The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the “crucial role” of the UN, according to Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, the veteran Turkish diplomat who is slated to lead the historic 75th session of the General Assembly in September.

Outlining his priorities as president of the world’s foremost multilateral forum during a virtual interactive dialogue with UN member states held on Friday, Bozkir said “build back better” should be UN’s motto in tackling the post-pandemic problems.

He stressed that the fight to defeat COVID-19 should not result in stigmatization, inequality, or injustice.

“A world free of COVID-19 will require the most extensive public health and social recovery effort all over the world. Build back better should be our motto,” he said.

Urging solidarity and cooperation in line with UN-led initiatives, he said the world will “outlive this menace” and come out stronger.

The ambassador also called for the world’s least developed countries, landlocked developing nations and small island developing states to remain a top global priority.

“The needs of the African countries and their special circumstances, including the 2063 Agenda, will continue to receive your attention,” he added, referring to the African Union’s blueprint to transform the continent.

Bozkir, who has served with Turkey’s foreign service for nearly 40 years, is the sole candidate for the presidency of the body that brings together all 193 UN member states.

He will assume this prestigious position as a candidate for the first time from Turkey and at a period when the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2020.

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