Your Excellency, Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government, Your Excellency António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. President, I wish to extend warm congratulations to you and the people of the Republic of Turkey, on your election as President of the 75th session of the General Assembly. I assure you of Namibia’s support and cooperation during your tenure as President of the General Assembly. I express great appreciation to your predecessor, His Excellency, Professor Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, son of Africa, for his outstanding stewardship of the work of our organisation, particularly during a very difficult and trying period. I am also privilidged to express my admiration and appreciation for the performance of our Secretary General during this challenging period the world is facing. The 75th Anniversary’s theme - “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action” reminds us of our shared humanity and the reality of an interconnected world. As we face the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating effects, we should reaffirm our collective commitment to cooperate in a world governed by international law and a multilateral system in which no one should feel left out. The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the trajectories of our socioeconomic livelihoods, and our interactions with one another. While not perfect, multilateralism and rules-based order are essential tools in strengthening governance, protecting civil liberties and the fundamental rights of the people we serve in our respective countries. An effective, rules-based multilateral system is our insurance policy against existential threats such as wars, nuclear proliferation, pandemics and climate 1 change. It is therefore of utmost importance that we continue to defend multilateralism at all cost. Mr. President, The Covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world into an acute health and economic crisis, the severity of which has not been seen in a century. It has disproportionately affected some countries more than others, exposing and exacerbating vulnerabilities and inequalities within and among countries. The adverse socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, compounding existing challenges such as high debt burdens, reduced fiscal revenues, capital outflows, and lack of adequate and sufficient access to financial markets, does not bode well for the future of developing countries. This is due to the fact that the unfolding crisis could halt or reverse gains in poverty eradication, food security and inequality. It is why this health emergency should lead to an even deeper sense of urgency and impactful multilateral solidarity. The world needs it more than ever before. In this respect, we commend the UN Secretary-General, H.E Antonio Guterres, for the launch of the US$2 billion multi-partner Trust Fund for COVID-19 Response and Recovery. While we also acknowledge the debt relief initiatives announced by the IMF, the World Bank and the G20, I encourage all our partners to facilitate their emergency lending mechanisms and accelerate technical support to even so-called Higher Middle Income Countries such as Namibia. This is vital to ensure access to social protection and basic services, sustainable economic activity, and protection of jobs and incomes. Mr. President, Namibia commends the World Health Organisation for all its targeted efforts in fighting COVID-19, including the global development of a vaccine. This vaccine, once developed, should become a global public good, accessible to all, freely and equitably. Namibia stands ready to 2 partner in such development for the benefit of our citizens and the world at large. Environmental degradation is a persistent and growing problem and, quite literally, a deadly threat to the security of our peoples. The COVID-19 pandemic has diverted resources from Climate Change and related mitigation efforts. The people of Namibia continue to suffer major environmental disasters such as floods, drought and water scarcity. We therefore should ensure that we rededicate ourselves to commitments of the Paris Agreement. As a member of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, Namibia reaffirms its commitment towards tackling the great challenges that the world’s oceans face, ranging from global warming, ocean acidification, marine pollution, including plastic pollution, and unsustainable exploitation of its living marine resources. We commend the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway, Her Excellency Elna Solberg, for developing this outstanding initiative and look forward to working with Norway and the other members of the Panel, to address these challenges. Mr. President, When I addressed this august Assembly one year ago, as a member of the African Union Committee of 10 on the Reform of the United Nations Security Council, I expressed my desire to see the marking of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations as an opportunity to conclude the reform of the United Nations Security Council. Namibia reiterates that the African continent wishes to see a reformed Council, which is reflective of its Common African Position as outlined in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration. I take this opportunity to welcome and thank those who have expressed support for the Common African Position. As we prepare to mark the 20th anniversary of resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security – a resolution which was adopted under the Namibian Presidency of the Security Council in October 2000 – we must celebrate the achievements thus far, while also recognizing that many challenges 3 still remain. I look forward to the opening of the International Women’s Peace Centre in Namibia next month. The Peace Centre is intended to become an institute of excellence for mediation and conflict prevention to support and ensure that women are given adequate tools to contribute to humanity’s future. Mr. President, The 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals and their promise to leave no one behind by 2030, ring hollow for the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara, who still remain under occupation. They are left behind. As a nation that has experienced the outpouring of international solidarity during the dark days of our struggle for independence, we wish to express our continued support for the right to self-determination and freedom of the peoples of Palestine and of Western Sahara. We also hope that the search for the UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for Western Sahara will be concluded very soon. Furthermore, we express our support for a settlement that will bring a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Despite the political and diplomatic setbacks, in particular continued threats of annexation of Palestinian territory, we remain hopeful for a fair and comprehensive peace solution that will guarantee the rights of all Palestinian peoples and ensure their return to their homes, while safeguarding peace and security to the Israeli people as well. As the world combats the COVID-19 pandemic, some Member States face more obstacles in combating this virus than others, including those which have sanctions imposed on them. In support of the pursuit of economic development, unity and prosperity for the sister country of Zimbabwe, I once again call on the lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been pursuing reforms that will enable the people of Zimbabwe to get on a path of sustainable development and 4 peace. Therefore, the continued sanctions undermine these efforts to develop the people of Zimbabwe. Mr. President, Namibia reiterates her deep concern over the continuation of the extraterritorial economic, financial and commercial embargo imposed on the people of Cuba. We continue to express our support for the Government and people of Cuba and call for the unconditional lifting of the embargo, and for respect of the sovereignty of Cuba. In the spirit of creating a more just, peaceful and caring world in which we foster peaceful and harmonious coexistence amongst all nations, Namibia looks forward to the day when relations between the United States of America and Cuba will be restored fully. For the past 75 years, the United Nations has distinguished itself as a champion for equality and unity. At this critical time, when we are faced with a multitude of challenges that threaten our future, we look upon this great organisation to once again, provide the definitive answers to our problems. Therefore, let us embrace one another and pull together in the spirit of multilateralism, in the interest of defeating Covid-19, in the interest of achieving the SDGs and in the interest of safeguarding global peace and the human dignity of every man, woman and child in the world. I thank you
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro Srđan Darmanović PhD General debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly New York, September 26th 2020 Mr. President, Secretary General, Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen, It is my pleasure to address you today on behalf of Montenegro and to reaffirm our strong, unequivocal support and commitment to the mission of the World Organization, 75 years long. We welcome the election of Volkan Bozkir as President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and wish him success in performing this duty. We assure him of the full support of the Montenegrin delegation along the way. We also owe a debt of gratitude to his predecessor, Tijani Muhammad-Bande, for his leadership and for ensuring smooth functioning and fulfilment of the United Nations General Assembly mandate. Mr. Chairman, The topic of this year's debate faithfully depicts one of the key challenges international community is facing, upon which we must work together in order to devise an effective and a comprehensive response. 75 years have passed since the founding of the World Organization, which today is more needed and relevant than ever before. In the conditions of various threats to international peace and security, changed and fragmented geopolitical 2 realities, as well as unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID 19 pandemic, it is necessary to preserve and nurture unity and multilateralism, as the only possible modality of action and addressing global issues and challenges that overcome national borders. Indeed, today and in the future, we need the United Nations that stands behind what is written in the founding document and that inherits the highest civilizational values (on which the universality and timeless character of the Organization rests) - precisely those that brought us together in San Francisco in 1945. Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Covid-19 pandemic and its multiple, devastating consequences on the lives of people around the world, loudly warn and remind us of the importance of international cooperation and solidarity in the process of creating global solutions to the issues that affect us all - no matter how big or small we are. I firmly believe that we can draw something good out of every difficulty, and in this case particular, I am certain that is the need for stronger joint action, based on trust, common values and interests, which must have no alternative in the period to come. At a time when we are witnessing a negative trend of strengthening unilateralism and protectionism, and increasing deviation from multilateralism, Montenegro has no dilemma. Even more motivated, we remain committed to multilateralism based on universal values and principles, with a World Organization in its centre, capable of providing an adequate response to global crises, challenges and threats. It is in this context we welcome the principal role of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has effectively and responsibly coordinated a comprehensive response of the United Nations since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, in cooperation with all the interested stakeholders. 3 The response and recovery mechanisms created by the UN have made it possible to raise the necessary funds to provide assistance to the most vulnerable areas and countries, while his reviews of the pandemic impact on the economy, global conflicts, population, especially women and children, and regions and countries most affected by poverty and conflicts, continue to guide the activities of the UN system in order to effectively address the crisis and remedy its consequences. Increasingly frequent regional and local, but also international conflicts, with historical, political and economic causes and consequences, threaten to destabilize the international order and the world as we know it. The United Nations must act as a defender of peace and stability., keep pace with the new realities and go through the path of adaptation in order to be able to perform their role even more efficiently.. Along that line, Montenegro strongly supports the necessary reforms of the United Nations system, including a comprehensive reform of the Security Council and the revitalization of the General Assembly, with the aim of building a more efficient, transparent, democratic and accountable United Nations, in which all parts of the world would be represented evenly. Montenegro is recognized as a pillar of peace and stability, a country of interethnic and interfaith harmony, committed to building partnerships and friendly relations not only with its closest neighbours, but also with the wider community. Multilateralism is one of our key foreign policy priorities, which is confirmed by our continuous aspiration to be part of societies that inherit the values and principles of togetherness and solidarity. Therefore, in the world of increasing geostrategic competitions, growing intensity and complexity of crises, as well as the COVID 19 pandemic, we must emphasize the importance of promoting peace and security. We strongly support the Secretary General's call for a global ceasefire during the current pandemic, in order to give diplomacy a chance and create 4 conditions for delivering humanitarian aid and support to the most vulnerable population. Responding after the outbreak of a conflict or crisis is often not enough, or it is not timely enough. We have to invest more attention to prevention – prevention of conflict, radicalization and violent extremism. In order to achieve such a thing, it is necessary to work on building unbiased and more inclusive societies that would offer equal opportunities for all, and to protect marginalized and most vulnerable groups, primarily women and youth. Montenegro strongly supports the implementation of two agendas - on women, peace and security, as well as on youth, peace and security, which we demonstrate continuously, with a large number of activities undertaken and implemented at the national level. (We face serious challenges to international security and stability, caused by a number of factors, such as the expiration of some of the most important agreements on limiting and controlling conventional and weapons of mass destruction, the return of Cold War tensions - now further complicated by the lack of constructive dialogue between key actors. Montenegro fully supports the implementation of relevant international instruments in the field of disarmament and arms control, as well as the Secretary General's Agenda for Disarmament. We emphasize the importance of universalization of the most important documents in this area, in order to preserve international peace, security and stability, and to create preconditions and conditions for a world without weapons of mass destruction.) At a time of growing challenges to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, Montenegro will continue to promote and support the integration of human rights and gender perspectives into all aspects of the functioning of the United Nations, and strive to preserve the universality of the international human rights law, as well as the independency of the UN human rights system as a whole. Montenegro is committed to bringing the 5 agendas of Geneva and New York closer, and creating a better synergy between the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly and the Security Council. We remain strongly committed to improving national human rights policies and frameworks. We have demonstrated this through excellent cooperation with key United Nations mechanisms, special procedures and treaty bodies, as well as with the Human Rights Council. I believe that the results achieved, as well as our continued strong commitment to further improving the position of women and girls, protection of the rights of children, the elderly, people with disabilities and LGBTI people, protection of media freedoms, civil society action, anti-discrimination on any grounds, impunity, as well as for unhindered access to international legal and human rights protection mechanisms, strongly recommended us for membership in the Human Rights Council (2022-2024) in the 2021 elections. When we talk about sustainable development goals, five years after their adoption, we can see that progress has been made in some areas. However, there are many clear indications that we need to do much more than it has been the case so far, that is, to redouble our efforts and move from words to actions. The ongoing COVID 19 pandemic is a serious challenge and will undoubtedly affect the dynamics in achieving the set goals. The pandemic has slowed down our economies and taken us steps back. While the international community is assessing its consequences, it is also an opportunity to draw on good lessons and practices, in order to respond more effectively to possible challenges in the future. I wish to emphasize that Montenegro is one of the first countries to fully translate the goals and tasks of sustainable development into the National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030. Three years after the adoption of this document, we are recording positive trends on the way to achieving the set goals. However, at the same time, we are aware that these dynamics need to be stronger and that we still have a lot of work to do to 6 reduce the risk of poverty and achieve a balanced development of all our regions, which we will work on with dedication. As a member of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Montenegro actively participates in its work, strongly emphasizing the importance of cooperation, solidarity and multilateralism as the best solution to the current crisis, and better recovery in the times to come. I believe that we will continue at this pace, and that we will work dedicatedly to mobilize the widest possible range of partners in order to address the multiple consequences of the COVID 19 crisis on countries, communities and people. The current pandemic has also confirmed that full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement are key to preparing the world for future systemic shocks. In the coming period, we must use the Decade for Action in order to achieve the set goals by 2030. In addition, efforts to achieve universal health coverage and ensure access to a quality, affordable, inclusive and resilient health system must be intensified, with the World Health Organization at the forefront. In order to build more inclusive, greener and sustainable economies, we need to focus policy solutions on those models of economic recovery that have the greatest potential for transformation and sustainable development. Acknowledging the significant economic and social potential of digitalization, Montenegro supported the Global Declaration on the Digital Response to COVID-19, as well as the Secretary General's Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, which represents an important milestone on the road to exploiting the potential of digital technologies. Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, Montenegro, as an independent state, a multi-ethnic and multiconfessional democracy, remains on the course set in 2006, when we restored our independence - and that is a Euro-Atlantic future and the nurturing of good neighbourly relations and multilateralism. We are on our way to the 7 European community, affirming the capacities of the Montenegrin society and its institutions to successfully create all the necessary preconditions for such a thing. We firmly believe that our, but also the future of the entire Western Balkans region, is in Europe, and that only by consolidating such a position can we be responsible partners to the international community. We are resolutely and continuously adopting and implementing reforms in various spheres, all with the aim of improving the quality of life of our citizens. As a country of rule of law and intensive economic growth, which is an example of the peaceful coexistence of different nations and religions under one roof, in harmony and tolerance, strongly committed to respecting human rights and freedoms and preserving the uniqueness of all of its peoples, we believe that only with a responsible and mature policy of tolerance and solidarity, we can be a credible factor in regional and international relations. Montenegro will remain committed to this path and will continue to actively and wholeheartedly contribute to the achievement of the goals of the United Nations. Thank you for your attention.
Kamala Harris: (00:00)
What’s up Atlanta. What’s up Atlanta. I’m so happy to be back in ATL. Hey everybody. Can we hear it for Rick Hart? Where is he? Where did he go? What’s up Rick? He was so good. He’s so good. He’s the head of the Georgia… There you are. You just tore it up. Rick is the head of the Georgia Students for Biden, the co-chair. And I’ll tell you one of the things that I love about Joe Biden, and he says it often. He understands his long life of service and dedication to public service, but he is always uplifting those who are the emerging leaders, and Rick Hart is one of them. So can we give it up for Rick, because that’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about everybody taking on their role of leadership, knowing that we have so much at stake in this election. There is so much at stake. And so I came back to Atlanta.
