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Statement by H.E. Michel Xavier Biang,

Permanent Representative of Gabon to the United Nations

Chair of the African Group for the month of September 2021


Briefing by the Secretary-General at the UN General Assembly on his recommendations to advance the common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges

September 10th, 2021

Mr President,

We thank you for convening this meeting.

We thank the UN Secretary-General for his comprehensive presentation today.

We agree with him that the world is at an inflection point and that going forward it cannot be business as usual.

As the African Group we will study the various seminal recommendations proposed in the report.

The United Nations was created seven decades ago to better humankind and to improve the lives of people in the whole world.

The UN Charter is a signature document for a better world.It contains a timeless commitment to multilateralism. But multilateralism hascome under strain in various epochs since the UN was created. We therefore welcome the UNSG’s proposals for the revitalization of the multilateral system.

Mr President,

Even as we study the report some things cannot be disputed. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a fundamental disjuncture to the way we have been doing things. It is possible that, in many ways, the world will never be the same again.

We need to embrace change.

Immediate steps need to be taken for a global vaccination plan against the COVID-19. Despite the Secretary-General and the WHO’s call for global solidarity, most developed countries are starting to administer the third dose of the vaccine while most African countries had not yet managed to vaccinate 10% of their populations. We need to move from words to action, from pledges to a clear plan that addresses this new divide.

There is no question that vaccine nationalism is a threat to humanity. Because the pandemic will not end until it is eradicated in every country.

The founders of the United Nations would be astounded at vaccine nationalism.

COVID-19 requires a new perspective for building back better and rebuilding our socio-economic frameworks. We saw how those countries with social security were able to shield the populations. But we also saw the situation in countries that do not have or cannot afford it. A global reflection on this element is critical and urgent.

Inequality leads to mistrust between countries, and it triggers people’s mistrust in their governance institutions. Mistrust leads to unrest and unrest might lead to conflict. There is a real risk that increased inequalities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to increased instability across the world.

And against this background, the least developed countries, particularly African countries, are being left behind. We have reached a stage where Africa’s development must become a global and common goal. Because if Africa is left behind the world will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.