“If elected to the UN Security Council for the term 2023-2024, Malta will commit to support the UN as a neutral Member State, actively pursuing peace, security and social progress among all nations, across the world,” Prime Minister Robert Abela declared in his address at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
During his speech, Prime Minister Abela outlined the main priorities for Malta if elected to the UN Security Council, from the fight against climate change, human rights, Libya, children and armed conflict.
Working together can we tackle common challenges
The Prime Minister said that COVID reaffirmed the priority of multilateralism, and that it is the key to a strong and sustainable future. The pandemic, he said, was not just a health crisis but a multifaceted one with effects on humanitarian, security, human rights and socio-economic stability.
“As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, we must come together to forge plans that demonstrates our determination and commitment to a strong recovery that leads to a more equal, inclusive resilient and sustainable world, ” the Prime Minister said.
He referred to the fact that for the first time in 20 years, the World Bank announced a significant rise in poverty numbers.
“The goal of bringing the global absolute poverty rate to less than 3% by 2030 is now beyond reach, unless we embark on swift, significant and targeted policy actions,” he added.
The devastating effects of COVID can’t be solved by rhetoric. The principles of “leaving no one behind” and “building back better” requires mobilising sufficient aid and resources, ensuring that vaccines are available to those who urgently require them in all regions of the world, thus creating a level playing field, he said.
Referring to Malta’s successful vaccination campaign, the Prime Minister said that Malta is fully committed to sharing vaccines with countries in need. “This summer, Malta donated 40,000 doses to Libya and will assist further to help Libya get a million dose by the end of the year,” he said.
Malta is fully committed to sharing vaccines with countries in need.
“Malta’s post COVID strategy places the community at the centre stage, adopting a bottom-up approach, in a bid to make Malta a smarter and more resilient economy.”
He hailed the EU COVID-19 digital certificate as an important step forward to recovery via tourism. He added that we now need to rethink our economic model and adapt it to similar events which are likely to take place in the future. Fair competition should be at the heart of any approach for a post-pandemic economic recovery.
Collective effort needed to respond to climate change
Referring to climate change, the Prime Minister said that world leaders need to engage with the private sector, Accademia and citizens to stop human-induced climate change.
“I am proud to say that achieving carbon neutrality is one of the five major pillars of Malta’s economic vision for 2030. We have adopted a low carbon development strategy that integrates mitigation with adaptation. This includes significant investment in waste management, road transport, renewable energy and energy efficiency of buildings”.
The Prime Minister said that as Malta is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change within the EU, it is a keen advocate in favour of a process on adaption, noting that small islands are among the lowest emitters but the most vulnerable to climate change.
Malta also has limited options to reduce emissions, leading it to incur higher marginal and disproportionate abatement costs.
As leaders we have a significant role to play and the responsibility to act without delay. Climate change by itself and as a threat multiplier, poses significant challenges and may threaten the very existence of some countries and regions.”
“I am proud to say that achieving carbon neutrality is one of the five major pillars of Malta’s economic vision for 2030.”
In view of this, he said, the relationship between climate and security will be high on Malta’s agenda if elected to the UN Security Council for the term 2023-2024.
“We will place particular emphasis on bridging the gap between science and global security concerns. Especially the ocean as the single largest habitat on our planet. Malta is committed to ensuring that the voices of states mostly impacted by climate change are heard.”
Closing the digital gap
The Prime Minister said that as a founding member of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, Malta’s goal is to become a leader in small island-state governance.
“We’re ready to share our plans on decarbonisation and digitalisation,” he declared.
“Malta advocates the need to close the digital gap across nations to achieve a level playing field. We aim to further enhance our potential in this field and fast-track our digital transformation. Malta’s aim is to implement modernised and secure digital services that are accessible to all, in order to circumvent disruptions caused by COVID-19 in the economy, education, health and the public administration.”
Human rights at the core of what we do
Turning on to human rights, Prime Minister Abela said that the full realisation of all human rights and fundamental freedoms is a priority for Malta.
“We are especially concerned of increased violence against women around the world. We must ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice, victims are supported and an enabling environment is created to enable women to fully, equally and effectively participate in public life.”
“Malta on the Security Council will continue to stress the need to include women and youths in peace-keeping and peace-building efforts. Just as peace agreements have been seen to last longer when women and youths are present at the peace table, so can women and youths contribute to various spheres of society.”
Malta on the Security Council will continue to stress the need to include women and youths in peace-keeping and peace-building efforts.
He added that it is our responsibility to ensure that women are given the space to become “enablers for change”.
Mitigating tensions is paramount
Referring to the various global conflicts, Prime Minister Abela said that refocusing and revitalising our efforts at addressing and mitigating tensions is paramount, as he made specific reference to Libya, saying that the future of Libya must remain at the forefront of our agenda, for international peace and stability.
He called for support to the Libyan authorities under the auspices of the United Nations to ensure a successful political transition for the Libyan people, the region, the African continent, and the world.
“The will of the Libyan people must be respected, and the cease-fire agreement fully implemented. The work of the fact-finding mission set up last year must be supported. Mercenaries, foreign fighters and forces must withdraw from Libya, and the arms embargo must be respected.”
He called for the adoption of the necessary social and economic reforms, combined with a national reconciliation process. This, he said, should lead to the unification of state institutions, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.
The will of the Libyan people must be respected, and the cease-fire agreement fully implemented.
“Malta is actively supporting Libya in its economic development. It’s imperative for the international community to continue to work together and address the root causes of violent extremism and radicalisation, with the aim of countering terrorism and its financing.”
Action against terrorism must be firm and decisive, and the UN is central to the fight, he said, as he referred to the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law founded in Malta in 2014, which has been crucial in providing training on tackling terrorism from a rule of law perspective.
The Prime Minister touched upon other areas, including Afghanistan, stating that Afghan nationals must not be abandoned to their fate and that Afghanistan should never again be used as a platform or haven for terrorist organisation.
On Syria, he said that the international community cannot remain idle and must redouble its efforts to bring peace.
“Should Malta be entrusted to serve on the UN Security Council, children and armed conflict will be a priority during our tenure.”
“Malta stands united with the international community to build a better world where understanding and cooperation are at the heart of our policies, and the work we do on the ground. Where we work together in a unified and multilateral manner.
Our citizens and our children who will inherit the world after us, truly deserve it,” he ended.