Levits: United Nations must fight pandemic and infodemic together

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Latvian President Egils Levits on Tuesday addressed United Nations General Assembly, highlighting the fights with COVID-19 and disinformation, according to the President's official website information September 22.

Levits noted the role of the United Nations (UN) in the fight with COVID-19, as well as noted that Latvia is involved  – Latvian scientists participate in the development of a vaccine, and the state is involved in the development of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 through the World Health Organization.

In his speech, the President stressed the importance of maintaining security in the world: "Effective multilateralism remains the most essential tool for maintaining the international rules-based order and security. The rules-based order is the foundation for global justice and peace."

According to Levits, the UN should use all possible instruments to ensure security in real life and online. Levits added that  "Latvia remains strong in its support of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, in recognition of the close link between global security and equal participation of women."

He also pointed to Estonia's successful work on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member state and said "Latvia, too, hopes to assume this honour and responsibility for the term 2026–2027."

Levits stressed Latvia's readiness to fight the consequences of the pandemic. He said: "The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement must remain at the center of our recovery efforts. Faster recovery will require good governance and respect for human rights and gender equality.

"I am convinced that to “recover better” means a green, digital and inclusive recovery. We urgently need to strengthen our efforts to address climate change, to tackle the loss of biodiversity and to protect the environment. We should promote more sustainable consumption and production patterns."

In the context of the ongoing digitalization Levits stressed the importance of keeping track that the information collected and processed is used for the intended purposes, without infringing personal data protection rules. He also mentioned disinformation and the importance of credible information access: 

"Free, objective and pluralistic media plays an indispensable role in informing the public during the ongoing pandemic. The exponential increase of misinformation, disinformation, fake news and hate speech in recent years is dangerous not only in the context of the pandemic."

"Latvia has credible expertise and can contribute to this end. In June at the United Nations, Latvia together with a cross-regional group of 130 countries called for action to fight misinformation and disinformation, or the so-called “infodemic”, in the context of COVID-19," said Levits.

"Mobilized by the shared suffering during this pandemic, let us make renewed efforts to forge peace and a sustainable way of life, for the good of all humanity."

The full text of his address is available at the presidential website and you can watch it delivered above.



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