PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR
PRESIDENT CONGRATULATES 3rd COMMITTEE AS PLENARY CONSIDERS ITS REPORTS
- This morning the General Assembly plenary is considering reports from its Third Committee, which covers social, humanitarian and cultural issues.
- In remarks, the President congratulated the Committee for ensuring business continuity during the pandemic. He noted that it had held 15 in-person meetings and 29 virtual meetings.
- That included more than 75 hours of interactive dialogue with 64 special procedure mandate holders and 15 UN representatives. It also considered more than 100 reports.
- The President welcomed the fact that, of the 50 resolutions adopted by the Third Committee, 31 – or most of them – were adopted by consensus.
- He commended delegations for the resolution on ‘Inclusive Development for and with Persons with Disabilities,’ which urges non-discrimination, accessibility and inclusion in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
- He also welcomed the resolutions which place women and girls at the centre of the COVID-19 response, highlight their essential role in responding to the pandemic, and call for measures to end gender-based discrimination.
MEETING TO CONSIDER 2nd COMMITTEE REPORTS POSTPONED DUE TO SNOWSTORM WARNING
- The plenary was supposed to meet this afternoon at 3:00 to consider the reports of the Second Committee, which handles economic and financial matters.
- However, in light of the severe snowstorm warning in New York, the President has rescheduled that meeting. It will now take place on Monday, 21 December at 3 p.m.
ASSEMBLY CONTINUES WORK DESPITE COVID-19, PRESIDENT NOTES IN NEWSLETTER
- The President has written to Member States to share his latest newsletter, note some of his reflections on the session thus far, and provide details on next year’s engagements.
- He notes that, despite the challenges arising from the pandemic, the General Assembly has held high-level meetings, conducted elections, continued work in its Main Committees, adopted important decisions and resolutions, and considered reports of key UN bodies – all while following medical guidance to mitigate risks.
- He says the lack of known cases of transmission at UN Headquarters shows the commitment of delegations to successfully implement risk mitigation measures.
- In terms of his recent highlights, those include the General Assembly’s special session on COVID-19, where the high level of representation showed Member States’ commitment to cooperate to end the pandemic, mitigate its impacts and forge a more resilient path forward. He also noted the launch of his initiative to support fair and equitable access to vaccines, called #Vaccines4All.
- Looking ahead, he notes a number of high-level meetings that he will convene or actively engage in during the coming year, including the special session on corruption in June 2021; high-level meetings on such topics as water, middle-income countries and desertification; and a spotlight event on COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19: MEMBER STATES BRIEFED ON U.S. SITUATION & RESPONSE BY WHITE HOUSE COORDINATOR
- The Spokesperson was asked what Member States had been told during yesterday’s informal virtual briefing by Dr. Deborah L. Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator at the Office of the Vice-President of the United States.
- The Spokesperson noted that Dr. Birx had provided a snapshot of the situation of COVID-19 in the United States and how the US was responding to it. It had been an important opportunity for Member States to be presented with data and understand the current dynamics, given that UN diplomats resided in the US and the US was the UN’s host country.
SPOKESPERSON REFERS JOURNALIST TO LAW OF THE SEA CONVENTION
- Asked for the President’s position on how far States’ maritime boundaries should extend, the Spokesperson said that this was not a matter for the President to weigh in on and referred the reporter to the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention and the ample information available on that topic.