Ecuador: “We are aware of the enormous responsibility to protect the Galapagos”

Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno Garcés addresses the General Assembly in a video message.

23 September 2020
UN and Secretary General

The president of the South American country reiterated before the General Assembly that he will make Ecuador’s maritime rights over the exclusive economic zone of the islands, a Natural Heritage of Humanity, prevail. He also referred to the threats that COVID-19 poses to economic and social stability, and stressed the need for multilateralism and cooperation.

On Wednesday, the president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, made a call to respect environmental agreements and for countries that fish in the waters of the Southeast Pacific to self-regulate and limit their activities.

In a video speech destined for the second day of debate of the 75th UN General Assembly, Moreno reiterated his concern about the presence of a large extracting fishing fleet very close to the Galapagos Islands, which has been operating since May 2020.

“We have reiterated that without distinction of flag we will prevail our maritime rights over the exclusive economic zone. We are aware of the enormous responsibility of protecting the Galapagos, which has been the first Natural Heritage of Humanity ”, he stated.

Moreno added that, together with the countries of the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, it condemns illegal fishing in areas adjacent to the waters of their territories.

“We also agreed to strengthen the exchange of information on the location of vessels , to improve monitoring and surveillance. Ecuador thus reaffirms its commitment to conserve the marine environment,” he said.

The president reported that on August 11, Ecuador joined the “Global Alliance for the Ocean.” The initiative, led by the United Kingdom, aims for 30% of the world’s oceans to be declared marine protected areas.

“The lack of application of environmental agreements has serious, very serious economic and social repercussions,” he said.

He added that his country is also committed to the conservation of the Amazon and that it recently joined the Leticia Declaration and the Financing Initiative for Sustainable Development and Bioeconomy for the Amazon.

 With the creation of the multi-donor fund, administered by the Inter-American Development Bank, significant resources will be allocated to conserve this lung of the planet and to improve the quality of life of indigenous peoples,” he explained.

Multilateralism amid the pandemic

In his speech during the general debate, Moreno considered that the COVID-19 pandemic has put all the pressure on multilateralism since, after six months, the emergency is not only health, but also social and economic.

“Without exception, all countries have been hit by this deadly virus . We will not be able to save lives and reactivate the economy without the support of multilateral organizations, the support of private companies, the academic community and society as a whole,” he said.

He asserted that the support of international financial organizations has been fundamental in these months for Ecuador and therefore applauded the pronouncements in favor of a multilateral response to face the crisis.

Moreno called for the debt moratorium proposals for the poorest countries to be extended to middle-income countries.

“All nations face serious economic problems,” he said.

Support for the most vulnerable

Moreno recalled that the pandemic has affected everyone, but stressed that its impact has been especially serious among vulnerable groups.

“Confinement, lack of employment and poverty, added to COVID, have exacerbated gender violence. Women, girls and boys have had to stay in their homes with their aggressors, putting their physical and mental safety at risk. And sometimes even their lives! ”, he asserted.

He added that older adults and people with disabilities also suffer disproportionately from the crisis due to their increased risk of contagion.

“In Ecuador we have provided protection bonds, technical aids for mobility and self-care and, in many cases, decent housing at no cost,” he said.

The president also recognized the vulnerability of indigenous peoples and asked to provide them with priority and appropriate attention to their realities, as well as guaranteeing them access to medicines and vaccines.

“Migrants have also been doubly affected by the pandemic. And, as a host country, we seek to guarantee the exercise of their rights with a humanitarian response. We will continue to decisively support the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, as well as the full implementation of the Quito Declaration on human mobility of Venezuelan citizens in the region, ”he said.

Stop the fire

Moreno affirmed that in the face of new challenges, the solution lies in unity and peace, not in dispute, and recalled the call of the UN Secretary General for a ceasefire in the world.

“We trust that this call, and the Security Council resolution , will serve as a first step to achieve definitive and sustainable peace in all corners of the planet. Today, our obligation is to join forces and fight the pandemic . For now, that is our common enemy! ”He emphasized.

The president said that the peoples now require cooperation to face the challenges of the post-COVID-19 stage.

“Only united can we win this cruel war, a cruel war that has already claimed the lives of almost a million people,” he concluded.

Ecuador: Full speech by President Lenin Moreno Garcés at the 2020 General Assembly

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