United Nations Foundation President and CEO Elizabeth Cousens issued the following statement on the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris:
“The United Nations Foundation congratulates President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their inauguration as the 46th President and Vice President of the United States. In a hard-fought milestone, a woman, Black American, and person of South Asian descent holds for the first time the second highest office in the nation.
“Today’s transfer of power has taken place as America’s democratic institutions have been put to their greatest test in over 150 years. Recent weeks have seen an abhorrent crescendo of violence fueled by racism, hate, and reckless disregard of America’s most cherished values and institutions. The inherent fragility and imperfections of democracy have been cast into sharp relief, even as the country’s institutions have prevailed.
“President Biden and Vice President Harris take office with a pressing domestic agenda and intensifying global challenges that will need urgent and sustained attention starting on day one of the new Administration.
“Chief among these is the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases continue to surge at home and abroad, with already-marginalized communities bearing the brunt. We commend the incoming Administration’s determination to put equity at the heart of its response – including when it comes to the global rollout of vaccines, treatments, and tests. We also face an acute climate crisis that threatens health, jobs, and futures the world over. We are heartened by the new Administration’s commitment to reinvigorated climate leadership to create the good jobs of the future and avert drastic impacts that are already harming communities in the U.S. and around the world. Every day we are also reminded of the stubborn hold of racism and inequality that must be rooted out urgently once and for all, starting with an Administration that reflects the diverse strengths of the country.
“Tackling global problems that are shared by nations around the world must start by restoring America’s leadership and credibility on the international stage – including at the United Nations. The Biden Administration can start with an unshakeable commitment to work with allies and partners and reinvest in critical international institutions such as the Paris Agreement, World Health Organization, United Nations Population Fund, and others. That will be welcomed by the majority of Americans who continue to believe that global cooperation serves U.S. values and interests, and that global cooperation is greatly strengthened by active and sustained U.S. leadership.
“The UN Foundation stands ready to support and assist the Biden-Harris Administration in its most urgent tasks. Today’s historic inauguration must usher in a new era of American leadership at home and abroad, mindful that our democracy remains a work in progress, humble about the challenges we face, while determined to overcome them with integrity, perseverance, and resolve.”