UN Assembly Approves Pandemic Resolution

UN Assembly Approves Pandemic Resolution
UN Assembly Approves Pandemic Resolution

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a wide-ranging resolution on tackling the coronavirus pandemic on Friday over objections from the United States and Israel, which protested a successful last-minute Cuban amendment that strongly urged countries to oppose any unilateral economic, financial or trade sanctions.
The 193-member world body adopted the resolution by a vote of 169-2, with Ukraine and Hungary abstaining. It was a strong show of unity by the UN’s most representative body, though many countries had hoped for adoption by consensus, AP reported.
The resolution, which is not legally binding, is the third and most extensive adopted by the General Assembly. A resolution adopted on April 2 recognized “the unprecedented effects” of the pandemic and called for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat” the new coronavirus. 
A Mexico-sponsored resolution approved on April 20 urged global action to rapidly scale up development, manufacturing and access to medicine, vaccines and medical equipment to confront the pandemic.
In Friday’s resolution, the UN General Assembly says the pandemic poses “one of the greatest global challenges in the history of the United Nations”, and calls for “intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences”.
The resolution urges UN member states “to enable all countries to have unhindered timely access to quality, safe, efficacious and affordable diagnosis, therapeutics, medicines and vaccines … as well as equipment for the Covid-19 response”.
And it recognizes “the role of extensive immunization against Covid-19 as a global public good for health in preventing, containing and stopping transmission in order to bring the pandemic to an end, once safe, quality, efficacious, effective, accessible and affordable vaccines are available”.
Afghan Ambassador Adela Raz, who coordinated the drafting of the resolution with Croatian envoy Ivan Simonovic, told the assembly the resolution is not only a response to the disease “but a tribute to the victims”, noting that more than 900,000 people worldwide have died and over 25 million have been infected.
“The world is experiencing the worst economic recession since World War II, and equality and poverty are increasing, and more people are experiencing hunger,” she said. “We are indeed facing the most significant global catastrophe since the founding of this important organization, the United Nations.”
Raz said the adoption of the resolution shows the world’s nations are ready to respond, despite failing to reach consensus, and are committed to UN goals for 2030, including ending extreme poverty, preserving the environment and achieving gender equality “for building back better after the pandemic”.
Simonovic said the great majority of nations “have chosen the path of solidarity and multilateralism” and called the resolution “a powerful tool for mobilization of political will and financial resources”.
He said political and financial support are badly needed “to curb Covid-19, strengthen our stressed health systems and to save jobs and livelihoods”.
The resolution calls on all countries “and other relevant stakeholders to advance, with determination, bold and concerted actions to address the immediate social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, while striving to get back on track” to achieve the 2030 goals.
It calls on governments and international financial institutions “to provide more liquidity in the financial system, especially in all developing countries”.
The resolution supports recovery plans that “drive transformative change towards more inclusive and just societies, including by empowering and engaging all women and girls”.

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