REMARKS AT THE OPENING OF THE SEVENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
14 September 2021
[bilingual, as delivered]
It’s a pleasure to join you again for the opening of the 76th session of the General Assembly.
Let me start by warmly congratulating His Excellency Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives on his election.
His longstanding diplomatic experience — including as Minister of Foreign Affairs — will serve him well in his new role.
And coming from the Maldives, he brings a fresh perspective on the unique experience of small island states.
Mr. President — I look forward to close collaboration as we work to serve and support countries during this extraordinary moment in time, and live up to the great promise and potential of the multilateral system and the United Nations.
You can count on the full support and partnership of the UN family as you carry out the important work of this Assembly.
Cet esprit de partenariat, d’union pour une cause commune, est au cœur même du travail de notre Organisation.
Et cet esprit est plus important que jamais.
Nous voici réunis dans une période marquée par de grands défis et des divisions.
Par les conflits et le changement climatique.
Par la hausse de la pauvreté, de l’exclusion et des inégalités.
Et par une pandémie qui continue de menacer la vie, les moyens de subsistance et l’avenir des populations.
Ces problèmes sont aggravés par les divisions qui fracturent notre monde.
Par les écarts entre riches et pauvres.
Entre ceux qui prennent pour acquis les services de base – nutrition, eau courante, accès aux soins de santé – et ceux pour qui ces services essentiels ne constituent qu’un rêve lointain.
Entre ceux qui ont accès à une salle de classe et aux compétences nécessaires pour bâtir un avenir meilleur – et ceux qui se voient refuser cette possibilité en raison de la pauvreté ou de leur genre.
Entre ceux qui peuvent bénéficier d’un vaccin salvateur contre le COVID-19 – et les autres.
Mr. President, these challenges and divisions are not a force of nature.
They are man-made.
By economic systems stacked against the poorest and most vulnerable.
By unchecked greed that is destroying our planet.
By the lingering scars of colonialism that have never fully healed.
By thirst for political and ideological dominance that fuels social unrest, mistrust, terrorism and armed
But these challenges and divisions can also be corrected.
If we come together, now, as a human family.
If we unite behind our work here in this Chamber and gather around the spirit of multilateralism that brings it to life.
If we get serious about translating rhetoric into results for the most vulnerable.
Because, as COVID-19 and climate change are proving every day, challenges and threats are borderless.
They affect us all.
Before the pandemic struck, the world was off-track to meeting many of the Sustainable Development Goals.
COVID-19 has placed our goals even further out of reach.
We must accelerate.
We need to speed-up our response to COVID-19, with vaccines, treatment and equipment for all — not only those with the most.
We need to invest in all of the systems that support human development. Health care, nutrition, water, education, and protection and full equality for girls and women.
We need countries to commit and live up to bold climate targets at COP26 in Glasgow. The war on our planet must end.
The wars on each other need to end, too. It’s time to focus on fighting humanity’s common enemy: the pandemic. The members of this Assembly must speak with one voice — we need peace, now.
Mr. President, throughout this work, we need to re-commit to the values that have animated the United Nations from day one.
Human rights. Supporting the most vulnerable. Peace through dialogue. Solidarity in the face of challenges that threaten us all.
We are here — all of us — because we believe in these values.
And because we believe a better world is possible.
Over the next year — every day — let us keep this better world in view.
Let us live and breathe our values in this Assembly, and across our work.
And let us prove not through our words, but through our actions and collaboration, that multilateralism is the only pathway to a better future for all.
Mr. President, the entire Secretariat is at your disposal. We look forward to working closely with you, and this Assembly, during the 76th session.