PRESS BRIEFING BY BRENDEN VARMA, SPOKESPERSON FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT VOLKAN BOZKIR

PRESIDENT CALLS FOR VACCINES FOR ALL, AS WORLD REACHES 100 MILLION COVID-19 CASES

  • In a tweet this morning, the President noted that the world has now surpassed the grim milestone of 100 million COVID-19 cases.
  • In that context, he called on all Member States to urgently mobilize resources and demonstrate solidarity and leadership to make vaccines available for all.

PRESIDENT PAYS TRIBUTE TO VICTIMS & SURVIVORS ON HOLOCAUST COMMEMORATION DAY

  • Today is the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. To mark the occasion, the President released a video message, which was shown during the UN’s commemoration ceremony this morning.
  • In that message, he said, “On this day, we honour the millions of Jews and the other groups who lost their lives during a time of unparalleled inhumanity in the middle of Europe. On this day, we remember those who survived the Holocaust and their pain.”
  • Noting that the victims became targets of hatred and violence because of who they were, he said this all began as intolerance and bigotry, evolved into a systematic campaign and ended as genocide.
  • He said we must never lose sight of what went wrong and must ensure that it never happens again.
  • He added that we are once again faced with a rising tide of racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. We are witnessing hatred towards other minorities and religious groups. 
  • In that regard, he called for vigilance and condemnations of intolerance. He added, “Inertia is not an option.” 
  • Today’s commemorative ceremony was organized in part by The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, which was established by the General Assembly in 2005.

COORDINATION BETWEEN GENERAL ASSEMBLY & ECOSOC NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER

  • Today at 3:00 p.m., Member States will hear a joint briefing by the Presidents of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
  • This practice of joint briefings was first instituted in 2019 during the General Assembly’s 73rd session – to ensure coherence, address overlapping mandates, and improve the efficiency, content and quality of the work of the UN system.
  • The President is expected to say this afternoon that such a coordinated approach is needed now more than ever – with recovery from COVID-19 looming before us and with urgent action needed to accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda.
  • He will stress the need to address recurring gaps in financing for development and link that to pandemic recovery efforts.
  • He will also say that with trillions of dollars pouring into recovery efforts, and with clear setbacks to development gains across the board, it is imperative that we aim for a transformational recovery. He’ll add that what has set us back, can also propel us forward.
  • He will also highlight his #Vaccines4All initiative and encourage Member States to join him in drumming up public and political support for access to COVID-19 vaccines as a global public good.