Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra delivered a virtual speech at the Plenary Meeting of the 75th United Nations General Assembly currently underway in New York City.
The Head of State started by paying tribute to the victims of the novel coronavirus.
"In these difficult circumstances for mankind, allow me to extend, on behalf of the people and the Government of Peru, our full solidarity and our sympathies to those who —as a result of COVID-19— have lost loved ones, family members, friends, colleagues, and to those who are on the front line and have given everything, even their own lives: doctors, nurses, politicians, and soldiers," he expressed.
"I also pay tribute and express thanks to those who continue to fight every day, far from their families, in order to save lives at the risk of losing their own. We reaffirm our commitment to continue undaunted in our joint efforts to wage war against this unprecedented health crisis," he added.
The statesman acknowledged the seriousness and the magnitude of the pandemic, as well as the unfamiliar and highly contagious nature of COVID-19.
"No one is safe unless we are all safe. Therefore, we encourage everyone to join us in this struggle as we work together effectively recognizing that a vaccine and a treatment for this virus are global public goods, as well as guaranteeing timely and fair access to necessary medications and equipment to tackle the pandemic," he said.
In this sense, the leader mentioned that it is urgent to achieve global agreements on these basic goals because "these will strengthen the underpinning of the multilateral system and ensure compliance with our commitment, which we adopted in 2015 to leave no one behind."
"We had to combat corruption rings in defense of democratic governance, and now we are fighting the unexpected and devastating COVID-19 pandemic," he noted.
Being aware of the social gaps and the historic weaknesses in the healthcare system, the President said his "administration was one of the first in the region to adopt strong measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. These measures have saved thousands of lives despite the very high and painful death rates and contagion rates."
Therefore, "we are now able to reverse decades of backsliding in our infrastructure and investment in public health. We have done our utmost to contain the illness and —at the same time— we are strengthening our response capacity. Six months after taking on this struggle, the contagion figures and death figures due to COVID-19 are beginning to drop sharply in Peru, and we are firmly committed in Peru that we will continue with these actions to the very end."
President Vizcarra underlined that "we are waging an all-out war against the scourge of corruption, with a series of national reforms to transform institutions that need change."
"In support of these efforts, and given the nature of this scourge, it is through our strong conviction that we —along with the Heads of State and Governments in the hemisphere— adopted the Lima Commitment at the Summit of the Americas in 2018 in order to ensure democratic governance against corruption, as well as to increase our obligations and strengthen cooperation in our continent," he said.
Similarly, the top official underlined that Peru —along with Colombia and other friendly countries— have called for a Special General Assembly of the United Nations to Combat Corruption, which will be held in June 2021.
In this sense, "we hope that a clear and action-oriented political statement will be adopted, which will make international judicial assistance and cooperation even more affective."
"We are facing corruption, which involves considerable assets, and we encourage anti-corruption legislation in both the private sector and among legal entities, among other measures," he indicated.
Likewise, Mr. Vizcarra recalled that he had become President of the Republic two and a half years ago supported by the Constitution and following the resignation of his predecessor Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Within this framework, the leader mentioned that —during this time in office— the Peruvian people and his administration together have faced a number of critical situations.
Therefore, he said his administration's response has been built "on a constitutional basis strictly abiding by the law and fundamental rules, as well as acknowledging the sense of urgency (…)."
Furthermore, the top official mentioned that —under a commitment to the rule of law— general elections will be held in April 2021, adding that he will end his time in office —in accordance with the Constitution— by handing over the office to his successor on July 28, 2021, the day on which Peru will celebrate its Independence Bicentennial.
Moreover, Mr. Vizcarra mentioned that the lessons learned throughout this crisis have led his government to convene the Peru Pact —a democratic form for reflection within the National Agreement in order to generate consensus among politicians and citizens.
He explained that said pact focuses on 5 specific issues to promote a renewed agenda for governance as the nation heads into the Bicentennial. They are: Building a unified healthcare system, guaranteeing quality education, boosting economic growth, reforming the justice administration system, as well as combating poverty and extreme poverty.
The Head of State acknowledged that —despite the macroeconomic strength of Peru— the pandemic has shown inequalities and structural weaknesses in the informal sector.
As a response, he said his administration is implementing the greatest recovery and support plan in the history of the Republic, adding that it is one of the greatest plans in the region.
"We have investment equaling 20% of our GDP: the plan includes subsidies, liquidity measures, tax relief to support family consumption, as well as to keep people employed and ensure a constant payment chain. This will benefit 8.5 million household and more than 700,000 businesses, 90% of which are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises," he underlined.
The Government has also designed measures for public spending in order to carry out projects to generate and recover one million jobs. "Similarly, we are speeding up our infrastructure projects through contract modalities from government to government."
"We have taken these decisive measures to counter COVID-19, and they will be the underpinning of our rapid and secure recovery. We believe that an increase in GDP in 2021 will be 10%, and by 2022 we will reach levels that we had prior to the pandemic," he underlined.
As we face this crisis, the 2030 Agenda remains the roadmap that should guide the nation's decisions to meet these challenges that have been even more complex due to the pandemic, he said.