General Assembly General Assembly

Joint PBC-ECOSOC Meeting

‘Promoting Durable Peace & Sustainable Development in the context of recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic’

(15 December 2021; 1000 hrs)

 

Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

-----

 

Mr. President,

 

At the outset, allow me to thank the President of ECOSOC and the Chair of Peace Building Commission for organizing this meeting and commend them on the tremendous work they are doing. I have four main points to make.

 

2. After nearly two years, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. And the pandemic has made us rethink some of our priorities. If we need to have any sustainable recovery from the pandemic, it should start with vaccines. Much of the developing world is yet to be vaccinated.

 

3. The first focus should therefore be on vaccine equity. We need to scale up our efforts and make COVID-19 vaccine available, accessible and affordable.

 

4. The Covid crisis has equally demonstrated the necessity of improving public health infrastructure and building capacity in vaccine delivery, especially in regions where health infrastructure is weak.

 

5. Following the emergence of the Omicron variant, India has immediately offered support to the affected countries in Africa, including by supplying Made-in-India vaccines, essential life-saving drugs and medical equipment.

 

6. Last week we supplied several tonnes of critical and life-saving medicines including half a million of COVID-19 vaccines COVAXIN to Afghanistan.

 

7. Right from the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, India has shared vaccines, medical supplies, expertise and resources with the global community. Keeping in mind the UN Peacekeepers operating under difficult circumstances, we donated 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover all of them.

 

8. To ramp up production capacity of vaccines both new and existing, it is essential that the global supply chains of raw materials be kept open.

 

9. Growth of terrorism, particularly in Africa, has increasingly exposed the gaps in mandate between peacekeeping and peace building. Terrorists are taking advantage of this gap and unleashing terror, which conflict-ridden States are unable to combat due to lack of capacity. This is increasingly becoming apparent in the Sahel and other parts of Africa. Unless we are able to strengthen the State’s capacity to fight terror, we cannot have durable and sustainable recovery from either conflict or Covid.

 

10. Even as we tackle the pandemic, we need to immediately resume financing and economic and fiscal interventions to revive economies, particularly those of small states and SIDS, which are facing devastation. We need to go beyond humanitarian initiatives and focus on development as well.

 

11. The world has changed irreversibly in many ways, foremost amongst which is adoption of digital initiatives. People-centric and citizen-friendly digital technologies need to be promoted, with special focus on women and the youth. This should be factored into any sustainable recovery.

 

12. And a word of caution. Let’s not overload the agenda of recovery and make recovery anemic and therefore unsustainable. We already adopted an omnibus Christmas tree resolution on COVID last year which we have promptly forgotten because it is unworkable and impractical. Let us, as Member States, learn to prioritize and then put all our efforts in achieving them. Let’s not strangle countries in need, with unworkable solutions.

 

I thank you, Mr. President.

------