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GA President Bozkir says world community “lags behind’ in tackling global challenges

By: Anjali Sharma

UNITED NATIONS-- Volkan Bozkir, the outgoing President of the UN General Assembly in his last news conference told media that the world is “far behind in being able to solve the greatest global challenges and achieve the SDGs.”

Mr. Bozkir in his final press conference was stressing the UN General Assembly agenda in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The new president of the 76th session of the General Assembly is Abdulla Shahid, who is from Maldives..

He said that pandemic hampered effective diplomacy as many of the Security Council and General Assembly sessions and the meetings were held virtually not requiring face-to-face interaction, or the idea that the UN could not handle a crisis of such magnitude - or that the world would inevitably continue becoming more equal, both within and amongst nations.

He said that “I think all these myths have broken and broken resolutely. The world is much uglier than we thought.’

Bozkir said that he remembered realizing, from the very beginning, that diplomacy could not be conducted virtually. “I think we have seen much success and although we still have a long way to go, the UN is certainly more alive than it has been in 17-months.”

General Assembly fulfilled its mandates for the session, conducted 103 formal plenary meetings and adopting over 320 resolutions, despite of the pandemic.

“It has been busy to say in the least,” he said.

He noted that the General Assembly also held 16 high-level meetings, two special sessions, and conducted elections, including the re-appointment of Secretary-General, António Guterres for a second and final term.

Mr. Bozkir also pointed to an “immense focus on the need for dealing with vulnerabilities of women and vulnerable poor countries.”

President Bozkir stressed that two Advisory Boards were established.

He believes this “nascent initiative will continue to focus on real challenges that sometimes get lost in the UN jargon.”

Mr. Bozkir,said that last year “only highlighted that the preventive tools and mechanisms available with the UN are in desperate need for review.”

“The UN cannot be a follower of crisis. It must be a preventive body, it must deliver earlier action to prevent, or prepare for, crises in the first place,” he added.

In 2020 the Assembly hosted meetings about current issues, like the crisis in Gaza, human rights in Myanmar or the humanitarian situation in Syria.

He said he hoped the body “continues on this path and doesn’t shy away from the urgent issues affecting our world.”

Bozkir remembered the 75th anniversary of the UN last year. For him, the occasion made clear “that Member States have enormous faith and commitment to the United Nations.”

He told reporters that he left some recommendations to his colleagues and his successor.

Bozkir believes there’s a need to streamline and deepen the work of the General Assembly. For him, “success is not measured by the number of meetings we have, but by their quality, their format, their impact.”

He concluded that “We could have 25, 30, 40 so-called ‘high-level meetings’ a year, but would that be helpful if they are poorly attended or out of tune with what the world needs? No. We need fewer, more intense meetings that are directly related to the issue at hand and that are attended by world leaders.”



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