– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

7 October 2020

Excellencies, dear colleagues, dear guests,

I am delighted to be with you for this virtual meeting today, and to sit side by side with the co-facilitators on the modalities of the Special Session of the General Assembly on COVID-19. I am honoured to preside over this important Special Session and I am grateful to the membership for entrusting me with this crucial responsibility.

I would like to extend my thanks to the co-facilitators, Ambassador Yashar Aliyev, Permanent Representative of Azerbaijan, and Ambassador Louise Blais, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada, for convening this meeting and for your efforts to engage Member States on the modalities for this Special Session.

I am pleased that the three previous rounds of consultations have led to agreement on several key issues.  That is, of course, going to be followed further, but today is the first one from when I took over the Office, and I give much importance to the result orientated work you are going to achieve.

Distinguished delegates,

Today’s meeting could not be timelier.

We have just concluded the General Debate where each and every Member State referred to the catastrophic consequences of this pandemic. 

There was a strong call by leaders for the word to come together to address the pandemic through multilateral action.

It is clear to everyone that solidarity and cooperation are critical to overcome this unprecedented challenge.  The Special Session is therefore a UN project and I encourage all Member States to make it a success. When this issue first came into my files, there was a question on when it should take place and my answer was it should have taken place last June, instead of looking for a date in the future.

So my understanding is that this Special Session must convene as soon as possible to show the world that the UN is discussing the very important pandemic and give the floor to those countries who have suffered more, the people that have increased difficulties because of the pandemic.

So I think this Session provides a historic opportunity, in this respect, for a discussion to galvanize concerted action by the international community to defeat COVID19 and help mitigate its social, humanitarian and economic consequences.

I am honoured that the UN members have elected me as the President of the Special Session. And I am ready to strongly support this joint humanitarian effort.

I think this Session provides a historic opportunity, in this respect, for a discussion to galvanize concerted action by the international community to defeat COVID19 and help mitigate its social, humanitarian and economic consequences.

Volkan Bozkir

President of the UN General Assembly

Excellencies, distinguished delegates,

The urgency of the pandemic makes it paramount that the Special Session is held as soon as possible, as I have mentioned previously.

And as I discussed with the co-facilitators when we met last week, the Special Session must demonstrate to those that we serve that, through the United Nations, Member States are pursuing a robust and comprehensive response to this collective challenge. 

General Assembly decisions have significant normative weight. We must speak with one voice and work in solidarity during such challenging times. 

And the Special Session is the beginning, not the end, of our collective response and recovery from COVID-19.

I wish you every success in the continuation of this consultation process on the modalities, so that we can have a substantive Special Session with realised consequences in the world outside this building.

I am confident that through our concerted efforts, with the United Nations at the forefront, this global challenge can be overcome. My team and I stand ready to assist you in this essential endeavour.

Thank you very much for having me in this very important meeting and I wish you all the success and best luck in your future endeavours.