Kamala Harris: (01:33)
I love Atlanta. Last time I was here, it was before the pandemic. I spoke on the stage here at Morehouse in March of last year. And come into [inaudible 00:01:47] especially if you are black and hold elected office in America, coming to Atlanta is like coming back to the womb. It really is. It is. Because Atlanta represents so much about who we are as America. Atlanta represents the hopes and the dreams and the fight to make real the promise of America. Atlanta is a place that has produced leaders who have been national leaders and international leaders. Who have always understood that hope will fuel the fight. Faith will be what grounds us in knowing what is possible. But then you got to just organize the folks, and bring people together, and recognize that nothing we have ever achieved as a nation by way of progress, came without a fight.
Kamala Harris: (02:58)
And so that’s what we have in front of us. We have for the next 11 days Georgia, a fight for the soul of our nation. This is a fight that we are engaged in, because we believe in the ideals of our country. We believe in our democracy. We know that America’s democracy will always be as strong as we the people are in our willingness to fight for those ideals. And so that’s where we are today. In a fight for the ideals, in a fight for the dignity, in a fight for justice and equal justice under law. And let’s look at what is at stake. So we’re dealing with a pandemic, and we’re dealing with partly because of that, four crises that are occurring at one time in our nation. We’re looking at because of the pandemic, a public health crisis. Where we have seen over 220,000 Americans lose their lives in just the last several months.
Kamala Harris: (04:22)
Many of whom tragically in their last days on earth, couldn’t even be with their family, with people they love, because of the nature of this pandemic. We’re looking at over eight and a half million folks who have contracted the virus, thankfully have lived, but are looking at untold long-term consequences. Doctors are talking about things like lung scarring. And in the midst of this public health pandemic, we have a Donald Trump who thanks to Bob Woodward, we know knew back on January 28th, he knew the deal about COVID. He had been informed that it can kill people, that it is five times as likely to kill as the flu. He knew it was airborne. He knew it could harm children. And he sat on that information and he did not tell the American people. Can you imagine what you might’ve done had you known what he knew on January 28th? How folks might’ve prepared? How folks might’ve said, “I got to buy some extra toilet paper,” at the very least.
Kamala Harris: (05:48)
But also how the fact is that even in Donald Trump’s America before the pandemic, folks were working two and three jobs to try and pay the bills and pay the rent. Joe Biden I believe in our America, nobody should have to work more than one job to pay their bills and pay their rent and put food on the table.
Kamala Harris: (06:18)
And he sat on this information. And then had the gall, had the nerve to say it was a hoax, to muzzle the public health experts. To suggest that he keeps a ledger, and you’re on one side of his ledger if you don’t wear a mask, you’re on another side of his ledger if you wear a mask. And now look where we are. Now look where we are. And he’s in the United States Supreme court where his boy Bill Barr, trying to sue to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. And let’s step back for a moment and think about this. This man from the time he was… Even before he was running for office when he questioned the legitimacy of the birthplace of the first black president of the United States, has been so weirdly obsessed with trying to get rid of whatever Barack Obama created. Think about that.
Kamala Harris: (07:24)
We don’t need presidents who have weird obsessions. What is that about? So he is in court right now trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which brought health coverage to over 20 million Americans. Covered people with pre-existing conditions. You know anybody who has diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer, lupus. And he wants to get rid of the thing that brought care and dignity to tens of millions of Americans. This is one of the reasons Donald Trump got to go. Got to go.
Kamala Harris: (08:15)
We are in the middle of all these crises, the economic crisis. Over 30 million people in just the last several months had to file for unemployment. We are looking at families that are getting up at the crack of dawn, to drive to sit in their car in a food line for hours. Praying that they can get to the end of the line before the food runs out. One in five mothers in America is describing her children under the age of 12 as being hungry. We’re in the midst of a hunger crisis in America. And you see again, on the one hand you have Joe Biden who says… Let me tell you how I measure the economy and how well it is doing. I measure the greatnesses of the economy based on how working people are doing. How are working people doing? When working people and working families are doing well, then the economy is doing well.
Kamala Harris: (09:21)
Which is why Joe Biden and I are saying, “One, taxes will not be raised on anyone making less than $400,000 a year.” We are saying that we know one of the greatest ways that we achieve access to economic health and intergenerational prosperity is home ownership. So we will have a $15,000 tax credit for first time home buyers, to help you with down payments and closing costs to buy a home. We understand working families need childcare, but nobody should have to pay more than 7% of their income in childcare. That is our commitment. Because we know the economy is doing well when working people are doing well.
Kamala Harris: (10:08)
On the other hand you have Donald Trump. Who measures how well the economy is doing based on the stock market. Who measures how well the economy is doing based on how rich people are doing. Who as one of his first orders of business, passed a tax bill benefiting the top 1% and the biggest corporations of America. I will tell you, Joe Biden and I will make it one of our highest priorities to get rid of that tax bill, and do what we know needs to be done to invest that money in working families.
Kamala Harris: (10:46)
Public health crisis and economic crisis is being compared to the great depression. A long overdue reckoning on racial injustice in America. So on one hand you have Joe Biden, who has the knowledge and the courage enough to use the term and speak those words, black lives matter. On the other hand you have Donald Trump, who refuses and will never say, “Black lives matter.” And then have the gall to stand on that debate stage at the last debate in front of 70 million Americans, and would not condemn white supremacists. And people have asked me, they say, “Well, Senator Harris… ” By the way senator is not on my birth certificate. It’s Kamala. And they say, “Well, do you think… Are you saying? Do you think he’s a racist?” Yes, yes.
Kamala Harris: (11:54)
Because you see, it’s not like it’s some random one off. We’ve seen that pattern going back to him questioning the legitimacy of Barack Obama, going back to Charlottesville. When people were peacefully protesting racial injustice in America, a woman was killed. And on the other side, you had a bunch of neo-Nazis wearing swastikas, carrying Tiki torches, slurring, throwing out anti-Semitic and racist slurs, and Donald Trump said, “Well, there are fine people on both sides.”
Kamala Harris: (12:42)
A president of the United States who referred to Mexicans as rapists and criminals. A president of the United States who made as one of his first policy initiatives, a ban on Muslims entering our country. And then stood on that stage and would not condemn known white supremacist, and then double down and said, “Well, they should stand back and stand by.” This is not reflective of who we believe we are as a nation. We need a president who acknowledges systemic racism, who acknowledges the history of America, and uses that bully pulpit and that microphone, in a way that speaks truth with an intention to address the inequities and bring our country together. And that is Joe Biden.
Kamala Harris: (13:48)
Four crises. Public health, economic, a grappling and a need to deal with racial injustice, and a climate crisis. So I come from California. I was born in Oakland, California. And we have some…. You know. Okay. The West Coast has been burning because of those wildfires. California, Oregon, Washington, the Gulf States have been battered by these storms. People in the Midwest, farmers have lost whole season of crops because of the floods.
Kamala Harris: (14:26)
So Joe Biden says, “We need to embrace science. We need to deal with it. This is something that is hurting people. It is something that we can address in a way we also create jobs by investing in infrastructure, investing in building renewable energy. That’s going to be about jobs. Joe Biden knows the seriousness of environmental justice issues. He knows that of all of the areas where people live in America with poor air quality, 70% of the people in those areas are people of color. Joe Biden knows what’s going on at Flint. Joe Biden says, “We need to address this and we need to pay attention to science.” On the other hand you have Donald Trump, who recently when he was asked about the wildfires in California… And the reporter said something like, “Well, so the scientists are basically saying these fires, what’s happening, the scientists are saying, ‘there’s a connection between this drastic changes in the climate and these wildfires.’ You know what the president of the United States said in response? “Science doesn’t know.” What!
