ZUZANA ČAPUTOVÁ, President of Slovakia, highlighted that the challenges the world faces today have one common denominator — they are caused by humans. “It thus falls to us to deliver human-made solutions. The time for talking, discussion and promises is over,” she declared. Calling on the General Assembly to start with the restoration of peace, she drew attention to the increase in conflict-related deaths. The Russian Federation’s illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine — Slovakia’s direct neighbour — has substantially contributed to this rise. She lamented that for more than 570 days, innocent Ukrainian civilians have been killed, children kidnapped and towns and cities destroyed. Noting that the infrastructure for the export of grain to those who need it is not spared from bombardments, she urged Moscow to let the grain leave Ukrainian ports. She also underscored that the world needs action for peace from the Russian Federation as a permanent member of the Security Council.
Turning to climate change, she said that, because of human activity, cities are becoming warmer, oceans more acidic and land more arid. “This summer gave us another preview of what we can expect if we sit on our hands,” she warned, regretting that the world is not doing enough. As the emissions still exceed the targets set by the Paris Agreement, the worst-case scenario is avertable. To this end, global emissions must peak before 2030. Stressing that feasible, effective and low-cost options for mitigation and adaptation are already available, she called for accelerating the green transition. Slovakia is doing its share, she stated, informing that 85 per cent of the country’s electricity is already produced with zero emissions. In the next seven years, the country will use 5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to decarbonize its economy and increase the use of renewables.
In this vein, she announced that in 2030, Slovakia’s emissions will be 55 per cent lower than they were in 1990. Slovakia will also continue to meet its obligations under the global climate finance commitment. She went on to reiterate that crises, including climate change, hit hardest those least responsible for their creation — vulnerable populations, women, children and the poorest. If peace and prosperity are to be achieved, these groups must be included. In this regard, she expressed concern that the international community is not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. She underlined that today, 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human dignity, freedom, justice and the rule of law require universal protection. This is even more important given the impact of new technologies that unlock considerable potential in multiple areas.
Nevertheless, the evolution of these technologies sometimes overtakes the pace at which the human mind and emotions adapt, she observed, pointing to the deluge of disinformation on increasingly used social media as a testimony. She reminded: “Platforms have removed barriers across the globe, linking people like never before but they have also destroyed barriers that protected the rights and integrity of others.” Insisting that any technology be used with dignity and rights of every individual in mind, she argued that we cannot postpone the democratic regulation of this space. To this end, facts and science are essential, which the pandemic confirmed. However, if humankind continues to build alternative truths and deepen distrust, the world will not be able to take the necessary actions. Expressing hope for a different course of events, she spotlighted that for the young people of Slovakia, equality is the most important societal value.
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