#UN; #PublicServiceDay; #ServiceToHumankind
Geneva, Jun 23 (Canadian-Media): As the world continues to grapple with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday paid tribute to frontline public sector workers for their “remarkable acts of service to humankind”, marking Public Service Day, UN reports said.
Health workers in Madagascar remind citizens to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Image credit: World Bank/Henitsoa Rafalia
Pointing to the nurses, doctors and paramedics who provide life-saving care; sanitation workers “who disinfect and clean public spaces”; transportation workers who have kept buses and trains running worldwide; teachers and the “public health officials, data managers and statisticians who provide vital and reliable information on the transmission and prevention of the disease”; the UN chief said selfless public servants had often operated “in dangerous conditions, with high human interaction and without access to personal protective equipment”.
“Some have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the process”, he added.
While honouring essential workers, the top UN official highlighted the importance of better protecting, recognizing and investing in their well-being.
“And I say directly to these inspiring public servants: We are all deeply indebted to you”.
Boost public service morale
General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande told the virtual gathering that the day offered “a rare opportunity to discuss how to reposition governments and the public service for effective containment of the current and future threats to public safety”.
“In discharging its responsibilities and fulfilling its mandates, the public sector must constantly be guided by the finest principles of public administration, notably, altruism, loyalty, dedication, excellence, integrity, responsiveness, and accountability”, he said.
To contain the spread of fallout from natural disasters, frontline workers need to be permanently ready with containment and mitigating scenarios, and above all, contact tracing and effective public communication should be the highpoints of pandemic control efforts.
“If we learnt any lesson from COVID-19, it is that, in a period of emergency, the proactive and morale-boosting role of the public service remains critical”, he added.
Commit to action:
WHO chiefMore than ever, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the necessity of robust, responsive and effective public service delivery.
“We have all become acutely aware of the capacity and resilience of public servants, especially the millions of essential workers who keep systems and services functioning”, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) told the virtual celebration event.
And while acknowledging that it is right to applaud and celebrate public sector workers, he asked the question: “What is it that we are doing for others?”
The WHO chief stressed that the pandemic continues to grow and “the number of cases and deaths continues to rise”.
“We have a lot of work to do”, he said, elaborating, among other things, on the need to enhance the capacities of public services, protect them from stigma and harassment, and enable better and stronger regulations to support health workers to deliver safe care for the public.
“This is not just about survival. It is about building back better”, he concluded asking everyone to “commit to action…that empowers and enables health workers as the foundation of the healthier, safer, fairer world we all want”.
#Canada; #UNCouncilSeat; #Norway; #Ireland; #India; #Mexico
Ottawa, Jun 18 (Canadian-Media): In spite of a high-profile campaign led by the Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, the Liberal government lost June 17 a four–year bid for one of two available temporary UN Security Council seats by getting third position, behind Norway and Ireland, media reports said.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Twitter handle
Norway and Ireland won the two available temporary seats, with 130 and 128 votes respectively, while Canada fell short of of 20 votes of the 128 needed to win seat..
Besides Norway and Ireland, Mexico and India were also successful in securing seats.
Two African nations, Kenya and Djibouti will go to a second ballot to determine a victor.
It was very upsetting for Trudeau, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne and other Canada's high-level officials who had been campaigning around the world to secure one of the two available rotating seats.
Federal officials had been promoting the Canadian values of peace, freedom, democracy and human rights, throughout the campaign , said Trudeau in a statement and added,
“Throughout every step of our campaign, and in a time of global uncertainty, we promoted the Canadian values of peace, freedom, democracy, and human rights. We listened and learned from other countries, which opened new doors for cooperation to address global challenges, and we created new partnerships that increased Canada’s place in the world. This important engagement has contributed to our broader efforts to tackle the most important challenges of our time, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and has acted as a foundation for further international cooperation on other key issues. We will continue to pursue this approach at the United Nations and in other international forums – because Canada does well, and Canadians do well, when we strengthen our international relationships and fully engage on the world stage," Said Trudeau.
During a news conference in New York June 17, Champagne said the campaign was an opportunity for Canada to renew and strengthen bilateral relationships around the globe.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said this loss is a failure of Canada's foreign policy.
