President Klaus Iohannis said Tuesday at the UN General Assembly that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, global challenges require common solutions, solidarity and cooperation, emphasizing that Romania "strongly believes that democratic values and a rules-based international order, with the UN at its core, are fundamental to build a safer and better future."This is our second general debate during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has fundamentally changed our way of life.While the pandemic affected almost all aspects of our lives, it also provided us with opportunities to learn, adapt and do things better. Global challenges require common solutions, solidarity and cooperation. Romania strongly believes that democratic values and a rules-based international order, with the UN at its core, are fundamental to build a safer and better future. An effective and equitable multilateralism, directly benefiting our citizens, is essential," said President Iohannis at the National Intervention of the UN General Assembly.
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that ways must be found to rebuild "better and greener".
"The pandemic also showed us that we need to find ways to build back better and greener. We must recommit to achieving sustainable economies, as well as resilient, fair and inclusive societies where 'no one is left behind'. Indeed, the special needs of the vulnerable ones should be granted particular attention. In order to be effective in achieving this goal, solidarity in action is needed," said the head of state.
President Iohannis specified an integrated and innovative approach is needed to simultaneously address a wide range of inter-related challenges, such as health, demographic change, migration, limited resources, climate change and biodiversity loss, extreme poverty and hunger.
"We are indeed at an 'inflection point' and Romania welcomes the newly issued report on Our Common Agenda, supports its main conclusions and encourages the Secretary General to continue efforts towards their implementation. Romania remains committed to contribute to the collective efforts meant to limit and recover the delays in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals," the president went on to say.
The head of state also stated that sustainability must be at the heart of post-COVID recovery.
"The post-COVID recovery needs to place sustainability at its core and we must work together to protect our planet and ecosystems. The effects of climate change have no national borders and the responsibility to effectively address them rests on all of us," stated Iohannis, adding that working with other States and international organizations to respond to climate change is a priority of his current mandate.
He also stressed the need to ensure meaningful and secure access to the Internet, but also to strengthen cyber-security and promote responsible behavior in cyberspace, while addressing the digital spread of hatred and disinformation.
In this context, President Iohannis reminded that Romania hosts the European Center for CyberSecurity, pointing out that it will improve cyber-resilience and cyber-security research across the European Union.
As regards the pandemic, the head of state also said that an urgent priority is to ensure equitable and accessible global access to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.
"Romania reaffirms its support for the COVAX Facility and we have contributed to the 'Team Europe' approach to help various countries to tackle the impact of the pandemic. Romania fully supports the adoption of an international legal instrument for pandemic preparedness and response," Iohannis said.
He added that Romania, as the country holding the Presidency of the Community of Democracies, will continue to work towards upholding all democratic principles.
"We thus encourage all States to ensure the proper functioning of democratic institutions, uphold respect for the rule of law and guarantee the fundamental rights and freedoms," he said.
According to the head of state, armed conflicts, ethnic divide and inequalities are still harsh realities, showing that "It is the right time to turn the COVID-19 crisis and its security impact into an opportunity to revitalize the peace and security agenda, with renewed emphasis on conflict prevention and the consolidation of peace processes."
"The protracted conflicts in Romania's vicinity continue to threaten Europe's security. Romania supports the lasting peaceful resolution of these conflicts, through political negotiations, in the framework of their dedicated formats," Iohannis stated.AGERPRES