Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benítez Friday expressed before the United Nations' 76th General Assembly his “deep disappointment” at the lack of response from the Covax mechanism at distributing COVID-19 immunizers worldwide.
In his virtual appearance from Asunción, Abdo also thanked those countries which have reached out in solidarity to the Paraguayan people to advance their vaccination against the pandemic disease.
“Each speech is more than words,” said Abdo. “We can generate a space for deep and sincere reflection,” he added.
The Paraguayan head of state also highlighted the importance of solidarity and empathy, which “are vital to face a pandemic like this, how countries with commendable speed advanced rapidly in the production of vaccines, but also brought to light some realities that we must face.”
Abdo then underscored the fact that vaccines already paid for by his government through “the Covax mechanism recommended by the World Health Organization to guarantee equitable distribution” had failed to arrive on time.
“Paraguay has always opted for multilateralism, because we understand that common problems that transcend our countries require a joint response,” Abdo went on.
He also said the UN needed to “evaluate what happened and (...) be able to generate changes for the future.”
“I highlight the cooperation of friendly and brotherly countries that selflessly extended their hand of solidarity to the Paraguayan people through the cooperation of vaccines that allowed us to save lives and advance with the immunization program,” Abdo pointed out as he mentioned the United States, Qatar, India, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay for their assistance. “Our country will never forget it.”
Abdo then described Paraguay's economy and hoped for “effective access for our products to the markets of the most developed countries” in a “context of the post-pandemic recovery.”
In this regard, Abdo highlighted the “ambitious Bioceanic Corridor project that we are carrying out,” which will “unite the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean.”
He then underscored Paraguay's drive towards clean, renewable energy sources as well as the connection between climate change and “the current water crisis that affects our region.”
Abdo also explained “terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational organized crime are real threats,” which is why “Paraguay is committed to fighting its financing and in particular money laundering” of activities which, he stressed, involved the “despicable practice” of using children to carry out their deeds.
“In order to strengthen democratic governance and a more balanced decision-making system in the United Nations, we consider that the role of the General Assembly should be strengthened and the reform of the functioning of the Security Council should be considered,” Abdo concluded before quoting Pope Francis: “Hope is audacious, it knows how to look beyond the personal comfort of the small securities and compensations that narrow the horizon, to open itself to great ideals that make life more beautiful and dignified, let us walk in hope.”