Kamala Harris: (15:46)
Science doesn’t know the president of the United States. And what we see is a through line, right, on that issue and the first issue. An inability to embrace fact. An inability to embrace experts. An inability to embrace intelligence. An inability to be competent. An inability to do the job of Commander in Chief of the United States, whose first responsibility is to concern themselves with the health and safety of the American people. And that’s why we going to like Joe Biden. There is so much at stake.
Kamala Harris: (16:41)
Now, you all know… And Atlanta helped me when I ran for Senate, and I am now the only black woman in the United States Senate. Only the second in America’s history to be elected to the United States Senate. And I’m going to tell you because I’ve been there now for almost four years. The Senate is so important on all these issues. We need to take back the white house, there’s no question about that. We also need to take back the Senate. We need to take back the Senate. It’s the senators that will make decisions about advise and consent on who sits in the United States Supreme Court, right? One of the reasons I became a lawyer is because I was inspired by Thurgood Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston and Constance Baker Motley, right?
Kamala Harris: (17:33)
They are the ones who fought for Brown v. Board of Education. They are the ones who have fought for civil rights. Who sits in the United States Supreme Court has everything to do with our fight for equality. Well, it’s going to be the president who nominates somebody, but it’s the Senate who advise and consent will make the decision about whether it goes through. And right now we’re seeing that battle in full relief, with this illegitimate process they’ve engaged in to try and fill the seat of the great Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while people are voting in an election. The majority of American people say, “Let us decide who will be our president, and then let that person decide who fills that seat?” The United States Senate. The United States Senate is where there will be a decision on whether we put on the floor a bill that my brother Cory Booker from New Jersey and I wrote, called the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act. A bill that says like Joe Biden and I say, “We should ban chokeholds and carotid holds,” because George Floyd would be alive today if that were the case.
Kamala Harris: (18:49)
A bill that says, “Let’s have a national registry of police officers who break the law,” because that is the right thing to do. And we can’t have folks just get fired one place and then they’ll get hired somewhere else. It says, “We need to have a national standard for excessive use of force.” Because it’s not right that in some places when there is excessive use of force the question asked is, “Was it reasonable?” When we all know you couldn’t reason a way just about anything. And the more fair and just question to ask is, “Was it necessary?” We need to change the standard.
Kamala Harris: (19:30)
Those kinds of decisions, yes they get made from the White House, and we will make them. It also gets made in the Senate. And so that brings me to Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. And Georgia you got to send them to the United States Senate. Send them to the United States Senate. Let them represent Georgia on all these issues. It is critically important. And you know those Senate seats, those are six year terms. Think about your plans for your life and for your children’s life, over the course of the next six years. There’s a lot that can get done, either for good or for not. These Senate seats are so important.
Kamala Harris: (20:21)
So I’m here, Atlanta, Georgia, to ask you to do what I know you already know how to do so well. Which is to organize. Which is to talk to folks about what’s at stake. Which is to remind people on the issue of voting. That we’ve got so many reasons. One has to do with again, Atlanta, it has to do with John Lewis. It has to do with those men and women who shed blood on that Edmund Pettus Bridge and so many other places, for our right to vote. And so voting is about honoring those ancestors. Honoring what they fought for and what they sacrificed for our right to vote. Voting is because there is so much at stake. Everything that we discussed. Everything that affects our lives. And voting also is because we’re not going to let anyone mess with our right to vote.
Kamala Harris: (21:54)
Because here’s how I think about that. Step back and think about… And I’ve been spending a lot of time all over. I’ve been to Florida this week. I was in North Carolina this week. I’ll be in Ohio tomorrow. But think about it from this perspective. Ever since and even before they gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, a whole lot of really powerful people including in this state, because otherwise we would be talking about Governor Stacey. A whole lot of powerful people for quite some time, have been trying to suppress our vote. Have been trying to purge the voter rolls. Have been trying to confuse us about the process, to make it difficult. “Oh, you can fill out your ballot and then put it in one envelope. But then you need to put it in another envelope and make sure that’s signed.” Trying to confuse us, trying to make it difficult. Messing with the post office. Can you imagine? The post office. Like the postman, the postwoman. They’re messing with the post office.
Kamala Harris: (23:08)
And we have to at some point sit back and think, “Why are they trying to make it so difficult and confusing for us to vote?” And I think the answer is because they know our power. They know our power. They know when we vote, things change. They know when we vote, we win. And so I’m here to say Atlanta, let’s not let anybody take our power from us. We know the power of our voice. We know at election time the power of our voice is expressed through our vote. We’re not going to let anybody take us out this game. We are present. We are powerful. We are active. And we know what’s at stake and we honor our ancestors every day. And so my last point is this, this moment will pass. And years from now, our children, our grandchildren and others, they will look in our eyes each one of us, and they will ask us, “Where were you at that time?”
Kamala Harris: (24:47)
And the thing we’re going to be able to tell them, is so much more than just how we felt. What we will tell them is what we did. We will tell them, “There was this one particular afternoon we were hanging out at Morehouse in the parking lot… ” We will tell them we organized, that we talked to our neighbors and our friends and our relatives. We will tell them we helped people get to the polls. We will tell them a mandatory Saturday which is tomorrow, that we made sure everyone we know, got to their County office to vote. We will tell them we stood up and we fought for our country, and we fought for the ideas because we love our country and we know our power. Thank you Atlanta.
Virtual High-Level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN
9:00a.m.-9:00p.m. (EST), Monday, 21 September 2020
Theme: “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism – confronting COVID-19 through effective multilateral action”
The idea of a united nations is a common one since the dawn of civilization. It’s been called empire; the quest for it continues. When you hear it called mutually beneficial cooperation, it is the empire talking to itself in the presence of native collaborators. The excuse for empire is the same as the reason for the UN: world peace; but in the former case Tacitus called it the peace of the graveyard. The only ones above ground are undertakers; the rest are six feet under in dungeons and mass graves.
The world peace for which the UN has strived through 75 years has been mostly a failure; yet it is still the only peace we can live with in freedom, dignity and sufficiency.
When the UN Charter was signed, the 51 Founding Members, including the Philippines, were standing in the ruins of war. Manila was the second most destroyed capital after Warsaw. Its inhabitants had undergone an equal horror. They envisioned a future of recovery, progress, and enduring peace of the kind uniquely associated with UN in place of the most murderous and destructive war in history.
The Philippines was not yet independent. Its inclusion suggested that the UN was less about states than about people— and how states treat them. Thus, the Charter begins, "We, the peoples of the United Nations."
In 1946, when the UN official seal was being selected, General Carlos P. Romulo, asked, “Where is the Philippines?” “It’s too small to include,” explained the US Senator heading the committee. “If we put in the Philippines it would be no more than a dot.” Romulo insisted, “I want that dot!” It is more than a charming anecdote. Without that dot I doubt the Philippines would enjoy territorial waters or exist except as the anonymous annexation of a conquering state. I’m not saying a seal confers rights, but it keeps inalienable rights, like national existence, in plain sight on the UN seal. The P5 tend to forget that.
As the only world forum, the UN is the main and only globally credible platform of opportunities for preempting violence and ending it after it’s broken out; for educating ignorance; curing and containing disease; for ameliorating and in time abolishing poverty, ending injustice and extremism—all enemies of universal values.
With the successes, and yes failures; through withering well-deserved criticism — Biafra, Rwanda, Bosnia where the bombs fell so late the genocide was almost complete — the UN has shown its ability to bounce back by reaffirming its continuing relevance against the backdrop of deliberately complicated global issues and threats to world peace and security.
The UN is the core of the present multilateral global order and must stay that way. As long as the UN exists, none can trumpet the end of multilateralism. But it must be a UN strengthened in its every member; so that together they can achieve peace, democracy and prosperity in a world where every state is accountable for the consequences of its action or inaction; where any of “we, the peoples…” can put up a credible fight long enough to make our case for UN help.
