AFP
1 minute read
5 Nov 2020
7:45 pm

UN calls special General Assembly session on Covid-19 pandemic

AFP

Leaders will be able to submit five-minute pre-recorded statements to be broadcast in the General Assembly Hall.

This combination created of nine video grabs taken on May 18, 2020 from the website of the World Health Organization shows (top to bottom, LtoR) WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering their speech via video link at the opening of the World Health Assembly virtual meeting from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. - The World Health Organization on May 18 kicked off its first ever virtual assembly, but fears abound that US-China tensions could derail the strong action needed to address the Covid-19 crisis. Picture: World Health Organization / AFP

The UN General Assembly moved Thursday to hold a special session focused on international coordination in response to the coronavirus pandemic from December 3-4 in New York.

Discussed since June, the meeting is intended to bring together heads of state and government according to a resolution adopted by 150 of the 193 General Assembly members.

No country voted against the measure, while the US, Israel and Armenia abstained.

Leaders will be able to submit five-minute pre-recorded statements to be broadcast in the General Assembly Hall.

The clips will be played after short introductions from representatives physically present in the room, according to the resolution – a format similar to that of the annual General Assembly meeting in September.

In-person appearances by world leaders are unlikely, given New York state’s required 14-day quarantine period for international visitors.

The United States has already indicated it is opposed to an expanded role for the World Health Organization in fighting the pandemic, a stance facing major Russia pushback.

Germany, meanwhile, criticized the resolution as too vague, while Britain called for representation from non-governmental organizations and other civil society groups.

The 193 UN member nations have adopted four resolutions on the pandemic so far this year — on global solidarity, global access to medications and vaccines, coordination of global action, and a united response to worldwide health threats.

The Security Council on the other hand, which has had to navigate Chinese-American tensions over the virus, has only adopted one resolution on the pandemic, calling for the cessation of global conflicts in the interest of fighting Covid-19.

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