PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR
SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM: MEMBER STATES’ COMMITMENT TO NEGOTIATION IS CRUCIAL
- The General Assembly plenary is meeting all day today on Security Council reform.
- In his remarks to the meeting, the President said the Council has, on many occasions, failed to carry out its responsibility to maintain international peace and security.
- Competing interests among its members and frequent use of the veto have limited its effectiveness.
- Even in some of the most urgent humanitarian crises, the Council could not provide a timely and adequate response.
- The President said this is a serious setback to the UN’s founding principles and our common efforts to build a peaceful world.
- He noted that Security Council reform ultimately depends on the Member States. Their commitment to negotiation is crucial.
- Asked for predictions of when there might be agreement on Security Council reform, the Spokesperson said this was all in the hands of Member States. He noted the President’s strong speech this morning, in which he had urged Member States to negotiate and make progress on this issue, which was so critical to the United Nations as a whole.
- The Spokesperson added that the President had appointed the co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiations, the Permanent Representatives of Poland and Qatar, to take this matter forward. And he had done that relatively early so that there would be plenty of time for consultations to start in a timely manner. He said the President would be following the matter, and hopefully, there would be progress.
- Asked how long the General Assembly plenary was expected to discuss Security Council reform, the Spokesperson said today’s debate would be held during both the morning and afternoon, thereby lasting all day.
TOP VACCINE DEVELOPERS ACCEPT INVITATION TO SPEAK AT SPECIAL SESSION ON COVID-19
- The President met virtually this morning with Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci of BioNTech. They are developing a COVID-19 vaccine together with Pfizer.
- Following a discussion on pandemic recovery, they accepted the President’s invitation to speak at the General Assembly’s special session on COVID-19, which will be held on 3-4 December.
- Asked if representatives of Pfizer had also been present at this meeting, the Spokesperson said the meeting had only involved representatives of BioNTech, including its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
- Asked whether they had discussed the use of the BioNTech vaccine within COVAX, the Spokesperson said the meeting had focused on the participation of Dr. Şahin and Dr. Türeci in the upcoming General Assembly special session on COVID-19. It was important for the President to have them both participate, and they confirmed that they would try to do so.
WE ALL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO PROMOTE TOLERANCE, PRESIDENT SAYS
- Today is the International Day for Tolerance, which was established in 1996 by the General Assembly.
- In a video message to mark the day, the President said that, today, xenophobia, racism and discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds are on the rise.
- He added that it is high time to take effective measures against rising injustice, prejudice, hate crimes and hate speech.
- Each of us has an individual and collective responsibility to promote tolerance.
THIRD COMMITTEE TAKES ACTION ON RESOLUTIONS ON WOMEN & CHILDREN
- The Third Committee, which handles social, humanitarian and cultural issues, is meeting today to take action on draft resolutions.
- Those drafts relate to such themes as: trafficking in women and girls; child, early and forced marriage; the world drug problem; the elimination of female genital mutilation; the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls; and protecting children from bullying.