They said it: Leaders at the hybrid UN, in their own words

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Many leaders saying many things about many topics that matter to them, to their regions, to the world: That’s what the U.N. General Assembly invariably produces each year.

And each year, certain voices dominate. Here, The Associated Press takes the opposite approach and spotlights some thoughts — delivered in pre-recorded speeches or from the rostrum at the United Nations after a yearlong pandemic break — from leaders who might have not captured the headlines and airtime on Tuesday, the first day of the 2021 debate.


“The difference between 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees is a death sentence for the Maldives.”

— IBRAHIM MOHAMED SOLIH, president of Maldives


“Simply put, our common task is saving our planet. Previously, the Earth was whispering but now she is screaming that she cannot hold us any longer, that humankind is too heavy a burden to carry. Saving the planet is not a promise we make today for our successors to implement it later.”

— ZUZANA CAPUTOVA, president of Slovakia


“It is not just for climate that there is no Planet B. It is for everything.”

— MARCELO REBELO DE SOUSA, president of Portugal


“Africa does not need charity. … Africa needs constructive, win-win partnerships.”

— FELIX-ANTOINE TSHISEKEDI TSHILOMBO, president of Democratic Republic of the Congo


“When hail or frost strikes, Swiss winegrowers help each other, and they call on the insurance funds which they have paid into. When a crisis affects entire regions, or even the planet, solidarity must be global and solutions common.”

— GUY PARMELIN, president of Switzerland

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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