“He sold out Canada’s principles for a personal vanity project and we still lost,” he said. “What a waste.”
More than $2.3 million had been spent by the federal government on its quest for a seat.
NDP foreign affairs critic Jack Harris said Canada through its membership in the G7, G20 and other global organizations can still have a positive influence with other countries.
Former Quebec premier Jean Charest, who served as special envoy to bolster Canada's bid, said many countries had already committed their votes by the time Canada entered the race.
Canada put forward its candidacy in 2016, about a decade after Ireland (2005) and Norway (2007) announced they were running.
Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said that the two other candidates being anchored in the European Union (EU) automatically got support from the European continent.
When Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and thirteenth Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs was asked by Conservative foreign affairs critic Leona Alleslev whether concessions in United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade talks affected the UN Security council seat, she replied,
"I am quite certain that Canadians and the allies admire the work that we did as a country in re-negotiating the new NAFTA. Canada is today the only G7 country that has a trade agreement with every other G7 country. At a time of rising protectionism, a time our economy is going through a crisis created by the coronavirus."
Shortly before the results were announced, Trudeau cited Canada's record on combating climate change, promoting peace and security and supporting developing countries and women's rights.
He said under all circumstances, Canada will continue to fight to reduce global conflict and social inequities.
"Canada has continued to be a strong voice on the world stage. Because this is what Canada does well and we will continue to do it," he said.
"Yes, a seat on the UN Security Council will be an additional lever and an extra way that Canada can make sure that our voice and our values are being heard at the highest levels. But we will continue to make a difference in the world and defend multilateralism, not just because it's good for the world, but because it's good for Canadians."
The last time Canada held a seat was 1999 – 2000.
#UN; #TurkishDiplomat; #UNGenAssembly
Turkey, Jun 17 (Canadian-Media): Volkan Bozkir of Turkey was elected President of the forthcoming session of the UN General Assembly in a vote held on Wednesday that was emblematic of its time, UN reports said.
A delegate votes in elections for the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Image credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Wearing facemasks and practicing physical distancing, ambassadors from 192 UN Member States filed into the iconic but empty General Assembly Hall to cast their ballots during pre-determined time slots: an added layer of protection in the COVID-19 era.
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to work under extraordinary conditions to overcome the myriad of challenges facing us,” the current General Assembly President, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, said ahead of the elections.
“Indeed,” he added, “(they) represent our common commitment to ensuring the uninterrupted continuation of the important work of the United Nations, in accordance with the values and principles of the United Nations Charter.”
New faces in the Security Council, ECOSOCMr. Bozkir, a veteran diplomat and parliamentarian, will preside over the landmark 75th session of the UN General Assembly, which opens in September. He was the sole candidate for the post.
Ambassadors also voted for five new countries to join the UN Security Council as non-permanent members.
The Council comprises five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and 10 non-permanent members, who serve for two-year periods.
While three countries vied for two seats allocated to African and Asia-Pacific States, only India was confirmed. Djibouti and Kenya face a second round of voting to be held on Thursday.
A similar race occurred for the Western European and other States group, where Canada did not secure the required two-thirds majority, or 128 votes.
Norway and Ireland will begin their terms starting in January, as will Mexico, representative for the Latin America and Caribbean region.
Eighteen countries will also occupy vacant seats in the Economic and Social Council, another of the six main organs of the UN.
They are: Argentina, Austria, Bolivia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Portugal, the Solomon Islands, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
Preparing for September
While this year’s General Assembly falls during the UN’s 75th anniversary, the pandemic adds to its historic significance, and the need to maintain safety measures.
Plans are in motion for the annual high-level week, where Heads of State address the world from the dais in the General Assembly Hall.
Mr. Bande, the current President, has written to Member States about a scenario that foresees his successor and UN Secretary-General António Guterres present in the Hall for the official opening, while world leaders will deliver their speeches via pre-recorded video statements.
Delegations have until noon on Friday to submit their feedback.
#ICSF; #Sahel; #G5Sahel; #MINUSMA; #NABERIUS; #FREQUENCE
Ottawa, Jun 13 (Canadian-Media): François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Harjit S. Sajjan, Canada's Minister of National Defence jointly announced June 13 that Canada is joining the International Coalition for the Sahel (ICFS) to facilitate coordination and interaction of international action to support the G5 Sahel countries, media reports said.
