Cuba associates itself with the statements delivered by the distinguished delegations of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and by Belize on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States.
The COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented health, economic and social challenge, has highlighted the need for solidarity, cooperation and multilateralism as the only way to tackle the common challenges facing humankind and the planet.
Multilateralism and the role of the United Nations in promoting development have never been so relevant in an asymmetrically interconnected and interdependent world, which is facing growing challenges in the current multilateral order. In this regard, we reject the unilateral, protectionist and exclusionary actions of a few States, which defend strictly national interests and weaken and erode the existing multilateral framework and institutions, to the detriment of the necessarily global and collective solutions to the challenges facing humanity. We need a transparent, open, non-discriminatory and inclusive multilateral system.
Achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presupposes recognition of and respect for the diversity of approaches, views and models chosen by each people, taking into account their diverse circumstances, capacities and national priorities.
We are facing, however, another reality: the development gap that separates the North from the South continues to grow, exacerbated by structural differences in several areas which prevent many countries from reaching higher levels of development. Global problems such as poverty; inequality; chronic hunger; illiteracy; climate change; technological, capacity and opportunity gaps; unemployment and deaths from preventable and curable diseases, among others, are perpetuated. The resources to confront these problems exist; sadly, the political will to transform this reality has been lacking. The current pandemic has shown that this is also a crisis of development models, that the human being and society must be at the center, instead of any economic rationality and that we can only survive if we preserve and care for our planet.
Cuba reiterates the need and validity of tenets for a New International Economic Order, based on equity, sovereign equality, common benefit and cooperation among all States, which corrects current inequalities and guarantee fair economic and social development for present and future generations. Developing countries must achieve technological sovereignty, greater access to financing, investment, capacity-building, infrastructure and technology transfer.
We advocate a multidimensional methodology for classifying the level of development, in particular of middle-income countries, that goes beyond gross national income and per capita income levels and takes into account their special features and challenges. The level of income, as a classification criterion for access to development cooperation flows, is a limited and discriminatory approach.
Cuba rejects the application of unilateral coercive economic measures as a means of exerting political and economic pressure on developing countries, which are contrary to international law and the Charter of the United Nations and which impede the full realization of our rights, including the right to development, as well as the fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda.
My country is working for its development under the unjust and criminal blockade of the United States, intensified by the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act and the implementation of new measures this year, some of them in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of this, Cuba has made significant achievements in its economic and social development, thanks to the efforts of our people and the cooperation provided by sister nations in our region and across the world.
In the context of the global fight against COVID-19, Cuba aspires to globalize cooperation and solidarity, which is why, since last March, we have sent 46 medical brigades composed of more than 3,800 members to 39 countries and territories, to help, within our modest capabilities in the world fight against this pandemic, especially in southern countries. As a result, more than 255,000 people have been treated by Cuban doctors and over 8,000 lives been saved. Those Cuban health specialists add up to the 30,000 Cuban medical personnel members who were already deployed in 58 countries before the COVID-19 pandemic, as a long-standing commitment by Cuba and its people to South-South cooperation. In this sense, Cuba rejects the efforts to discredit the work of our medical brigades and their doctors, whose endeavors are internationally requested and recognized. These are times for solidarity, not for pettiness.
We have also shared medicines developed and produced by Cuba that, according to our proven practice, have been effective in the prevention and treatment of the disease. In addition, leading Cuban medical experts and institutions have continued to systematically share via teleconferences and webinars their best experiences, practices, and medical protocols with multiple countries from the South, as well as holding consultations and discussions on specific treatments for patients or groups of patients in several countries.
Cuba always reiterates its supreme commitment to equity, social justice and the full development of all peoples and of every human being.