UN - United Nations

09/20/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/20/2022 11:07

General Assembly: General Debate

General Assembly: General Debate

Note: A complete summary of today's General Assembly general debate will be made available after its conclusion.

Opening Remarks

Statement by the United Nations Secretary-General to come.

CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly, underlined the need for solutions to surmount global, interconnected challenges through solidarity, sustainability and science. While leaders of the world gather today "at the most consequential moment of the last four decades", the world is in a permanent state of humanitarian emergency, with over 300 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid and protection, a 10 per cent rise since January. Driven by climate change, COVID-19 and conflict, global hunger has reached alarming levels. The effects of war, bloodshed and suffering in Europe and a revival of nuclear treats and record-height inequality and inflation have impacted the international community. "It all tears the planet apart," he said, adding: "We owe it to our children to leave behind a livable world" he stated and pointed to science to guide us.

Science offers neutral evidence to direct actions, he continued. The International Panel of Climate Change's research has proven to be an invaluable tool for supporting political decisions to combat climate change. The success of the Panel and climate diplomacy should be replicated in other areas, such as water, energy, food and biodiversity. In that vein, he announced a series of consultations with the scientific community to bring "knowledge from microscopes to microphones". More building blocks for transformation are at the world's disposal, he pointed out, citing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Sendai Framework, Water Action Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate change, Addis Ababa Agenda and Our Common Agenda all describe the world people want and offer the avenues to get there.

However, during these times of interconnected challenges and crisis, the international community cannot compromise on protecting human rights and upholding the rule of law, he said, also calling for full participation of women in decision-making and leadership. Noting that the United Nations General Assembly Platform of Women Leaders is also taking place this week, he underscored that data shows crisis response is more effective when women take the lead. He encouraged for Member States to engage substantively with this issue, stressing: "It has to do with equity and equality - but above all, human dignity." He also advocated for Security Council reform to reflect twenty-first century realities. This is a matter of credibility for the entire Organization and multilateral order. Calling upon all Member States to take on their responsibilities and cooperate with one another, he emphasized: "Things get better, when we make them better. Things go wrong, when we fail to seize the opportunities before us. Our opportunity is here and now. Let us act."


JAIR MESSIAS BOLSONARO, President of Brazil, noted that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, his Government made all the efforts to save lives and preserve jobs. To this end, it launched a broad vaccination programme, including domestic production of vaccines. "In my administration, we uprooted the systemic corruption that existed in the country," he asserted, pointing to the implementation of a comprehensive agenda of privatizations and concessions, with an emphasis on infrastructure. Citing efforts to modernize the Brazilian economy, he reported that his country concluded the São Francisco River transposition project, bringing water to the Brazilian north-east and further adopted new regulatory frameworks, addressing basic sanitation, railroads and natural gas. "Despite international pressures, Brazil is getting to the end of 2022 with an economy in full recovery," he said, noting that poverty in his country began to fall sharply. In 2021, Brazil was the fourth largest destination for foreign direct investment in the world.

Four decades ago, Brazil used to import food; today, it is one of the world's largest exporters. This was only possible thanks to heavy investments in science and innovation, he underscored, honouring Alysson Paolinelli, Brazilian candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, for his role in expanding Brazil's agricultural frontier with the use of new technologies. With regards to sustainable development, he reported that two thirds of the Brazilian territory remain covered by native vegetation that is found exactly as it was when Brazil was discovered in 1500.

In the Brazilian Amazon, more than 80 per cent of the forest remains untouched, contrary to what is reported by the mainstream national and international media, he stressed, adding that the Amazon region is home to more than 20 million inhabitants, including indigenous and riverside dwellers, whose livelihood depends on some economic use of the forest. The Government brought internet connection to more than 11,000 rural schools and to more than 500 indigenous communities.

Last year, Brazil was announced by the United Nations as the "global champion for energy transition", he continued, spotlighting his country's potential to become a major global exporter of clean energy. Warning against threats to international peace and security, he pointed to Brazil's extensive history of participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations. To Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis, Brazil responded with the "Operation Welcome" and provided territory, emergency assistance and protection to more than 350,000 Venezuelans. The Brazilian humanitarian reception policy goes beyond Venezuela as Brazil has also received Haitians, Syrians, Afghans and Ukrainians.

Turning to the conflict in Ukraine, he called for immediate ceasefire, the protection of civilians and non-combatants, the preservation of critical infrastructure, and the maintenance of all channels of dialogue between the parties in conflict. "We are against diplomatic and economic isolation," he said, cautioning against unilateral and selective sanctions that are inconsistent with international law. These measures have harmed the economic recovery and threatened human rights of vulnerable populations, including in European countries, he asserted.