Multilateralism cannot be owned by a select club of member states let alone one. It is by and for all — or no one. COVID-19 reminds us of humanity's common fate, the perishability of life, progress and social order, and of the imperative of coordinated international action even in concerns we’d always regarded as too small to bother the world with. The virus is tiny.
The UN is a collective of sovereignties. That is its strength. It is not itself a sovereign collective. That is its weakness but also the secret of its endurance. It remains the focal point of the unceasing human pursuit of good in the face of an equally relentless human pursuit of evil. Much as states dislike outside interference in their internal affairs, when their actions exceed the bounds of plain humanity interference is a duty of humanity. But a clear case has to be made in a world where lying has achieved a level of perfection far exceeding the capacity for truth.
We renew our commitment to end the scourge of war, uphold justice and human rights, keep the peace and stay secure, and in all things act with decency which requires no explanation. You know decency when you see it; it is indecent when you don’t. A case soon to be made in point will be the universal availability of Covid vaccines without requiring any people, class or country to submit to another’s will as the price of cure. Withholding the vaccine — the most effective means of mass salvation — is a weapon of mass destruction. The UN remains the essential Organization. Thank you.
Barack Obama: (00:24)
Man, it is good to be back in Pennsylvania. What beautiful weather we got here. Little Indian summer. I know the president spent some time in Erie last night, and apparently he complained about having to travel here. And then he cut the event short, poor guy. I don’t feel that way. I love coming to Pennsylvania. You guys delivered for me twice and I am back here tonight to ask you to deliver the White House for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I want to thank Mr. Philadelphia, Charlie Mack, his daughter, India Marie. What an outstanding young lady she was. Those of you who are fathers and have daughters you know how that feels when you see your daughters just shining. I know a little bit about that. And it was great to see representatives, Brendan Boyle, Mary Gay Scanlon, Governor Tom Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Mayor Jim Kenney. Philadelphia we got 13 days. That’s our lucky number right here. 13 days until the most important election of our lifetimes.
Barack Obama: (01:58)
And you don’t have to wait for November 3rd to cast your ballot. You’ve got two ways to vote right now. Number one, you can vote early in person through next Tuesday. Anybody here voted early already? If you haven’t, just go to iwillvote.com/pa and find out where you can vote early. Number two, you can vote from home with a mail-in ballot. Just go to iwillvote.com/pa to request your ballot right away. And before you send it back, Pennsylvania’s got this thing where you’ve got to use both envelopes. So you’ve got to read the directions carefully to make sure your vote counts. And if you’ve already voted, then you’ve got to help your friends and family make a plan to vote. Take them with you if you vote early, or if you vote in-person on election day, because this election requires every single one of us to do our part. And what we do these next 13 days will matter for decades to come.
Barack Obama: (03:24)
Now, last time I was in Philadelphia, I was at the constitution center and I was delivering a speech for the Democratic National Convention this year. And I said, during that speech, I’ve sat in the Oval Office with both of the men who are running for president. And they are very different people. I explained that I never thought Donald Trump would embrace my vision or continue my policies but I did hope for the sake of the country that he might show some interest in taking the job seriously, but it hasn’t happened. He hasn’t shown any interest in doing the work or helping anybody but himself and his friends or treating the presidency like a reality show that he can use to get attention. And by the way, even then his TV ratings are down. So you know that upsets him.
Barack Obama: (04:36)
But the thing is, this is not a reality show, this is reality. And the rest of us have had to live with the consequences of him proving himself incapable of taking the job seriously. At least 220,000 Americans have died. More than 100,000 small businesses have closed. Millions of jobs are gone. Our proud reputation around the world is in tatters. Presidents up for reelection usually ask if the country is better off than it was four years ago. I’ll tell you one thing, four years ago you’d be tailgating here at the Lincoln instead of watching a speech from your cars. The only people truly better off than they were four years ago are the billionaires who got his tax cuts. Right now as we speak, Trump won’t even extend relief to the millions of families who are having trouble paying the rent or putting food on the table because of this pandemic. But he’s been doing all right by himself. As it turns out, this was just reported in the last 48 hours.
Barack Obama: (06:01)
We know that he continues to do business with China because he’s got a secret Chinese bank account. How is that possible? How is that possible? A secret Chinese bank account. Listen, can you imagine if I had had a secret Chinese bank account when I was running for reelection. You think Fox News might have been a little concerned about that? They would’ve called me Beijing Berry. It is not a great idea to have a president who owes a bunch of money to people overseas. That’s not a good idea. I mean, of the taxes Donald Trump pays, he may be sending more to foreign governments than he pays in the United States. His first year in the White House he only paid $750 in federal income tax. Listen, my first job was at a Baskin Robbins when I was 15 years old. I think I’m might have paid more taxes that year working at a dispensing ice cream. How is that possible? How many people here pay less than that? It’s just possible now that if you are living high on the hog and you only pay $750 in taxes that maybe, just maybe he might not know what working people are going through here in Pennsylvania. We cannot afford four more years of this, Philadelphia. But the good news is right now you can choose change. Right now you can vote for my friend Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris as the next president and vice president of the United States of America. Now, Joe’s no stranger to here. He’s a native son. Scrappy kid from scratch. You know him and he knows you. But let me, let me tell you how I came to Norman and how I came to love him. 12 years ago, when I chose Joe Biden as my vice presidential running mate, I didn’t know Joe all that well. We had served in the Senate together, but we weren’t super close. He and I came from different places. We came from different generations.
Barack Obama: (08:58)
But I came to admire Joe as a man who has learned early on to treat everybody he meets with dignity and respect, living by the words his parents taught him, no one’s better than you Joe, but you’re better than nobody. And that empathy, that decency, that belief that everybody counts, that’s who Joe is. That’s who he’ll be. And I can tell you the presidency doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are. And Joe has shown himself to be a friend of working people. For eight years, Joe was the last one in the room when I faced a big decision. He made me a better president and he’s got the character and experience to make us a better country. And he and Kamala-
Barack Obama: (10:03)
A better country. And he and Kamala are going to be in the fight, not for themselves but for every single one of us. Well, I get that this president wants full credit for the economy he inherited and zero blame for the pandemic that he ignored. But you know what? The job doesn’t work that way. Tweeting at the television doesn’t fix things. Making stuff up doesn’t make people’s lives better. You’ve got to have a plan. You’ve got to put in the work. And along with the experience to get things done, Joe Biden has concrete plans and policies that will turn our vision of a better, fairer, stronger country into a reality.
Barack Obama: (10:53)
We literally left this White House a pandemic playbook that would have shown them how to respond before the virus reached our shores. They probably used it to I don’t know, prop up a wobbly table somewhere. We don’t know where that playbook went. Eight months into this pandemic, cases are rising again across this country. Donald Trump isn’t suddenly going to protect all of us. He can’t even take the basic steps to protect himself. Just last night, he complained up in eerie that the pandemic made him go back to work. I’m quoting him. He was upset that the pandemic’s made him go back to work. If he’d actually been working the whole time, it never would’ve gotten this bad.
Barack Obama: (11:53)
So, look, here’s the truth. I want to be honest here. This pandemic would have been challenging for any president but this idea that somehow this White House has done anything but completely screw this up. It’s just not true. I’ll give you a very specific example. Korea identified it’s first case at the same time that the United States did. At the same time, their per capita death toll is just 1.3% of what ours is. In Canada, it’s just 39% of what ours is. Other countries are still struggling with the pandemic but they’re not doing as bad as we are because they’ve got a government that’s actually been paying attention.
