Statement by the Group of French-speaking Ambassadors to the United Nations in support of a strong and effective multilateral response in the context of the coronavirus pandemic – COVID-19
May 20, 2020
The Group of French-speaking Ambassadors (“French-speaking group”),Footnote 1 deeply concerned by the health, social, safety, humanitarian and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as by its impact on the functioning of multilateral organizations, calls for a strengthened mobilization of the international community, in the spirit of friendship and solidarity, and a collective response through multilateralism.
In this regard, the French-speaking group:
- Welcomes the commitment and solidarity of the Secretary-General of La Francophonie in response to the COVID19 pandemic and encourages the OIF and all institutional players of the Charte de La FrancophonieFootnote 2 to take all the necessary measures to provide a structured response to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Reiterates the importance of collaboration within intergovernmental organizations to adequately respond to the current multifaceted crisis, and stresses “the central role of the United Nations system in the global response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) pandemic” (PD1 A/74/L.52);
- Stresses the ever more crucial role, in the current context, played by multilateral humanitarian and health organizations, in particular the World Health Organization, and lends its full support to their actions at the service of the populations of member countries of the group, in particular women and children;
- Recalls that effective multilateralism depends on respect for the fundamental values that relate to it, and expresses in this regard its concern that multilingualism, which guarantees the equal participation of states in international discussions, may not be fully ensured;
- Expresses its full support for the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for a ceasefire in hotbeds of conflict around the world, and commends the efforts of the Security Council, whose support is crucial, to bring about an end to hostilities and a humanitarian pause in the situations on its agenda, in particular in the French-speaking world;
- Stresses the need for the United Nations to step up its efforts to respond to the pandemic in countries dealing with armed conflict or affected by humanitarian crises, and to enable peacekeeping operations and special political missions to perform the tasks entrusted to them, particularly in the countries of the French-speaking world; in this regard, it notes with appreciation the measures taken by the United Nations Secretariat to ensure the safety and security of deployed personnel;
- Recalls “the need for full respect for human rights, and stresses that there is no place for any form of discrimination, racism and xenophobia in the response to the pandemic” (operative paragraph 2 of the General Assembly resolution A 74/L.52); supports the efforts of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner, Ms. Bachelet, to put human rights at the centre of the response to the current crisis, and in this respect supports the Secretary-General’s global appeal on May 8, 2020, to combat and counter hate speech related to COVID-19;
- Stresses that the response to the crisis and other global challenges, including climate change, requires the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement; urges states to incorporate environmental and climate objectives into recovery plans in order to make societies more resilient;
- Recognizes the central role of women, key actors in the pursuit of international peace and security objectives as well as in the implementation of sustainable development objectives, and welcomes the call of the Secretary-General and the Executive Director of UN Women to place women and girls at the centre of efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in order to preserve the gains made in equality between men and women;
- Also recognizes the key role of youth in the maintenance of peace and safety and calls for enhanced international cooperation with a view to ensuring access to education and health for all;
- Also welcomes the mobilization of La Francophonie, which has 300 million students, 80 million of whom are usually educated in French,Footnote 3 in favour of the continuity of education and the sharing of the most innovative digital solutions, while taking into account the need to facilitate a return to school as soon as possible, with particular attention to the situation of young girls;
- Notes the urgency to curb the negative impact of the pandemic on the world economy, including on employment in the French-speaking world, where young people under 35 represent nearly 60% of the population,Footnote 4 and welcomes the emergency financing initiative of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund;
- Welcomes the establishment of an economic monitoring system set up by the OIF, an information tool, assistance in decision-making and international cooperation;
- Welcomes the initiatives launched in favour of debt relief for Africa, and the commitment of the Secretary-General of La Francophonie on this issue, which requires increased constructive dialogue among all the stakeholders concerned, and calls for the consideration of appropriate measures to benefit developing countries, including least developed states and small island developing states.
- Is concerned about the devastating effect that the pandemic will have on countries already affected by food insecurity and reiterates that it is essential to preserve food value chains, the safe and unhindered access to humanitarian aid for all people in need, and social protection measures for people at risk of hunger;
- Salutes international partnerships aimed at accelerating the development, production and equitable distribution of vaccines, diagnostics and therapies to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, and reiterates the need to ensure the universal and affordable distribution of future vaccines.
The French-speaking group expresses its gratitude to all UN staff, in particular humanitarian, health and hospital staff who are on the front line in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
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