23th September 2020

Speech of Hungarian president János Áder at UN General Assembly’s virtual annual general debate (video message)

Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today marks a strange anniversary. This year, for the first time in the history of the UN we have to hold our regular annual session in a virtual setting.

All this because of a virus that – although invisible to the naked eye – has upended our lives completely. COVID-19 has changed the rules regulating our family, social relations and our work in an instant and has created a grave crisis.

Within a short period, the health crisis developed into an economic and later a social crisis. Businesses in bankruptcy, jobs lost, drastic restrictive measures and increasing sovereign debt. Who would have imagined this, say at the beginning of this year?

More and more people say that today’s situation is the prototype for the anthropocene era. Because by the beginning of the 21st century we humans have become the factor that exercises the biggest impact on changes to the planet. We have to brace ourselves – if we do not radically change our lifestyles – this crisis will be followed by other ones, which may be even more serious than COVID. Therefore today the most important question is, can we learn from the crisis and are we finally ready to do something in the areas, where we have known for a long time that there is a danger looming, where we have known what should be done and that any procrastination would only increase the risks and the costs.

Today we are as yet unable to defend ourselves against COVID efficiently. There is no drug, no vaccine. There are other areas of life as well, where we have known for years what should be done.


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