Barack Obama: (12:42)
And that means lives lost. And that means an economy that doesn’t work. And just yesterday, when asked if he’d do anything differently, Trump said, “Not much.” Really? Not much? Nothing you can think of that could have helped some people keep their loved ones alive? So, Joe’s not going to screw up testing. He’s not going to call scientists idiots. He’s not going to host a super spreader event at the White House. Joe will get this pandemic under control with a plan to make testing free and widely available, to get a vaccine to every American cost free and to make sure our frontline heroes never ask other countries for their equipment they need.
Barack Obama: (13:38)
His plan will guarantee paid sick leave for workers and parents affected by the pandemic and make sure that the small businesses that hold our communities together and employ millions of Americans can reopen safely. Donald Trump likes to claim he built this economy but America created 1.5 million more jobs in the last three years of the Obama-Biden administration than in the first three years of the Trump-Pence administration. How you figure that? And that was before he could blame the pandemic. Now, he did inherit the longest streak of job growth in American history but just like everything else he inherited, he messed it up. The economic damage he inflicted by botching the pandemic response means he will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to actually lose jobs. Joe’s got a plan to create 10 million good clean energy jobs as part of a historic $2 trillion investment to fight climate change, to secure environmental justice. And he’ll pay for it by rolling back that tax cut for billionaires. And Joe sees this moment not just as a chance to get back to where we were but to finally make long overdue changes so that our economy actually makes life a little easier for everybody, the waitress trying to raise her kid on her own, the student trying to figure out how to pay for next semester’s classes, the shift worker who’s always on the edge of getting laid off, the cancer survivor who’s worried about her preexisting conditions, protections being taken away.
Barack Obama: (15:39)
Let me tell you something Pennsylvania. This I know to be true, Joe and Kamala will protect your healthcare and expand Medicare and make insurance more affordable for everybody. Republicans love to say right before an election that they’ll protect your preexisting conditions. Now, Joe and I actually protected your policies to make sure people with preexisting conditions could get health insurance and have coverage. We did it through something called the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obamacare. And Republicans tried to repeal or undermine it more than 60 times.
Barack Obama: (16:35)
And when they’ve been asked about, they keep on promising, “We’re going to have a great replacement.” They said, “It’s coming.” It’s been coming in two weeks for the last 10 years. Where is it? Where is this great plan to replace Obamacare? They’ve had 10 years to do it. There is no plan. They’ve never had one. Instead they’ve attacked the Affordable Care Act at every turn, driving up costs, driving up the uninsured. Now, they’re trying to dismantle your care in the Supreme court as we speak as quickly as they can in the middle of a pandemic with nothing but empty promises to take its place. It’s shameful. The idea that you would take healthcare away from people at the very moment where people need it most, what is the logic of that? There is no logic. Joe knows that the first job of a president is to keep us safe from all threats, foreign, domestic or microscopic. When the daily intelligence briefings flash warning signs about a virus, a president can’t ignore them. He can’t be AWOL. Just like when Russia puts bounties on the heads of our soldiers in Afghanistan, the commander-in-chief can’t be missing in action. I can tell you this, Joe Biden would never call the men and women of our military suckers or losers. Who does that? He knows these heroes are somebody’s children, somebody’s spouse, somebody’s dad or mom. He understands that. And he’s going to restore our standing in the world because he knows that America’s true strength comes from setting an example that the world wants to follow. A nation that stands with democracy, not dictators, a nation that can mobilize and inspire others to overcome threats like climate change and terrorism and poverty and disease. And with Joe and Kamala at the helm, you’re not going to have to think about the crazy things they said every day. And that’s worth a lot. You’re not going to have to argue about them every day.
Barack Obama: (19:12)
It just won’t be so exhausting. You might be able to have a Thanksgiving dinner without having an argument. You’ll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president is not going to retweet conspiracy theories about secret cabals running the world or that maybe seals didn’t actually kill bin Laden. Think about that. The president of the United States retweeted that. Imagine. What? What? We’re not going to have a president that goes out of his way to insult anybody who doesn’t support him or threaten them with jail. That’s not normal presidential behavior.
Barack Obama: (20:02)
That’s not normal presidential behavior. We wouldn’t tolerate it from a high school principal. We wouldn’t tolerate it from a coach. We wouldn’t tolerate it from a co-worker. We wouldn’t tolerate it in our family, except for maybe crazy uncle somewhere. I mean, why would we expect and accept this from the President of the United States? And why are folks making excuses for that? “Oh, well, that’s just him.” No. There are consequences to these actions. They embolden other people to be cruel and divisive and racist, and it frays the fabric of our society, and it affects how our children see things. And it affects the ways that our families get along. It affects how the world looks at America. That behavior matters. Character matters. And by the way, while he’s doing all that, it distracts all of us from the truly destructive actions that his appointees are doing all across the government, actions that affect your lives. The Environmental Protection Agency that’s supposed to protect our air and our water is right now run by an energy lobbyist that gives polluters free reign to dump unlimited poison into our air and water. The Labor Department that’s supposed to protect workers and their rights, right now it’s run by a corporate lobbyist who’s declared war on workers, guts protections to keep essential folks safe during a pandemic, makes it easier for big corporations to shortchange them on their wages. The Interior Department, that’s supposed to protect our public lands and wild spaces, our wildlife and our wilderness. And right now that’s run by an oil lobbyist who’s determined to sell them to the highest bidder.
Barack Obama: (22:39)
You’ve got the Education Department that’s supposed to give every kid a chance, and that’s run by a billionaire who guts rules designed to protect students from getting ripped off by for profit colleges and stiffs arm students looking for loan relief in the middle of an economic collapse. I mean, the person who runs Medicaid right now is doing their best to kick people off of Medicaid instead of sign them up for Medicaid. Come on. When Joe and Kamala are in charge, they’re not going to surround themselves with hacks and lobbyists, but they’re going to appoint qualified public servants who actually care about looking out for you, for your job, for your family, for your health, for your security, for your planet, and that more than anything is what separates them from their opponents. They actually care about every American, including the ones that don’t agree with them.
Barack Obama: (23:45)
And they’re going to fight for you every day. They care about you and they care about this democracy. They believe in a democracy. The right to vote is sacred and that we shouldn’t be making people wait in line for 10 hours to cast their ballot. We should be making it easier for everybody to vote. They believe that no one, especially the President, is above the law. They understand that protest on behalf of social justice isn’t un-American. That’s the most American thing there is. That’s how this country was founded, protesting injustice. They understand we don’t threaten our political opponents threatening to throw them in jail, just because we disagree with them. They understand that our ability to work together to solve big problems like a pandemic depends more than on just photo-ops. It depends on actually learning the facts and following the science and not just making stuff up whenever it’s convenient.
Barack Obama: (25:16)
Our democracy is not going to work if the people who are supposed to be our leaders lie every day and just make things up. And we’ve just become numb to it. We’ve just become immune to it. Every single day, fact checkers can’t keep up. And, look, this notion of truthfulness and democracy and citizenship, and being responsible, these aren’t Republican or democratic principles, they’re American principles. They’re what most of us grew up learning from our parents and our grandparents. They’re not White or Black or Latino or Asian values, they’re American values, human values, and we need to reclaim them. We have to get those values back at the center of our public life. And we can. But to do it, we’ve got to turn out like never before. We cannot leave any doubt in this election, because you know the President’s already said, “If this is even close, I’m going to just make stuff up.” He’s already started to do it.
Barack Obama: (26:51)
So we can’t have any doubt. We can’t be complacent. I don’t care about the polls. There were a whole bunch of polls last time, didn’t work out, because a whole bunch of folks stayed at home and got lazy and complacent. Not this time, not in this election, not this time. Listen, listen. I understand why a lot of Americans can get frustrated by government and can feel like it doesn’t make a difference. Even supporters of mine, during my eight years, there were times where stuff we wanted to get done didn’t get done and people said, “Well, gosh, if Obama didn’t get it done, then maybe it’s just not going to happen.” Look, government is not going to solve every problem, it’s true. Every elected officials going to make some mistakes. This is a big complicated country and the system’s designed so that change happens slowly. It doesn’t happen overnight.
