During his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on the world’s leaders to work together to address COVID-19, climate change and human rights.
He called the 2020s a “decisive decade.”
“We’ve lost so much to this devastating pandemic that continues to claim lives around the world and impact so much on our existence,” President Biden said.“We’re mourning more than 4.5 million people. People of every nation from every background.
“Each death is an individual heartbreak, but our shared grief is a poignant reminder that our collective future will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity and to act together,” he told world leaders attending the General Assembly’s 76th session.
He called on countries to tackle the threat of climate change and pointed to the world’s “ever-worsening droughts and floods, more intense fires and hurricanes, longer heatwaves and rising seas.”
He also called on nations to uphold the human rights principles that inspired the formation of the U.N. in 1945.
President Biden said the U.S. is focusing its attention on the pandemic, climate change, global power dynamics and global rules on trade, cyber and emerging technologies. He said the U.S. is “facing the threat of terrorism as it stands today.”
“We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan,” Mr. Biden said, noting the U.S. is using diplomacy and development aid to help people around the world.
Polls show Americans favoring the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, but at same time, being critical of how President Biden carried out that withdrawal.
During his U.N. address, the president noted the U.S. would focus on regions such as the Indo-Pacific area and will work with allies and partners such as the U.N. to tackle global challenges.
“To deliver for our own people, we must engage deeply with the rest of the world,” Mr. Biden said.
“Our security, our prosperity, and our very freedoms are interconnected, in my view, as never before,” he said. “And so, I believe we must work together as never before.”
Although he didn’t mention China by name, President Biden alluded to tensions with that nation by noting the U.S. “is not seeking a new Cold War.”
He stressed America’s support for Israel, but said the U.S. supports a two-state solution involving Israel and Palestine.