G5 Sahel. Image credit: Twitter handle
G5 Sahel countries is an institutional framework for coordination and regional cooperation in developing policies and security matters in West Africa.
Champagne who will participate in the coalition’s Small Group of Foreign Ministers said that Canada is proud to be a partner in the ICFS and looks forward to working with them as well as with international partners to help restore peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
François-Philippe Champagne. Image credit: Website
During virtual meetings with their respective counterparts, Champagne and Sajjan reiterated Canada’s commitment to advancing Sahel's priorities for peace and security, economic and social development, inclusive governance, gender equality and climate change.
The ministers also highlighted Canada’s engagement in contributing to international efforts to stabilize the region, by participating in operations, exercises, and capacity-building initiatives.
Sajjan said that Canada with its strong, secure, engaged defence policy, is committed to working with its partners around the world and will contribute to global efforts to support a more secure and stable Sahel region.
Harjit S. Sajjan. Image credit: Twitter handle
United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is also supported by Canada through the deployment of civilians, police and military officers.
Canada's support through major bilateral assistance programs in Mali and Burkina Faso, contributes to development in the Sahel.
In addition capacity-building training for the Nigerian Armed Forces is being provided by Canada through Operation NABERIUS.
Canada offers assistance to France under Operation FREQUENCE using military aircraft to support the movement of French personnel and military equipment to and from the Sahel region.
#US; #Syria; #UNSCR2254; #Idlib
U.S. Dept of State, Jun 11 (Canadian-Media): James Jeffrey, Special Representative for Syria Engagement Ambassador spoke by phone June 11 with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin on the situation in Syria, United States (US) Dept of State reports said.
James Jeffrey. Image credit: Wikipedia
Ambassador Jeffrey and Deputy Foreign Minister Vershinin discussed the political process for the settlement of the Syrian crisis in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2254.
UNSCR 2254 was unanimously adopted on 18 December 2015. which provides for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of Syria and calls for a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria.
They also discussed recent developments in Idlib, Northeast Syria, and the southwest.
#US; #Covid19Pandemic; #Austria; #IranianTerrorism; #Disinformation
US Dept of State, Jun 11 (Canadian-Media): Secretary of US Dept of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg Jun 11 about the U.S.-Austrian shared commitment to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Michael Pompeo. Image credit: Twitter handle
Pompeo also discussed with Schallenberg measures to counter campaigns that spread disinformation, distort reality, and undermine trust in our democracies.
Their discussion further moved to the President’s Vision for Peace between Israel and the Palestinians as well as about efforts taken to hold Iranian terrorism proxy Hizballah accountable for its damaging activities in Europe.
#USDepartmentOfState; #China; #BritishBankHSBC; Huawei; #UnitedKingdom
United States, Jun 9 (Canadian-Media): Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State issued June 9 the following press statement regarding China's attempted coercion of the United Kingdom.
The United States stands with our allies and partners against the Chinese Communist Party’s coercive bullying tactics. In the latest example, Beijing has reportedly threatened to punish British bank HSBC and to break commitments to build nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom unless London allows Huawei to build its 5G network. Shenzhen-based Huawei is an extension of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.
The CCP’s browbeating of HSBC, in particular, should serve as a cautionary tale. Just last week, the bank’s Asia-Pacific CEO, Peter Wong, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, signed a petition supporting Beijing’s disastrous decision to destroy Hong Kong’s autonomy and to break commitments made in an U.N.-registered treaty. That show of fealty seems to have earned HSBC little respect in Beijing, which continues to use the bank’s business in China as political leverage against London.
Beijing’s aggressive behavior shows why countries should avoid economic overreliance on China and should guard their critical infrastructure from CCP influence. Australia, Denmark, and other free nations have recently faced pressure from CCP interests to bow to China’s political wishes. The United States stands ready to assist our friends in the U.K. with any needs they have, from building secure and reliable nuclear power plants to developing trusted 5G solutions that protect their citizens’ privacy. Free nations deal in true friendship and desire mutual prosperity, not political and corporate kowtows.