Barack Obama: (28:05)
And believe me, I’ve got firsthand experience with the way Republicans in Congress abused the rules to make it easy for special interest to stop progress. But we can make things better, and we shouldn’t be making things worse. A president by himself can’t solve every challenge in a global economy. But if we’ve got Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the White House at a House and Senate that are focused on working people, it can make a difference and get millions of people the help they need. A president by himself can’t eliminate all racial bias in our criminal justice system. But if we’ve got district attorneys and state’s attorneys and sheriffs and police chiefs focused on equality and justice, it can make things better. In Pennsylvania, you’ve just got to flip nine seats in your State House, just five seats in your State Senate, to give Democrats control and new life for policies that’ll make a real difference to working families right now. It can make things better.
Barack Obama: (29:25)
In the end, Pennsylvania, that’s what voting’s about, making things better, not making things perfect, but putting us on track so that a generation from now we can look back and say, “Things got better starting now.” And that’s what voting’s about. Voting’s about using the power we have and pooling it together to get a government that’s more concerned and more responsive and more focused on you and your lives and your children and your grandchildren and future generations. And the fact that we don’t get 100% of …
Barack Obama: (30:03)
… and future generations. And the fact that we don’t get 100% of what we want right away is not a good reason not to vote. It means we’ve got to vote and then get some change and then vote some more and then get some more change, and then keep on voting until we get it right.
Barack Obama: (30:23)
And we will never come close to seeing what it would be like if everybody voted, when I hear people say, “Well, I don’t know, you’re voting don’t make a difference.” We don’t know because usually no more than half the people who could be voting vote.
Barack Obama: (30:39)
We get 50, 55% of people voting. And then people say, “Well, look, not enough change happened.” Well, imagine what would happen if 60% voted? What about 70%? Imagine January 20th, when we swear in a president and a vice president who have a plan to get us out of this mess, who believe in science, and they have a plan to protect this planet for our kids, and who care about working Americans, and they have a plan to help you start getting ahead.
Barack Obama: (31:15)
And who believe in racial equality and gender equality, and believe in not discriminating against people because of their sexual orientation, and are willing to bring us closer to an America where no matter what we look like and where we come from, who we love and what our last name is, if we go out there and we work, we can make it.
Barack Obama: (31:38)
And we’re part of an American family. All of that is possible. All of that is within our reach, if we vote. Because let me tell you something Pennsylvanians, people ask me sometimes, they say, “Man, how have you been able to take these last four years, just watching all this? How do you keep your spirits up?”
Barack Obama: (32:02)
And I tell him, I say, look for all the times, these last four years that we’ve seen our worst impulses revealed, we’ve also seen what our country can be at its best. We’ve seen folks of every age and background who’ve packed city centers and airports in town squares, just so families wouldn’t be separated.
Barack Obama: (32:26)
So another classroom wouldn’t get shot up, so our kids wouldn’t grow up on an uninhabitable planet. We’ve seen Americans more racist, joining together to declare in the face of injustice that black lives matter, no more, but no less, so that no child in this country feels the continuing sting of racism.
Barack Obama: (32:51)
We’ve seen folks, our essential workers, our healthcare workers risking their lives day in day out to save somebody else’s loved ones. We’ve seen people volunteer and contribute to help those who are having an especially difficult time that right now.
Barack Obama: (33:14)
That’s true in Pennsylvania, that’s true all across the country. America is a good and decent place, but we’ve just seen so much noise and nonsense that sometimes it’s hard for us to remember.
Barack Obama: (33:29)
Philadelphia, I’m asking you to remember what this country can be. What it’s like when we treat each other with respect and dignity, what it’s like when our elected officials actually behave responsibly. I’m asking you to believe in Joe’s ability, in Kamala’s ability to lead this country out of these dark times, and help us build it back better, because we can’t abandon those who are hurting right now. We can’t abandon the children who aren’t getting the education they need right now.
Barack Obama: (34:07)
We can’t abandon those protesters who inspired us. We’ve got to channel their activism into action, we can’t just imagine a better future. We’ve got to fight for it. We’ve got to out hustle the other side, we got to outwork the other side, we’ve got to vote like never before and leave no doubt. So make a plan right now, for how you’re going to get involved and vote. Do it as early as you can. Tell your family, tell your friends how they can vote. Don’t stop with Joe and Kamala, make sure you vote all the way down the ticket.
Barack Obama: (34:47)
And if we pour all our efforts into these 13 days, if we vote up and down the ticket, like never before, then we will not only elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, we will also leave no doubt about what this country that we love stands for. We will not leave any doubt about who we are as a people, and the values and ideals that we embrace.
Barack Obama: (35:17)
What Lincoln called the better angels of our nature, those are still in us. We see them operating every single day. We see them in neighborhoods, we see them in churches and synagogues and mosques and temples. We see them in people helping out a neighbor. We see them them inside our own families. We see that what is best in us is still there, but we’ve got to give it voice, and we’ve got to do it now.
Barack Obama: (35:49)
So let’s get to work people. Let’s bring this home. I love you, Philadelphia. Honk if you’re fired up, honk if you’re ready to go. Are you fired up?
Mr President, Distinguished delegates,
It is a great honour for me to participate in this High-level Meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
Multilateralism is indeed under great strain at a time when global challenges need greater global solidarity and global cooperation.
The world today is getting more polarized; geopolitical and economic tensions are rising high. Above all else, we are now faced with the COVID-19 crisis which is putting immense pressure on our societies and economies. It has caused loss of jobs and livelihoods, exacerbated poverty, disrupted education, and the hardest hit have been the most vulnerable. At this critical time, the world is more than ever in need of a stronger multilateral system for a collective response to this most consequential challenge in its history. Notwithstanding the challenges facing us today, we can say that the sustained efforts of the multilateral system, with United Nations at its heart, have contributed significantly to make the world a better place than it was 75 years ago. Major wars have been deterred, millions of people have been lifted out of extreme poverty and hunger, and average life expectancy is now higher than ever before. There is no other institution we can think that could replace the United Nations.
Myanmar joined this family of Nations as its 58th member soon after we regained independence in 1948 and our belief in the Charter of the United Nations was solid. Cooperation with the United Nations has been a cornerstone of Myanmar’s Foreign Policy. Myanmar has never shirked its responsibilities in fulfilling the purposes and principles of the United Nations as enshrined in its Charter, and in rendering its cooperation in good faith. One of our country’s great contributions to the UN was the noble service of a Myanmar diplomat U Thant, the third Secretary-General of the UN, who managed to avert serious crises at the height of the Cold War and spearheaded the Organization towards world peace. He was a true representative of the peace-loving people of Myanmar.
Myanmar is undergoing a complex democratic transition with multiple challenges as we work towards national reconciliation, peace and development to build a democratic federal union. These efforts have been further complicated by mounting external challenges rising out of conflict-related human rights issues. We firmly believe that the constructive engagement of the international community is the only viable way to overcome challenges of this nature. Mutual trust is key to the success of cooperation between the UN and its member States.
Myanmar thanks all its partners including the UN system, for assistance that has been rendered towards the achievement of the goals set out in the Myanmar Sustainable Development Programme (MSDP).
The United Nations must remain a beacon of hope for developing countries like Myanmar. We therefore need to reinvigorate the UN to be more responsive to the needs and priorities of sovereign member states.
We wish to see the UN evolve as a trusted partner that protects smaller nations and helps not hinders, their efforts to overcome their challenges.
We need a UN that helps strengthen the capacity of member states to resolve their own problems.
