By Harrison Arubu
United Nations, Sept. 12, 2020 The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on Friday adopted an “omnibus resolution’’ seeking a comprehensive and coordinated global response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This came six days to the end of the 74th Session of the Assembly under the leadership of Nigeria represented by its Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande.
The U.S. and Israel voted against the decision, which sailed through by 162-2 votes with two abstentions (Hungary and Ukraine).
Among other affirmations, the resolution notes that multilateralism, international cooperation, and solidarity are the only paths to an effective response to global crises such as COVID-19.
To this end, it calls for “intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate, and overcome the pandemic and its consequences.
It underscores the need for this to be done “through responses that are people-centred, gender-responsive, with full respect for human rights, multidimensional, coordinated, inclusive, innovative, swift and decisive at all levels’’.
The resolution urges exchange of information, scientific knowledge and best practices by countries in addition to strengthening of “platforms to inform mitigation and response actions and continuously monitor the impact of the pandemic’’.
Voicing a strong opposition to racism, xenophobia, hate speech, and stigmatisation associated with COVID-19, it urges countries to ensure that all human rights are respected and protected in the fight against the disease.
The resolution recognises the important leadership role of the World Health Organisation and the UN system towards a comprehensive global response to COVID-19.
It reaffirms the UN Secretary-General’s appeal for an immediate global cease-fire to pave the way for a united front against the pandemic.
In separate remarks following the adoption, delegates described the resolution as one of the most important products of the outgoing session.
They attributed its success largely to the leadership, wisdom, diplomatic skills, and tenacity of Muhammad-Bande and co-coordinators of the Assembly on COVID-19.
Russia said Muhammad-Bande had brought greater glory to Nigeria with his sterling leadership of the 193-member body, adding that his work would “long remain in the memories of the delegations.
Wrapping up the remarks, the Assembly president expressed appreciation to representatives of member states for their patience and engagement in the process.
Muhammad-Bande gave the credit to the co-coordinators Amb. Adela Raz and Ivan Simonovic, Permanent Representatives of Afghanistan and Croatia respectively.
He urged member states to go beyond adoption by honouring the commitments they have made in the resolution.