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The world does not need conflicts, but joint action against Covid-19

08 January 2021 News

The deputy prime minister for judicial reform and minister of foreign affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria Ekaterina Zaharieva participated in the Special Session of the UN General Assembly in Response to the Coronavirus Disease. The session was held remotely on 3 and 4 December 2020.

Statement by Ms. Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria

Mr. President,


It is an honor to participate in this Special Session. The COVID-19 pandemic should alert nations to unite and cooperate, but we see a chain of new conflicts surged in 2020. Facing the challenges of the pandemic, it is extremely important that we continue to work together within the UN system.

Bulgaria was among the countries that endorsed the Secretary General’s Call for Global Ceasefire.  It is important to observe all UN resolutions related to conflicts.

Countering the pandemic should not be at the expense of democratic and civic space, the rule of law and of international commitments.  We call for full implementation of the Secretary General’s Call to Action on human rights.

The COVID-19 crisis has particularly affected women and girls who have proved their leadership capacity being at the forefront of the response. Gender equality must be at the centre of efforts to rebuild more inclusive, equal and resilient societies.

The consequences of the COVID-19 crisis and the economic decline have particularly affected children. They now face education, food, health and safety hardships, and the risk of poverty.

Protection of the rights of the child is a core priority of our domestic and external policy. On national level, we introduced comprehensive social protection programmes and economic measures aimed at children. We welcome the efforts of UN agencies, including UNICEF’s Six Point Plan to Protect our Children, in dealing with the crisis.

Mr. President,

We should be striving for an inclusive, green, and sustainable recovery, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Building back better implies investments in resilient health systems and in pandemic preparedness, acknowledging the leading role of the World Health Organisation.

To protect ourselves we need to protect the planet, restore biodiversity and use it sustainably. The UN General Assembly Omnibus resolution on Covid-19 called for a broad One Health approach. We view the environmental, human, animal and plant health as one system that requires concrete steps and cooperation within the UN and among all concerned stakeholders.

Mr. President,

The Secretary General’s Roadmap on Digital Cooperation with its three pillars, CONNECT – RESPECT – PROTECT, should accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The use of digital technologies to contain the pandemic should be in full respect of all human rights, including the right to privacy and the freedoms of expression and opinion, whilst curtailing misinformation, disinformation and cybercrime.

We welcome the Global Humanitarian Response Plan, launched by the Secretary General in March. Our support should reach the most vulnerable, in particular women and children, older persons, persons with disability, refugees, internally displaced and migrants, and persons earning their livelihoods in the informal economy.

We must step up efforts to ensure unrestricted internal and cross-border movement of humanitarian workers and free flow of health and humanitarian supplies, including vaccines, treatments, therapeutics.

We strongly condemn all forms of violence, attacks and threats against health and humanitarian personnel and we call for accountability and full compliance with International Humanitarian Law in such instances.

We must support the economic recovery of UN Member States. Bulgaria is part of the adopted EU strategy for a green, digital, fair and resilient recovery with debt relief and investment linked to the Sustainable Development Goals. We have redirected around one million EUR to respond to the most urgent needs and the most vulnerable.

We can only succeed if we work together!

Thank you!


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