PRESS RELEASE 147
75th opening week of the United Nations General Assembly comes to a close
02/10/2020
Spain played a major role in numerous events organised during the first week of the United Nations General Assembly in a year that marks the 75th anniversary since the UN was created. This session is taking place at an especially critical time due to the COVID-19 crisis.

His Majesty King Felipe VI spoke at the meeting of Heads of State and Government on 21 September commemorating 75 years since the United Nations was created, at which a solemn Declaration was unanimously adopted describing its main achievements, challenges and lines of action for the present and future.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, spoke during the General Debate by the General Assembly to propose world leaders strengthen multilateralism as the only way forward to deal with major global challenges and the consequences from the pandemic.

In line with the importance given by Spain to gender equality and protecting the environment, President of the Government Sánchez spoke at the high-level meeting dedicated to commemorating the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Women in Beijing, at the Summit on Biodiversity and at the high-level event on International Solidarity in response to the economic recession caused by COVID-19 organised by Costa Rica and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Spain took part in numerous meetings and events organised within the framework of the opening week of the 75th session of the General Assembly held this year, mostly online due to the measures adopted to tackle the pandemic.

Spain’s involvement enabled the priority focus for Spanish overseas action in five areas to be presented and advocated: actions in the global response to the pandemic; strengthening multilateralism; protecting human rights and gender equality; promoting international peace and security; and supporting compliance with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The most important events under these priority lines of action were as follows:

At the event entitled “Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-Accelerator)”, the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ibero-America and the Caribbean, Cristina Gallach, defended strengthening international cooperation in order to guarantee equal access to vaccines, medicines and diagnostic testing, as well as considering public health as a global public asset.

The promotion of strengthened and inclusive multilateralism is another of the action lines defined by Spain. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, the European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, expressed her firm commitment to this idea during the ministerial meeting of the Alliance for Multilateralism. The Spanish minister also defended the inclusion of companies and organisations in society in multilateral initiatives during her speech at the Impact Forum organised by the United Nations Global Compact.

The protection of human rights and gender equality are another two fundamental priorities for Spanish overseas action. Minister González Laya chaired the event on refugees and the forcefully displaced in Central America, which was organised by Spain as it holds the pro tempore presidency of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework Support Platform. Spain announced its willingness to mobilise the international community to tackle the migration phenomenon in the region and prepare a national action plan to apply the Global Compact to Refugees in order to implement solutions for the human drama of forced displacement.

Minister González Laya also chaired the coalition of the Equality Generation Forum on economic justice and rights. State Secretary Cristina Gallach spoke at the event on the rights of the LGTBI group by advocating paths towards greater inclusion. The State Secretary for International Cooperation, Ángeles Moreno, took part in an event on multidimensional poverty during which he expressed Spain’s commitment to efforts aimed at providing and building solutions to this crisis. The Director-General for the United Nations and Human Rights, Marcos Gómez, advocated the total abolition of capital punishment at the event held on the death penalty and gender, during which the disadvantages and systemic barriers influencing death penalty sentences around the world were explored.

In the field of humanitarian action, Cristina Gallach attended a session on the dual impact stemming from a combination of climate change in conflict scenarios and a meeting to strengthen the global commitment to Venezuela. In turn, the State Secretary for International Cooperation took part in the call to action aimed at preventing, mitigating and responding to gender violence during emergencies with a roadmap for the period 2021-2025.

As part of the initiatives promoted by Spain to foster ongoing international peace and security, Minister González Laya spoke at the meeting on the Victims of Terrorism and attended the meeting of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative promoted by Spain and celebrating its 15th anniversary, the current High Representative of which is the former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain, Miguel Ángel Moratinos. At this meeting, Spain announced its willingness to strengthen its conflict mediation, prevention and resolution actions and intercultural dialogue based on a positive and committed agenda.

15 years since the concept of “Responsibility to Protect” was adopted are also being celebrated this year. This concept seeks to protect civilian populations from international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. State Secretary Cristina Gallach reiterated Spain’s commitment to strengthening existing mechanisms, its willingness to incorporate a gender approach and the need to reform the Security Council in order to prevent and persecute the most serious crimes against humanity. Also in the fight against impunity, the Spanish minister attended the event organised by the Informal Ministerial Network in Support of the International Criminal Court rejecting the attacks it has suffered and defending the work it undertakes impartially and independently.

Finally, Spain collaborated on promoting the High-Level Meeting on Climate Action, with a focus on the future COP26, with the aim of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 as part of Spain’s commitment to compliance with the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Furthermore, Spain announced its interest in continuing to promote water diplomacy within the framework of the 2nd United Nations Water Action Decade 2018-2028.

-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-​​

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