His Excellency Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, Foreign Secretary of the Republic of Maldives,
At the Plenary of the Seventy Sixth Session of the UN General Assembly:
Revitalization of the work of the General Assembly
8th November 2021
Thank you, Mr. President.
Let me begin by expressing our gratitude to the Co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the Work of the General Assembly, H.E. Egriselda González López, and H.E. Michal Mlynar, Permanent Representatives of El Salvador and Slovakia, respectively, for their invaluable efforts and leadership during the 75th Session of the General Assembly.
I also wish to congratulate His Excellency Ambassador Mitch Fifield of Australia and Her Excellency Ambassador Egriselda Aracely González López of El Salvador for their appointment as co-chairs of the Ad Hoc Working Group this year. The Maldives remains fully committed to the revitalization process, and will continue to extend our complete support and cooperation to the Ad Hoc Working Group.
It was 30 years ago, in 1991, that the revitalization of the General Assembly was included as an item on our Assembly’s agenda and the Maldives welcomes the progress made in that time, including changes to the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General, and the strengthening of the Office of the President of the General Assembly. Notwithstanding these improvements, the pace of change in the world has been rapid and we must ensure that the UN, and in particular the General Assembly, keep up with that change. This includes strengthening of the Office of the PGA through stable funding and staffing continuity. The UN stands at the centre of our multilateral system and it must be strengthened to become more efficient, relevant and approachable. In today’s world, robust and responsive multilateralism is vital to effectively addressing the global challenges we face, whether, environmental, social or economic. We are too well aware that to effectively address these issues we need to both have robust multilateral institutions in place, and a unity of purpose and commitment.
The world is “at an inflection point in history” as noted by the UN Secretary General in Our Common Agenda. A point at which humanity has the technologies and wealth to shift the trajectory of history for the better. We can generate clean power, feed and house everyone, ensure everyone has a quality education, healthcare and a dignified life. Yet, peace, prosperity, and a decent standard of living remain elusive for billions of people. A situation exacerbated by mounting and multiplying transboundary challenges, such as pandemics, pollution, and climate change. Being the only body with universal representation, the General Assembly must be at the center of our efforts to tackle these challenges. This is why,
Mr. President, the Maldives strongly supports your efforts to revitalize the United Nations, as one of your Presidency’s Five Rays of Hope.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that in our globalized world, the international community is only as strong as its weakest link and this drives home the need to leave no one and no country behind. We must not allow the current “vaccine inequality” to persist, where billions of people have yet to receive a single dose of vaccine, while others have started to receive third booster shots. The General Assembly’s future relevance depends on leading the way in protecting those left furthest behind. In this respect, we welcome your convening of the High-Level Meeting, “Universal vaccination: From Hope to Action” scheduled for January 2022. This event will rightfully place the General Assembly at the centre of the discussions to deliver concrete results and to build the collective political will needed to ensure that we all move through the pandemic with solidarity.
The consultations to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary revealed that the general public expects us to “change and innovate to be more inclusive”. We must take steps to bring the voices of women and girls, youth and other vital stakeholders into our deliberations at the UN. The General Assembly needs to show leadership on this issue. In this regard, I thank you, Mr. President for your pledge not to sit on a panel that is not gender balanced and for your various efforts to both strengthen gender parity and increase the transparency and inclusivity of our work.
My delegation fully supports the suggested changes to our working methods and direction of work outlined in Resolution 75/325 of 10 September 2021 on revitalizing the work of the General Assembly. The work of the General Assembly and its committees need to be rationalized, streamlined and geared towards achieving the targets set forth in the UN75 Declaration and Agenda 2030.
In conclusion, Mr. President, my delegation is pleased with the renewed focus on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly, particularly following the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. If we can maintain this momentum, we can ensure an efficient and effective General Assembly that can shape a bright and a common future for us, and generations to come.
I thank you.