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COVID-19 remains a major challenge that “will not be over until we achieve universal vaccination,” he said, announcing a plan to call a high-level meeting in January to take stock of global vaccination efforts.
Noting that “humanity has seen an enormous amount of ingenuity and solidarity with the vaccines in record time,” the Assembly Speaker said he was confident “we have the capacity to immunize the entire world.”
“What we need to do now is act collectively to ensure that everyone who needs it gets the vaccine‘ he argued. “We cannot just accept that less than three percent of people in Africa have received an injection,” while other regions are already administering boosters.
‘For people, for planet’
To address the other global threat of climate change, the Assembly Speaker will convene in hybrid form an event on October 26, entitled “Delivering Climate Action – for People, for Planet and for Prosperity”.
“This event will focus on the gap between current and required technical and financial capabilities to achieve the 1.5 degree target…[and] to show how that gap can be closed”.
Mr Shahid said it would be an opportunity for Member States, civil society and others to come together to “take stock of ambition-enhancing initiatives towards COP26”, which takes place in Glasgow, Scotland in early November.
The Assembly Speaker announced that he would continue to hold informal consultations with permanent representatives, as “Holhuashi Dialogues”, explaining that a Holhuashi in his native Maldives is a meeting place to discuss ideas and issues important to the community. .
He said five such sessions would take place, “to bring the spirit of Holhuashi to the Assembly” and “create a space for dialogue, exchange of views and discussion of solutions”.
The first will focus on people and climate change: “This ties in with a series of events we are planning in October on the theme of climate change, leading up to COP26,” Mr Shahid told correspondents.
Turning the tide for gender balance
As the effects of the pandemic continue, Mr Shahid noted that it is becoming increasingly clear that: to better rebuild, “a stronger gender lens on response and recovery is vital”.
As such, he announced that he would reconstitute the Advisory Board to the President of the General Assembly on Gender Equality.
“If we don’t take the necessary steps to turn this tide, recent studies will take us more than 135.6 years to close the gender gap,” the UN official said. “We have to be faster than that.”
Mr Shahid explained that the Governing Council will bring together a “comprehensive mix of expertise” from member states, the UN system, the private sector and others to ensure a “truly inclusive perspective for a multifaceted approach” to the promoting gender equality throughout the work of the 76th session.
“This board will serve as a mechanism to mainstream a gender perspective through all my initiatives and mandates for this session,” he said.
Mr Shahid said he would go straight to the United Arab Emirates to visit the Dubai EXPO 2020, followed by an official visit to the Maldives, and then continue to Serbia for the conference to mark the 60th anniversary of the first conference of the non-aligned movement.
Earlier, President Shahid spoke in an exclusive interview with UN News.
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