We believe that the UN should be a platform for global engagement for all nations, for the good of all humanity, not a system where the value of nations is decided by the degree of political and material power they can muster.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is our latest wake-up call for strong multilateralism, and greater cooperation and solidarity among nations to address the economic and social repercussions that will continue to unfold in the coming years.
At this extraordinary juncture, we must use this historic opportunity of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations to strive together for an open, transparent and rules-based multilateralism with all Member States adhering to the core values of the UN Charter; a just and equitable multilateralism ensuring that the voices of all Member States are equally heard; and an effective multilateralism to overcome the most formidable challenges we may need to face now, and in the future.
We must work together to shape the future we want through a more equitable multilateralism fostered by the United Nations we need.
I thank you, Mr President.
MR. SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS, MR. PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, The United Nations Organization was born, as the emanation of the hopes and yearnings of the peoples on our planet for peace, freedom, human rights and prosperity. Over the last 75 years, the United Nations has established itself as the cornerstone of international order and of the fundamental human rights and freedoms. The basic principles proclaimed by the UN Charter became the major source of international law. The UN was always present where conflicts were to be resolved, where thousands of human lives had to be saved, or where millions of children needed education and healthcare. Starting with the first “Blue helmets” in the Middle East in 1948, more than a million men and women served in the emblematic UN peacekeeping operations and missions – over 70 to date. The anniversary of the United Nations is also a moment for reflection. It turned out that 75 years were not enough to bring about the ideals set by the UN Charter, nor were we even close to have the people’s dreams come true. How to achieve our vision for the United Nations? This is yet one more reason for all of us to unite and find together adequate responses to the unprecedented threats and challenges faced by our societies. In this respect, the Alliance for multilateralism, established last September, with my country, Bulgaria, as a co-founding member, has an important role to play. On solemn occasions like this, we should strive to let optimism prevail. We need both an impetus and enthusiasm to keep working hard for the noble causes of this Organization – be it Peace on Earth, Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, winning the battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, promoting human rights, combatting terrorism, or coping with climate change. How the United Nations will look like tomorrow depends on us! We can shape its future together! Let us just do it!
CROATIA Statement by H.E. Andrej Plenković President of the Government of the Republic of Croatia
Excellencies, all protocol observed • Today we commemorate a milestone event in modern human history. • 75 years ago, a new international order was launched, based on multilateralism, and deeply rooted in the victorious alliance over Fascism. • After two devastating world wars, the United Nations emerged from the ashes of battlefields as humankind's best hope and the foundation of a new, better world. • The supreme ideal of the United Nations – to achieve a just and lasting peace for the suffering humanity – as US President Truman inspirationally stated at the San Francisco conference in 1945 – has unfortunately never been truly achieved. • Nevertheless, the United Nations, its organs and agencies, have proven their worth on countless occasions. From International Court of Justice, to UNICEF and UNESCO. • This momentous occasion is not only the opportunity to reflect on the past; it is above all the chance to look forward, for benefit of the young generations and those yet unborn. • Today we live in a much different world than 75 years ago. Technological revolution changed and improved our lives beyond comparison. Yet, the scourge that plagued the world in the autumn of 1945, the hunger and poverty, the disease and refugees, still burdens parts of our Planet. • Yet, unprecedented progress have been achieved in the past 75 years. • Whereas two out of three people in the world lived in extreme poverty at the end of the Second World War, today this share has fallen to less than one in ten and by 2030 this should fall under one in 16. • The changes we are going through are profound. In 75 years the world's population has been tripled, the global energy consumption and the global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels increased six times, while the sea level has risen by 15 centimetres and is expected to continue to rise. • This is why the climate change is one of the pivotal fields for the future of humanity. This is where we cannot afford to fail. • We have to adjust to new realities, find a way to meet new challenges, harvest the benefits of new technologies, achieve all sustainable development goals and avoid pitfalls of the past. • We must make the United Nations fit for the 21st century. • Croatia is a strong supporter of UN reforms, aimed at strengthening our Organization and forging multilateralism. • Revitalization of the United Nations' work has to go beyond the General Assembly. Reform of the Security Council is long overdue. • Our historical anniversary should also be an occasion for revisiting the UN Charter, to meet the needs and realities of the new era. • Let us use the 75th session of the General Assembly as a springboard for that. • Croatia, being a UN Member State since 1992, stands ready to continue actively contributing to all the efforts to improve our Organization and preserve its global relevance for decades to come. Thank you.
THE HONOURABLE REV. DR. POHIVA TU‘I‘ONETOA PRIME MINISTER OF THE KINGDOM OF TONGA on the Commemoration of the SEVENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY of the UNITED NATIONS
Monday 21 st September 2020 Pre-recorded Statement United Nations Headquarters, New York
Mr. President, It is an honour to join fellow leaders in commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, an occasion deserving better circumstances than in the midst of this prevailing COVID-19 global pandemic. I salute, with respect, the foresight and determination of our esteemed founders, 75 years ago, in formulating the United Nations Charter to promote peace and security, development, and human rights in the aftermath of the Second World War. The UN Charter begins with the words “We the Peoples” which set for an enduring legacy of the principles and values, enshrined in the Charter, with an emphasis on the peoples. The 75th anniversary of the United Nations is an opportunity to focus on the world, its current challenges, and how to shape the future we want. While we appreciate the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, the urgency to achieve those targets related to two critical priority areas of climate change and sea level rise cannot be stalled. These have become security issues that threaten Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including Tonga. We continue to excessively bear the burden, owing to accelerated sea level rise and climate injustice. Mr. President, We must renew our faith in multilateralism and commitment to international cooperation. In order to engage better in this context, we need to continue to reform the UN system to ensure a more positive impact upon the lives and livelihoods of our peoples. In conclusion, the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic present us with the opportunity to recommit, reshape and realign our strategies. I thank you and may God bless the United Nations with many more years to come.
Statement delivered by H.E.Mr. José Ulisses Correia Prime Minister of the Republic of Cabo Verde on the occasion of the High-Level Meeting to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations
We offer our greetings and highest compliments to the President of the General Assembly and to Secretary General. All protocols observed. We congratulate all member states of the United Nations, as well the organization itself, on reaching this historic milestone. We recognize seventy-five years of the United Nations’ contributions to peace, security, freedom, democracy, promotion and protection of human rights, and the reduction of poverty around the world. The United Nations is may not be perfect, but neither is our world. That world, however, is a much better place because of the United Nations. Our world, comprised of such a diversity of countries, needs governance on critical global issues of environmental protection, public health, economic development, financial systems, peace, and security issues. The COVID 19 pandemic has once again shown the importance of multilateralism. When economies are disrupted, when borders are closed, everyone loses. Some may lose more than others, but the net impact for our planet is most certainly negative. The devastating potential – and reality – of climate change knows no boundaries either. Poverty, hunger, insecurity, and instability cause impacts and externalities that hardly conform to lines of countries borders. In this context, Cabo Verde welcomes the adopted Declaration which symbolizes the criticality of this moment, reaffirms the commitment to multilateralism, and offers a vision for the future and the role of the United Nations. The COVID 19 crisis we are all experiencing should not confine the ambition of sustainable development to Agenda 2030. However, it imposes a strong additional challenge: overcoming the pandemic without leaving any country behind… and relaunching the world economy without relinquishing our shared responsibility for the health of developing nations. Once again, this is the moment when the instrument of multilateral, intergovernmental action – and the context of truly global gains – are essential to converged solutions and good decision making. Cabo Verde is a Member State that attaches multilateralism the greatest relevance not only as a principle, but also as a networked space for engagements. We fully participate and engage in the concert of Nations. Our commitment has been constant, consistent and coherent. And so it will continue to be. May the work of the United Nations advance to new heights and the cause of multilateralism shine brightly. Thank you