Duterte calls for UN reforms to address challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — As the United Nations faces the COVID-19 pandemic, — its “biggest test” since World War II — President Rodrigo Duterte called on the international body to implement reforms to better address the challenges presented by the worldwide medical crisis.
“The invisible enemy that is COVID-19 has brought about an unfamiliar global landscape and unleashed a crisis without precedent. It is the biggest test the world and the United Nations faced since World War II,” Duterte said in a pre-taped speech aired Wednesday at the UN General Assembly.
“While the United Nations has brought relief and hope to so many countries and peoples around the world, it now finds itself saddled by a virus that has taken many lives and wrecked economies and social order,” he added.
The President challenged the UN and its member states to reassess whether they had been true to the international organization’s principles and ideas.
While the United Nations remains to be “humanity’s essential organization,” Duterte said it could only be as effective to the extent that the member states could make it.
“To make significant changes, we need to be bold. We need the same collective courage that finally made the United Nations a reality 75 years ago,” Duterte said.
“We need to act on long-standing recommendations to improve the Security Council’s composition and working methods; to strengthen the role of the General Assembly; and to streamline the processes and the operations of the UN,” he added.
It could not be “business as usual” for the UN if it would want to resolve its current and future challenges, Duterte said.
“Let us strengthen it so it can fully deliver its mandate to maintain peace and security, uphold justice and human rights, and promote freedom and social progress for all,” he went on.
Duterte’s speech before the UN General Assembly’s high-level debate marks his first address to the international body since assuming office in 2016.
The President spoke before the UN along with world leaders of the United States, Russia, China, the Republic of Korea, among others.
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