The President of the Government of Spain speaks at the United Nations

At the UN, the President of the Government of Spain underlines the need for coordinated work to tackle major global challenges

President's News - 2022.9.22

In his speech, Pedro Sánchez called on world leaders to work together to address the major global challenges: the commitment to health, the food crisis, ecological and digital transitions, and gender equality.

The President of the Government of Spain began his speech at the UN by addressing the war in Ukraine: "From this rostrum, and what it represents, I want to condemn the announcement of holding annexation referendums in the occupied territories of Donesk, Lugansk and Kherson in the strongest terms. Sánchez argued that "now is the time when we most need to act together to defend the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter and in support of Ukraine".

Five global challenges

The first challenge Sánchez addressed in his speech was global health. In this regard, he stressed the need to "learn from the lessons of the fight against the pandemic". For this, Spain will contribute 15 million euros to the Financial Intermediation for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Fund.

In total, Spain has proposed allocating more than 237 million euros to health, of which 130 million euros will go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. "We must redouble our efforts and strengthen scientific research to ensure universal access to medical care and treatment", the president stressed.

On the second challenge, the food crisis, which affects millions of people around the world, Sánchez denounced Russia's blockade of Ukrainian grain exports. Together with the President of Senegal, the President of the African Union, the President of the European Council and the US Secretary of State, the head of the Executive co-chaired a summit on this issue in which many world leaders participated. During the meeting, the head of the Executive announced that Spain will provide 151 million euros in donations and 85 million euros in loans for this cause over the next three years.

On the ecological transition, Sánchez stressed that the current energy crisis "is pushing us to make a decisive commitment to more sustainable energy models". "All the measures taken to reduce this impact share one principle: that this time, the burdens and sacrifices should not fall on the shoulders of the vast majority who have been mistreated in previous crises", the president said. In this sense, the Government of Spain is committed to undertaking an in-depth reform of the electricity sector throughout the European Union to make progress in adapting the sector to the current reality, distributing and limiting costs and benefits of price increases in a "fairer" way.

In relation to the fourth challenge, Spain participated in the Education Transformation Summit where it presented the United Nations technology centre for the digitalisation of schools, GIGA. This centre will be established in Barcelona in collaboration with UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union.

"If we want to continue advancing our rights agenda, it is essential that we continue to support the right to education for all, but especially for girls", said Sánchez. Therefore, on this last challenge, the president announced that Spain will contribute 100 million euros over the next three years to organisations working on gender equality, especially reproductive and sexual rights, including UN Women.

Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean

Speech by Pedro Sánchez in the General Debate of the 77th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly | Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

The Government of Spain believes that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have a fundamental role to play in the world, starting with the defence of democracy. "Spain is committed to Latin America and the Caribbean and we will work to achieve greater closeness with the EU under the presidency of the Council of the EU that we will hold in the second half of next year", Sánchez said.

Sánchez also recalled the Madrid Strategic Concept, one of the outcomes of the NATO Summit in June, which refers to the South and, in particular, the Sahel, "a region affected by growing instability".

Sánchez said he was confident that "humanity will always find a way to overcome the blows of fate and move forwards. What makes a difference is how we deal with them; how we heal the wounds suffered along the way, while protecting those most at risk".

"We must persevere in our quest to build a freer, more prosperous and just world. And for all of this, it is essential to strengthen rules-based multilateralism and, in short, to guarantee peace, which is the most valuable asset we have", concluded the President of the Government of Spain.

UN Week

Since Monday, the President of the Government of Spain has had an intense agenda to highlight Spain's contribution to the search for solutions to global challenges, to show our country's commitment to multilateralism and to reinforce Spain's international image. Sánchez began the week with a bilateral meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. He has also met with the President of Chile and the heads of State and Government of Pakistan, Iraq, Bolivia, Niger, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority.

Sánchez also co-chaired a Summit on Food Security together with the Presidents of Senegal and the European Council, and the US Secretary of State. He also spoke at the 7th Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis convened by US President Joe Biden in New York and, as a permanent guest of the G20, Sánchez participated in a meeting of the Global Response Group on the Food, Energy and Financial Crisis.

Related to Spain's economic outlook, Sánchez took part in the economic forum organised by Spain-US Trade and held a meeting with investment funds. He met with the Spanish community in New York and took part in a tribute to Salvador Allende at the Cervantes Institute.

Non official translation