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UN General Assembly President harps on hope, solidarity

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UN General Assembly President, Abdulla Shahid has stressed the importance of solidarity and fostering hope, as he outlined his priorities at resumed 76th session of General Assembly.

Outlining the five priorities ‘Presidency of Hope’, Shahid also underscored the importance of his uplifting central theme, calling cynicism a “path to inaction”.

He said cynicism would lull the international community into complacency and a “false belief that our actions do not matter.”

“Cynicism is a path to inaction. If we give into it, we will be lulled into complacency, into the false belief that our actions do not matter and that we can only await the inevitable.

“Hope is what will strengthen our resolve. Hope is what will give us the courage of our convictions and inspire us to act.

“Hope is what will remind us of all that we have achieved and all that we can achieve if we work together. One world, one planet one humanity,” he said.

According to him, with hope, the world can overcome COVID-19 pandemic, achieve universal vaccination, protect the planet, recover sustainably, promote human rights, and revitalise the United Nations.

Shahid told member states that “we must cherish our common humanity and guard against the drivers of conflict” if the world is to overcome challenges that include the pandemic, as well as nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and international strife.

“I urge the global community to recommit to the principles of peace outlined in the United Nations Charter, to work together in the spirit of amity to address the challenges ahead,” Shahid said at the start of the first meeting of the New Year.

He urged the global community to recommit to vaccine equity as the only way to recover from the pandemic, calling for faster production and distribution of inoculations, and a removal of barriers to rollout.

The president, whose “new year’s resolution” campaign, calling for vaccine equity, has the support of some 120 member states, will hold a high-level event on Feb. 25 to galvanise momentum for universal COVID vaccination.

Shahid noted that the communities most adversely impacted by the pandemic often resided in the least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing states, which included the president’s home country of the Maldives.

He called for economic strategies that aligned with global environmental priorities and preservation of natural resources, pointing to a high-level event on sustainable recovery from COVID -19 through tourism, slated for May.

Shahid also spoke about his work on gender equality and the importance of upholding human rights.

He also lauded his Fellowship of HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities for Promoting Empowering of Youth Fellowship) and other items under the revitalisation of the UN agenda.

Cecilia Ologunagba

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