Speech by the Vice President of the Republic and Minister of the Presidency José Gabriel Carrizo Jaén at the 77th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN)
First of all, I thank God and the Virgin Mary, who allow us to be gathered here asking them to illuminate the work of this plenary session.
I convey to you the greetings of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, who has delegated in my person the representation of our country before this General Assembly.
Likewise, our country adheres with conviction to the fundamental issues proposed for this session of the General Assembly.
We share the view that, in order to overcome the global health crisis and advance in the reality of the transition to the post-pandemic, we must promote creative solutions, share a greater degree of solidarity and encourage science as a fundamental ally, in the face of the challenges that humanity ahead.
The transformations that are required require the tools of knowledge, research and education, especially in nations with high levels of poverty, where millions continue without options for a decent life.
Too many continue to starve, while others suffer from indigestion.
It is a selfish act to concentrate and not share knowledge.
The current government of the Republic of Panama has been in charge of the country for 38 months, thirty of them in a pandemic.
There has been no other administration in the history of Panama that has faced such complex challenges.
Given this, we concentrate our efforts on saving lives, avoiding the collapse of the health system and maintaining social peace.
Two and a half years later, we are at the threshold of recovering from the damage caused by the global health crisis and we continue to move forward. In this matter we can show the world exceptional results.
Our National Strategic Plan is conceived with this criterion: fight against the causes that generate poverty and inequality.
We assume the leadership of the government with the commitment to lay the foundations for profound transformations.
It is true that we are a country with robust growth, yes! , but with an unacceptable inequity.
Faced with this reality, we are in a tenacious and relentless fight.
The purpose of our management is to lay the pillars of a fairer country, consolidate democracy and strengthen the independence of justice.
For the first time in the history of our country, the president, as head of the Executive, dispensed with his prerogative of unilaterally appointing the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice and established an independent evaluation system based on professional merit.
For the first time in the history of our country, the majority of the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice are women and none of its members have any relationship, link or subordination with the President of the Republic.
In Panama, as in the rest of the world, we had to face the pandemic. Protecting human life, especially that of the most vulnerable, was the inalienable mission.
We display creativity and innovation to develop technological instruments that allow direct care, access and equity at the service of the population.
We transform the national identity document into a resource transfer instrument, a true free debit card.
We were the first in the continent to implement a centralized traceability and monitoring system for communicable diseases. Each infected person is registered in the epidemiological surveillance system at the national level and in real time.
We avoid the disruption of our students’ learning process during the confinement period, using the Ester computer platform, a resilient educational transformation strategy.
We guarantee free internet access to the vast majority of the student population, including remote communities.
The Medicapp platform is under development, an innovative digital inventory that informs citizens about the existence of medicines, points of sale and comparative prices in real time.
We offer to share with the international community these experiences and advances that have been recognized by international organizations, including the United Nations.
I fully share with our President Cortizo Cohen, the conviction that dialogue, citizen participation and consensus build social peace.
Citing an example:
In the midst of the rigor of the pandemic, we promoted the initiative that we call the Bicentennial Pact “Closing gaps”, conceived as the meeting point of Panamanian society, to outline the country that it wants to project into the future.
A country with common welfare, prosperous, safe and at peace.
186 thousand 182 proposals were presented freely as possible solutions to problems felt by the population. From this broad consultation, national agreements emerged that respond to the true concerns of the Panamanian people and transcend the periods of government.
The destabilization of fuel prices also generated demonstrations and protests in Panama, fundamentally due to the rise in the cost of food, medicine and gasoline.
Instead of confrontation, Panama opted for dialogue.
In our country, we did not have to mourn a single fatality during these protests.
Our style of government has allowed agreements and consensus on the needs most felt by the population. The National Government has articulated specific provisions and measures. And – it is very important to point out – we have been able to guarantee social peace.
In the global context, dialogue is the only way to reduce space for extremism.
An affordable medicine is the difference between life and death.
President Cortizo Cohen, with courage and political will, has decided to confront this situation. For this purpose, he instructed me to form and coordinate the national drug commission, in order to achieve the supply of medicines for our population, with much lower prices than the current ones.
The pharmaceutical industry, production, supply and distribution of medicines in the world, is supposedly an ally of health; however, we see with concern that millions of people cannot access medicines.
The situation has become a mercantile and petty act. The oligopolies obtain disproportionate profits from the medicines they distribute and sell to states and individuals.
Such a system, which shames humanity, cannot continue.
It is everyone’s responsibility, and its global implications must be examined and addressed, so that access to medicine is valued as a human right and not as an expensive luxury commodity.
Panama proposes before this General Assembly, the adoption of a global initiative that resolves the excessive price and the lack of access to medicines for the citizens of the world.
Panama is, in fact, a transit country for irregular migration. Thousands cross the Darien jungle daily, on the border with Colombia.
A dangerous and hostile journey where they risk their lives, get sick and die.
It is not just a migration in transit. This situation includes and also hides criminal organizations that are dedicated to the nefarious business of human trafficking.
Our government has adopted a State policy to care for and help migrants, with a high sense of humanity and solidarity.
We emphasize: the possible solutions to this painful and unfortunate situation include the countries of origin, in which poverty and social marginalization determine irregular migration, as well as those of us who are recipients of this transit, and especially the countries of destiny.
Our government believes that the current development model must be transformed. This means including the value of biodiversity, seeking healthy and sustainable ecosystems.
Panama is one of the three countries in the world declared carbon negative. 35% of our national territory and 30.5% of our seas are declared as protected natural areas.
More than 80% of our electricity generation comes from renewable sources. Only in July of this 2022, we achieved a new historical record, 95% of clean energy generated to feed our national matrix.
We are the eighth country in the world in clean energy generation.
President Cortizo Cohen’s energy transition agenda has consolidated Panama’s world leadership in the fight against climate change.
Panamanians have a historical awareness of the value of our geographical position, determined by the presence of the Panama Canal and the role it plays in the world economy. We are a country with a vocation for the protection of natural resources.
Criticism from youth about the succession of forums, summits and declarations on climate change and the preservation of the environment and natural resources, which occur in the midst of the uncontrollable increase in emissions, deforestation and pollution, is harshly raised. of water, aquifers, rivers and oceans.
How can we gain the trust of the new generations, while the planet where we live is being decimated, before their eyes, and our descendants will have to live?
How many more lives must be lost? How many more natural disasters must occur?
I wonder when they are going to stop the ecocide?
To the large gas emitters, to those who promote deforestation, to those who pour chemicals that pollute and kill, we remind you, it is about the survival of the earth and the species that inhabit it.
Panama poses today before this Forum of Nations: the time has come for the world to have an international body that demands responsibility from all those who cause damage to the planet.
The future depends on every decision we make now.
Wrong course and then try to correct, is no longer viable.
The path of conflict and war leads to more calamities and disasters. It is the wrong path.
Panama, by geography, ethnic and cultural plurality, is an open country with convergences.
Panamanians, in one of the main maritime shortcuts in the world, in the center of the American continent, are always ready to serve humanity, as we have done for centuries.
Today, before this General Assembly, we want to express with determination to the world, that it counts and will always count on Panama.
These times, changed our time. The world that was, is no longer.
We have before us the construction of another world. A better world, with answers to ensure human health and life on this planet, which is our home. A world with more solidarity and peace.
We have to do it.
We will always be much stronger together.
Thank you very much