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Biden at U.N.: Partnering for a freer, more just world
September 26, 2022

A man in a suit speaks at a podium with the United Nations seal
President Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly September 21. (© Mary Altaffer/AP Images

By Dave Reynolds

The United States is embarking on an “era of relentless diplomacy,” working with international partners to tackle global challenges that affect people’s lives, President Biden said September 21.

In a speech to the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York, Biden said the United States will work with any nation — including competitors — to solve global problems like climate change, global health and food insecurity.

“The United States will be unabashed in promoting our vision of a free, open, secure, and prosperous world,” Biden said, noting the United States will offer investments to help other countries reduce burdens and improve self-sufficiency.

In a wide-ranging address, Biden described how the United States and its partners are addressing global challenges. He also committed to strengthening democracy at home and abroad, calling it “humanity’s greatest instrument to address the challenges of our time.”

Standing with Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutal, needless war” against Ukraine violated the the clear intent of the U.N. Charter, Biden said. He commended the 141 nations in the General Assembly that voted to condemn Putin’s war, adding that the United States and dozens of other countries have provided aid to Ukraine.

A man in a protective suit walks among white body bags in a forest
Ukrainian authorities say they have discovered a mass burial site near the recaptured city of Izyum, where body bags are seen September 16. (© Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Images)

“Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation,” the president said. “We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine. We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression. Period.”

Biden said the United States is working with partners to deter and hold Russia accountable for atrocities and war crimes in Ukraine. And he urged member states to remain unwavering in their commitment to uphold the U.N. Charter, under which Ukraine has the same rights as any other sovereign nation.

Investing in climate solutions

The United States is tackling the climate crisis by investing in solutions at home, implementing commitments made at COP26 and aligning U.S. goals with the Paris Agreement target to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“We all know we’re already living in a climate crisis,” Biden said. He noted he recently signed a law that would provide billions to fight climate change. Investments in clean energy and other steps under the law will reduce U.S. emissions by 1 gigaton a year by 2030, Biden said.

The Biden administration also is working with the U.S. Congress to bring more than $11 billion per year to international climate financing to help lower-income countries meet their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition, he said.

A critical component of this plan is the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience, which will help half a billion people manage and adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis. The PREPARE Action Plan outlines the steps needed to achieve that goal and key areas where the United States will partner to catalyze adaptation action, he said.

Strengthening global health, food security

Working with international partners, the United States has donated more than 620 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to other countries. Biden noted that the United States and other countries helped establish a new pandemic preparedness response fund with the World Bank and World Health Organization.

Biden also said the U.S. would pledge up to $6 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at a U.N. funding drive just hours after his speech.

Russia’s war against Ukraine, the climate crisis and COVID-19 have contributed to food shortages that have left as many as 193 million people facing acute food insecurity worldwide, Biden said. “If parents cannot feed their children,” he added, “nothing else matters.”

People gathered around grain piled on the ground in front of them
U.S. Feed the Future promotes use of high-iron beans, seen here in Bugesera, Rwanda. The nutritious, climate-resilient bean is ideal for sustainable food systems. (Herve Irankunda/CNFA/USAID)

The U.S. is the largest donor to the U.N.’s World Food Programme, contributing 40% of its budget, Biden said.

He also announced $2.9 billion in new humanitarian and development assistance from the U.S. government to address global food insecurity. That new funding builds on the $6.9 billion the U.S. government has provided to support global food security already committed this year.

The president noted that the United States is working with partners in Africa, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific to advance economic growth and promote opportunity.

“The challenges we face today are great indeed,” Biden said, adding that countries committed to working together have an even greater capacity to address those challenges.

“We still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children,” he said.