On the work of the United Nations General Assembly with regard to combating the COVID-19 pandemic
On 22 April a group of Western states and their supporters again blocked the adoption of Russia-proposed draft Declaration of UN General Assembly on Solidarity in Countering COVID-19 that was co-authored by 34 UN Member-States.
Before submitting the draft for consideration of UNGA for the second time, we had revised the text taking into account approaches and priorities of interested delegations and adding a number of meaningful provisions that had been previously approved of in various international formats.
The main task of our draft was to call the global community to solidarity in the face of the pandemic, especially with regard to supporting developing states. In this context we added a reference to the statement by the Group of 77 and China on coronavirus – an official document of the General Assembly that reflects position of more than 130 states on that matter. It contains, among others, a call to abandon unilateral economic sanctions against developing countries. When putting a question like this, we were reacting in the first place to the requests of those very countries that had problems countering the disease because of the coercive measures imposed on them.
Our revised text also underscored the importance of universal coverage by healthcare services, enhancing production of medicines, promoting their accessibility, support of international financial institutions for the affected states, dispatching urgent humanitarian assistance. The draft condemned manifestations of racism and xenophobia, accentuated the need to uphold human rights.
By blocking the adoption of such document, those who did so attested to their unwillingness to refrain from politicized approaches, phobias, and narrow-specific interests. They clearly demonstrated that their calls for solidarity and providing help to the countries with limited resources in order to combat COVID-19 were nothing more than a propaganda maneuver. One cannot be helping someone with one hand and smothering them with the other.
Unfortunately, those “compassionate” states failed to meet the relevant call of the Secretary-General, which they relentlessly claim to be supporting.
We stay in close contact with our like-minded colleagues and all those interested in a constructive dialogue in order to ensure a result-oriented contribution of UNGA to the global efforts in countering the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard we welcome the decision of the President of the UN General Assembly to appoint Permanent Representatives of Afghanistan and Croatia to the United Nations coordinators of UNGA-based negotiations of all initiatives related to the coronavirus.