Treaty on Marine Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction. Citing the active participation of indigenous peoples in Bolivian State affairs, making its recent achievements possible, he called on the Assembly to continue strengthening their rights and participation.
Voicing condemnation that 736 million women worldwide — one in every three women — have been victims of physical and/or sexual violence, he further warned that 800 women die every day from pregnancy-related complications. Calling for an end to international sanctions and unilateral coercive measures, he said a clear example of this is the illegal, inhumane and criminal economic and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba, and further rejected the inclusion of Cuba as a promoter of terrorism. Such measures run contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and the mandate of the Security Council. He further urged the international community to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine, allowing its people to exercise their right to self-determination in a free, independent and sovereign State within pre-1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. Current crises demand a strong United Nations, consistent with the principles that created it, committed to peace, maintaining its intergovernmental character without subordination to any hegemonic power.
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