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

PRESIDENT CALLS FOR ELIMINATION OF URBAN CRIME AS ASSEMBLY HOLDS HIGH-LEVEL DEBATE

  • Today the President is convening the “High-level Debate on Urban Safety, Security and Good Governance: Making Crime Prevention a Priority for All.”
  • Eleven ministers addressed the meeting by video message this morning.
  • In his opening remarks, the President said that urban crimes, including corruption, money-laundering, the trafficking of illicit firearms, people smuggling and terrorism, undermine the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • He therefore called for collective action to eliminate urban crime, and he lauded the New Urban Agenda, which was adopted at the 2016 UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, as a positive step.
  • He added that, while the justice system is essential for crime prevention, we also need to address the root causes of urban crime – such as conflict, violence and human rights abuses – and move from a focus on punitive measures to more evidence-based prevention.
  • Noting that the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19 have hampered the path to 2030, he stressed that we cannot allow crime to derail us further.
  • There will also be an interactive panel discussion this afternoon. Panelists will include the Executive Director of UN-Habitat and the Mayor of Medellín, Colombia.

 

PAKISTAN: PRESIDENT CONDEMNS HEINOUS TERRORIST ATTACK

  • The Spokesperson was asked for the President’s reaction to the recent terrorist act in Quetta, Pakistan.
  • The Spokesperson said the President had certainly seen the horrific news, condemned this heinous terrorist attack, and sent his condolences to the Government and people of Pakistan, the families of the victims and the survivors.

 

BALANCE NEEDED BETWEEN ECONOMIC, SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL NEEDS, PRESIDENT SAYS ON MOTHER EARTH DAY

  • Today is International Mother Earth Day, which was proclaimed by the General Assembly in 2009.
  • In a video message, the President said we recognize the day this year under the shadow of a pandemic that has underscored the close relationship between human health and the natural world.
  • He said, “If ever we needed a sign that we must fix our relationship with nature, this is it.”
  • He added that we cannot continue to focus only on economic growth at the cost of all else – and must find a balance between economic, social and environmental needs.

 

PRESIDENT MARKS INTERNATIONAL GIRLS IN I.C.T. DAY

  • Today is also International Girls in ICT Day. In a tweet, the President said technology has been invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet almost half the world – mostly women and girls in developing countries – is still offline.
  • He added that, ahead of the General Assembly’s High-level Thematic Debate on Digital Cooperation and Connectivity next week, we should redouble our efforts to make technology available to all.

 

INFORMAL DIALOGUE WITH CANDIDATE FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL TO BE WEBCAST

  • Asked if the 7 May informal dialogue with the current candidate for Secretary-General would be public, the Spokesperson confirmed that it would be open and webcast. He added that civil society was welcome to submit questions to the candidate via the President’s web site
  • Asked if the dialogue would be held physically at the UN, the Spokesperson said that, yes, it would be held in the General Assembly Hall.
  • Asked whether reporters would be able to ask questions, the Spokesperson said no specific press encounter was being set up. Nevertheless, journalists could always submit questions along with civil society through the President’s web site – although it was not guaranteed that their questions would be selected for presentation to the candidate.

 

OTHER ITEMS

  • Myanmar: In response to a question, the Spokesperson said that no draft resolution on Myanmar was formally being debated in the General Assembly right now.