Sunday, November 28

We are all connected, Ardern tells the UN General Assembly


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has urged world leaders to address growing inequality and make international trade “more open and inclusive” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Photo: Supplied / MFAT

She addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York today via a video link.

Ardern previously announced that he would not travel to the General Assembly meeting due to the Covid-19 situation.

“As I deliver this speech to the General Assembly from here in New Zealand, it amazes me that even when global events threaten to disconnect and divide us, a shared instinct to connect with one another still prevails,” he said.

“I have often described New Zealand as remote, but connected. The Covid-19 pandemic has made both parts of this statement truer than ever. Somehow, we now feel that remoteness more intensely.

“The vast ocean that surrounds our islands has become even more important at a time when our border controls are our first line of defense against a highly contagious global virus.”

He cited New Zealand’s approach to fighting the pandemic with a high level of vaccination and a focus on the “team of 5 million.”

“It has been a privilege for me as a leader to witness the practical application of New Zealanders’ values ​​to these challenges.

“Values ​​like manaakitanga and whanaungatanga, which in the Maori language means goodness, and a shared sense of humanity and connection. Values ​​like kotahitanga, or a shared aspiration and unity towards a common goal.

“These values ​​have caused New Zealanders to take care of each other and work together to limit the transmission of Covid-19 in our communities.”

Ardern said New Zealand is working with nations like Australia and the global COVAX initiative to support vaccination in the Pacific islands.

“Without equitable access for all, we run the risk of more variants developing that could undermine or undo our progress,” he said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivers a pre-recorded speech at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters on September 24, 2021 in New York.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivers a pre-recorded speech at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters on September 24, 2021 in New York.
Photo: AFP

Ardern said that more than 120 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic, and inequality within and between countries has deepened.

“As we turn our minds to the challenges we face globally, we must focus on what is most important of all – the tangata, the tangata, the tangata – is the people, the people, the people.

“These consequences were never inevitable and there are steps we can take to reverse these trends and improve the lives of those affected,” he said.

He said leaders must commit to ensuring the flow of essential goods and services and reject any temptation to turn inward and focus on protectionism.

“We know that poverty and inequality drive conflict and instability, and we are also seeing it, in increasing civil unrest and conflict. Humanitarian crises have worsened. We are seeing this in Afghanistan and there are many more.”

Ardern also said that the UN’s work on climate change remains of the utmost importance, and New Zealand will continue to work to improve its response.

“Climate change touches all of our lives, but the Pacific countries are some of the hardest hit, despite having contributed the least to the problem.

“New Zealand has made the 1.5 degree limit at the heart of our national climate change legislation. We have committed to a 2050 target and are reviewing our nationally determined contribution.”

Watch Jacinda Ardern’s full speech here:


www.rnz.co.nz

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