In March 2020 the world stopped, but not the needs of the world. This year the covid-19 will once again capture the attention of heads of state and international organizations, but the president of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, warned this week that there are too many challenges to limit himself to solving the pandemic, in a world where at least half the population does not have health coverage. “The United Nations is back,” he announced with determination.
Not that they had retired. The Turkish diplomat, who has been in office for four months, said he was proud to have continued the most critical tasks “even in the most difficult circumstances”, having achieved 257 resolutions and having the record participation of heads of state in the usual high-level summit that the General Assembly held in September, virtually. Something he sees as “a testament to the power and relevance of the United Nations.” However, he recalled that as a consequence of the pandemic “we are facing the largest global recession since the Great Depression and the broadest collapse in income since 1870.”
This socio-economic crisis affects above all the most vulnerable, those that the UN watches over. These are the 3 billion people who have nowhere to wash their hands and the 3.7 billion who lack the most basic digital connection. The pandemic has interrupted efforts to forgive developing countries’ debt and what little relief they received from tourism and exports. They are not abstract victims. Almost 700 million people in the world go hungry.
In addition to coordinating the humanitarian response and the distribution of vaccines, Bozkir will maintain the focus on women and girls, who face an increase in domestic violence. It will continue to support refugees and displaced people, peacekeeping operations of the blue helmets and, of course, the fight against climate change. “When we ignore it, we devastate ecosystems and threaten biodiversity, we not only risk the health of the planet, but that of humanity,” he warned. «Zoonotic (animal transmitted) diseases such as covid-19 are on the rise. If we don’t find a balance with nature, we only risk more crisis.
On the agenda for the year, he has prepared a special session of the General Assembly for June dedicated to confronting the threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies. There will also be a mid-term debate to review the situation of African descendants in the world, a World Diplomacy and Multilateralism Day in April, and a week-long counter-terrorism summit in June, for which the collaboration was especially appreciated. from Spain and Oman.
The General Assembly will maintain the focus on humanitarian response, vaccine distribution and domestic violence
The High Level Summit in September will be dedicated this year to preventing crime to ensure urban safety, in cooperation with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. When at the end of his term he will receive world leaders, virtually or in person, it is not yet known, Bozkir will ask them to implement the necessary reforms in the organization “so that the UN can fulfill its purpose and achieve the future that we want”. Quite a challenge with which to culminate a historic year.