President of the United Nations General Assembly, Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, on Thursday highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic was strengthening friendships.
Muhammad Bande, who is the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, spoke at a virtual event to mark this year’s International Day of Friendship.
“Friendships have been forged or deepened, as a result of the pandemic.
“People who now work from home have become friends with neighbours with whom they had previously only shared a wave.
“Intergenerational friendships have blossomed as younger neighbours run errands such as grocery shopping for those in need,” he said.
The UNGA president said the world had also witnessed the “power of friendship” among member states in response to the pandemic.
According to him, the UN is united in its efforts to protect the people it serves from the virus, and to support those hit by its negative socio-economic effects.
“It is fitting that the General Assembly observes the International Day of Friendship as both friendship and multilateralism are based upon respect and dialogue.
“Aligned with the values enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, friendship aspires to prevent conflict, promote peace and uphold the inherent dignity of every person.
“Friendships founded upon intercultural and interfaith dialogue in particular transcend boundaries, religion and cultural divides to seed harmony between and among communities.
“These connections have the capacity to advance inclusion, tolerance and understanding and lay the foundation of peace,” he said.
However, Muhammad Bande reminded member states of their pledge to leave no one behind in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“In order to limit in-person interactions, we have sought out innovative methods to express our friendship.
“Many have leveraged technology such as this platform we are using here today, while sadly others are still unable to do so due to certain realities.
“Some have adopted more traditional methods of socially distanced communication highlighting the burgeoning digital divide, which requires urgent attention if we are to leave no one behind.
“In order to achieve our Goals by 2030, we will need to partner with all stakeholders and to promote cooperation and friendship throughout all of our work,” he said.