UN General Assembly adopts resolution urging global cooperation on coronavirus

UNITED NATIONS, Apr 03 (APP):The UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution Thursday calling for increased global solidarity and international cooperation to “contain, mitigate and defeat” the deadly coronavirus infection.

The resolution, drafted by Singapore and co-sponsored by Pakistan and over 180 other countries, passed using a new mechanism called “silence procedure,” which does not require a resolution to be voted upon, but rather will pass automatically after a set time if no member state objects.

The new voting rules were instituted after the 193-member Assembly decided not to hold meetings because of coronavirus. Normally, assembly resolutions are adopted by majority votes or by consensus.

It is the first UN resolution on the outbreak, coming after the number of coronavirus cases surpassed one million worldwide.

The resolution reaffirms the General Assembly’s commitment to international cooperation and multilateralism, and calls upon Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN system to “work with all relevant actors in order to mobilize a coordinated global response tot he pandemic and its adverse social, economic and financial impact on all societies.”

The need for assistance to the poor and the most affected countries was emphasized in the resolution, which also underscored the devastating effects of COVID-19 on societies and its serious disruption to economies, global travel as well as trade.

The resolution also highlighted the need to respect human rights and oppose any form of discrimination, racism and xenophobia in the response to the coronavirus.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 181 countries and regions.

Data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections surpassing 1 million with more than 53,000 deaths and over 211,000 recoveries.

In adopting the resolution, the General Assembly did not approve a rival resolution sponsored by Russia calling for U.N. solidarity in the face of the challenges posed by the new virus and urging an end to trade wars, protectionist practices and unilateral sanctions without the U.N. Security Council approval.

According to diplomatic sources, the European Union, United Kingdom, United States and Ukraine objected to the Russian draft, which was co-sponsored by Central African Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande sent a letter to member nations late Thursday saying that although an extension for objections to the Russian draft had been granted until Tuesday at 6 p.m. local time (3 a.m Friday PST), “subsequent consultations with several delegations clearly indicated that further time will not facilitate the resolution of the differences expressed.” Therefore, he said, the time for objections “has come to an end, effective immediately,” and the resolution remains defeated.

President Bande sent a letter earlier Thursday evening informing all U.N. member nations that there were no objections to the other resolution, titled “Global Solidarity to fight the coronavirus disease” and sponsored by Singapore, Ghana, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. He said it was approved and is in effect.