Marcelo defends global treaty against pandemics and reform of World Health Organisation

In the United States for the 76th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, President Marcelo has defended the urgent need for a global treaty against pandemics and the reform of the World Health Organisation (seriously tarnished by a recent Sunday Times exposé click here).

While ‘back home in Portugal’ politicians are racing up and down the country gathering support for the municipal elections next weekend, Portugal’s head of state is due to make a speech at the UN general assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Pressed by journalists to reveal its message, he said he means to “call attention to the world’s current problems: “the pandemic, on one hand, the economic and social crisis on the other – and the geopolitical situation”.

Visiting Portuguese emigré communities in the meantime, he stressed the moment has come for “a reinforcement of dialogue and global organisations”.

“This is urgent because we have to prevent new pandemics with a global treaty against pandemics, we have to reinforce and reform the World Health Organisation – which signifies giving more weight to the United Nations and world organisations. In climate terms, we have to go further, because everything is connected to everything…”

Portugal’s second-term Head of State stressed current times are “very, very sensitive” – and while Portugal is in a ‘good place’ when it comes to Covid-19 right now, many countries aren’t. “This needs a global response”, he said again. Covid-19 (or any future pandemic) cannot be won if countries work alone.

“This is the lesson that we can take from everything: from the pandemic, from Afghanistan and the crisis: no power, even the strongest – and the United States of America is the strongest power in the world at this moment, but there are others on a global and regional level – can resolve problems of this dimension on its own. There have to be international organisations that work and prevent before having to remedy”.

What other powers was Marcelo talking about? Certainly China, possibly Russia – and on a regional level very possibly the Taliban/ Islamic fundamentalists.

His words came hot-on-the-heels of the latest diplomatic furore that a treaty between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia over the procurement of nuclear submarines, has created in terms of relations with China (not to mention France, and to a large extent the European Union).

Today, Sunday, Marcelo has been visiting New York’s 9/11 memorial, and renewed his theme that “no power, no country, no limited coalition” can beat terrorism. The answer lies in “opening of a global vision and reinforcement of international organisations”.

In short, terrorism “just like the climate, like migrations, pandemics, economic and social crises, global phenomena, requires global solutions”.

Marcelo has also told reporters ahead of his intervention on Tuesday that he will be “especially saluting” the re-election of António Guterres as the UN’s secretary-general, as this constitutes “prestige for Portugal” which he believes has the capacity to “build bridges” particularly between the United States, the European Union, the CPLP (community of Portuguese speaking countries) and the Ibero-American community.

Portugal’s president has also alluded to Portugal’s hosting of the ‘universal conference on the oceans’ in June next year – saying this will be yet another opportunity to come up with global solutions to foment development “because only this will halt migrations”.

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