PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR
SECURITY COUNCIL REFORM MUST REFLECT 21ST CENTURY REALITIES
- Today is the 75th session’s first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform.
- In his remarks, the President said the implementation of the Security Council’s decisions, and its very legitimacy, could be enhanced if the Council were reformed to be more representative, effective, efficient, accountable and transparent.
- He said it was crucial that any reforms to the Council reflect the realities of the 21st century.
- He added that the most appropriate platform to pursue this reform was within the framework of the Intergovernmental Negotiations. But this process would be put at risk if we failed to make real progress. In that regard, he asked all delegations to use this opportunity to engage constructively.
- He said, “We must give this process a chance.” His full remarks are on our web site.
- There is considerable interest among Member States in Security Council reform. But because of COVID-19 mitigation measures, only one delegate per country is allowed into the General Assembly Hall. However, the talks are not being webcast since they are informal.
- Therefore, at the request of the co-chairs– namely the Permanent Representatives of Poland and Qatar — three spillover rooms have been linked to the Hall so that more diplomats can participate in the process.
PRESIDENT VOICES SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS, TEACHERS & PARENTS AS EDUCATION FACES UNPRECEDENTED THREATS
- Yesterday was the International Day of Education, which was established by the General Assembly in 2018.
- In a video message, the President said this year’s International Day was like no other, as we contend with the greatest threat to education in the history of the United Nations.
- He noted that over 300 million students are out of school and that the education of almost 1.6 billion learners has been disrupted by COVID-19.
- Talking to students around the world, who might be struggling to learn at home, missing their friends, or feeling frustrated and despondent, he said, “Do not despair. You will get through this difficult period, and you will pursue your dreams.”
- In that regard, he called on Member States to invest urgently in education systems and in improving access to technology.
- Meanwhile, in his remarks to a UNESCO-organized virtual event this morning, the President commended our courageous teachers who are adapting their classrooms to provide safe learning environments – and all parents who are doing their best to facilitate learning at home.
- At the same time, he highlighted the digital divide, which prevents those furthest behind from accessing online educational resources. He said, “Unless we take urgent action, more than 24 million children are at risk of dropping out of school.”
- He also warned that, because of COVID-19, some 11 million girls and young women may never return to education – due to household chores, gender-based violence, early and forced marriage, and early and unintended pregnancy.
- Stating that inclusive education is the foundation for building a more equal, just and safer society, he stressed, “We cannot afford to lose a generation of students now.”
PRESIDENTS OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY & ECOSOC TO BRIEF MEMBER STATES THIS WEEK
- Over the weekend, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) marked its 75th anniversary.
- The President tweeted: “Never before has the fulfillment of ECOSOC’s mandate been more crucial.”
- He added that the anniversary was an opportunity to re-affirm the special bond between ECOSOC and the General Assembly – and their commitment to strengthen collaboration and coherence.
- And on that note, there will be a joint briefing to Member States by the Presidents of the General Assembly and ECOSOC this Wednesday, 27 January, at 3:00 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall.