General Assembly Security Council

UNSC Briefing on ‘Maintenance of international peace and security: 

Follow-up on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020)’

[Monday, 25 January 2021; 1000 hrs] 

 

Statement by 

Ambassador K. Nagaraj Naidu

Deputy Permanent Representative 

 

Mr. President, 

 

I thank all the briefers for their useful insights into the various dimensions of the challenges we face today due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We take this opportunity to continue our dialogue as a follow up to Resolution 2532.

 

2. We express our deepest condolences to all member states and to the UN community who have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19.

 

3. We commend the work of our peacekeepers, frontline and healthcare workers, as well as humanitarian partners, for assisting in the COVID-19 response plans. 

 

4. While the pandemic continues to rage across the world, 2021 has started on a positive note with many countries having initiated the vaccination process. However, no one is safe, till everyone is safe. Our endeavor should be to work towards making the vaccine accessible on a universal, equitable and affordable basis.

 

5. As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, we are fulfilling our commitment to make our vaccine production and delivery capacity available for the benefit of the entire humanity. Two vaccines have already been granted approval for emergency use in India. We plan to vaccinate about 300 million citizens in the first six months.

 

6. We have already airlifted more than 6 million doses to nine countries in Phase-I as grant assistance. Contractual supplies to various countries are also being undertaken in a phased manner. We will also gradually supply to the COVAX facility of the WHO. India has also provided training to several partner countries to strengthen their clinical capabilities, as well as to enhance their capacities for vaccine administration.

 

Mr. President,

 

7. The pandemic has for one disrupted humanitarian aid flows and threatened hard-won development and peacebuilding gains. In fragile and conflict affected states with weak governing institutions and faltering health systems the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the vulnerable sections, particularly women, children, the elderly and those with disabilities. 

 

8. The pandemic has also highlighted vulnerabilities of States to deal with threats posed by the misuse of social media, disinformation campaigns, possible opportunities for bioterrorism, and cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure.

 

Mr. President,

 

9. The Secretary-General’s noble call for a global ceasefire and the 90-day humanitarian pause was well intentioned. However, many of the ceasefires announced in the wake of the call were not negotiated and as such have since expired or in some cases broken down. In conflict situations, we have seen no let-up in fighting, and in some cases, conflicts have only intensified. It is important that the call by the Secretary-General is heeded to. In this context, we reiterate our call for a comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan.

 

Mr. President,

 

10. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, India responded to the Secretary General’s call and upgraded the medical facilities of UN peacekeeping missions in Goma in DRC and Juba in South Sudan.

 

11. India has also assisted more than 150 countries through urgent health and medical supplies. We have pledged US$15 million for GAVI and operationalized the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for our neighbors with an initial contribution of US$10 million. In the spirit of South-South cooperation, through the US$150 million India-UN Development Partnership Fund, we have responded to member states’ requests for COVID-19 related assistance. 

 

Mr. President,

 

12. While countries like India have launched vaccination drives and assisting others during the pandemic, there are countries which continue to foment terror and indulge in hate speech and widespread disinformation campaigns. While we are working with the scientific community, medical fraternity, industry and academia to find solutions to COVID19, these globally recognized state sponsors of terrorism have used the pandemic to ramp up recruitment and infiltration activity to spread the venom of terror. The international community needs to hold these countries accountable for their actions.  

 

13. We are glad that Resolution 2532 had the foresight to recognize the threats posed by such state sponsors of terrorism and ensured that the Secretary General’s global ceasefire call did not apply to Council listed individuals and terrorist entities.

 

Mr. President,

 

14. It is heartening to note that despite the numerous challenges to our peacekeeping missions due to the pandemic, peacekeeping missions have adapted and updated their contingency plans to ensure the safety of their personnel and protect their capacity to continue critical operations, thereby continuing to deliver on their mandates. The Council also needs to recognize the sacrifices of our peacekeepers especially in tough mission settings where tours of duty were extended. 

 

15. We are also glad to note that despite the severe logistical restrictions and funding limitations, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) convened a series of virtual consultations with countries and regions affected by COVID-19. 

 

Mr. President,

 

16. As the world continues to deal with the pandemic, the Council’s initiatives on combating COVID-19 should transcend conflict lines and contribute to global social cohesion. 

 

17. The Council needs to have a human-centric approach to tackle the pandemic. Lack of funding for emergency relief and the complications created by the pandemic have pushed some of the world’s neediest populations closer to famine conditions. The donor community and civil society organizations should sustain necessary support and partnership during the crisis.

 

18. The Council, as a priority, must work towards supporting initiatives that guarantee a safe and sustained recovery of economies in conflict situations, ensure speedy and equitable distribution of vaccines and therapeutics among the most-disadvantaged populations in conflict-ridden countries. 

 

19. We also need to put in place an inclusive system that will provide for early vaccination of our peacekeepers, humanitarian workers and other UN frontline workers and guarantee safe and secure access for humanitarian operations.  

 

 I thank you, Mr. President.

 

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