New York, 03 December 2020

Statement by H. E. Mr. Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia at the general debate of the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

Mr. President,

All protocols observed.

This Special Session of the General Assembly takes place at the pivotal moment in our fight against COVID-19 pandemics.

I am addressing you from home since I was tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

The challenge we all face demonstrate the importance of global solidarity and multilateralism.

For that reason, we believe it is crucial to preserve the central role of the World Health Organization as the leading authority and the guardian of global public health.

Croatia firmly believes in the need for global joint approach in combating the pandemic and we were pleased to take an active role as co-coordinators of the resolution “Comprehensive and coordinated response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.”

We also contributed in total 1 million euros to the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund and to the World Health Organization.

Most of the world is still struggling with the pandemic and we are grateful to the medical doctors, nurses and other hospital service for their dedicated work.

Croatia is no exception.

Current rate of infections creates additional pressure on health systems in most of Europe and the northern hemisphere entering winter.

On the positive side, having several vaccines ready to be approved and used gives us reason for optimism.

Research teams and scientists should be highly commended for their tireless work and creativity. 

Our next challenge will be how to ensure equitable and timely access to the vaccine globally.

Another priority is to ensure a coordinated and clear communication on the efficacy and safety of the vaccines, thus preventing the spread of false information. 

Mr. President,

Our response to this disease should include both helping the people, protecting their health and economic well-being, while at the same time protecting the planet.

Therefor we support the One Health Approach, as the „new standard“ – for overcoming this and preventing future pandemics.

In our national and collective endeavours to “build back better”, the paradigm for action continues to be the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.

I would like to end my remarks by mentioning Croatian professor Andrija Štampar, one of the founders of the World Health Organization.

He introduced the concept that “national health and work on its advancement should be addressed to leaving no one behind“.

Building on his work, Croatia has established a long tradition of the universal health coverage and public health.

Based on that, we have paid special attention not only to the measures to save lives but to help economic recovery.

To inform our citizens, we set up a dedicated webpage with all relevant information and links.

We also launched a digital platform using artificial intelligence to advise people on the symptoms as well as the “Stop COVID-19” application, fully compliant with the EU regulation related to the privacy.

We will continue fighting COVID-19 together.

Thank you.