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South Africa | General Assembly – General Assembly of the United Nations General Debate

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MATAMELA CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, President of South Africa, said that since much of humanity is confronted by war and conflict, by want and hunger, by disease and environmental disaster, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals seems increasingly remote.  “At the moment when every human effort should be directed towards the realization of 2030 Agenda, our attention and our energies have once again been diverted by the scourge of war,” he said, adding that South Africa has consistently advocated for dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy to prevent and end conflict and achieve lasting peace.  He mentioned his country’s participation in an African peace initiative, which seeks a peaceful resolution to the conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine, based on the UN Charter principle of respect for the territorial integrity of every country.  “As we confront other conflicts in several parts of the world, including on our continent Africa, we need to be investing in prevention and peacebuilding,” he stressed, urging the global community to be concerned by recent incidents of unconstitutional changes of Government in some parts of Africa.
Returning to global issues, he said that as long as the land of the Palestinians remains occupied and their rights are ignored, peace will remain elusive there because the actions of the Government of Israel have imperiled the possibility of a viable two-State solution.  He also called for lifting sanctions against Cuba and Zimbabwe.  “We call on our partners from wealthier countries to meet the financial commitments they have made.  It is a great concern that these wealthier countries have failed to meet their undertakings to mobilize $100 billion a year for developing economies to take climate action,” he underscored.  He called on tackling debt distress, scaling up affordable long-term financing to $500 billion a year and expanding contingency financing to countries in need.  “It is a grave indictment of this international community that we can spend so much on war, but we cannot support action that needs to be taken to meet the most basic needs of billions of people,” he said.
As he is accompanied in New York by an all-women national delegation, he stressed that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals depends fundamentally on the empowerment of women in all spheres of life. “We must pay particular attention to the provision of adequate health services to every woman, child and adolescent.  The empowerment of women must be central to the actions we now take towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda,” he said.  On climate change, he warned:  “Africa is warming faster than the rest of the world.”  Centuries after the end of the slave trade, decades after the end of the colonial exploitation of Africa’s resources, the people of Africa are once again bearing the cost of the industrialization and development of the wealthy nations of the world, he stated, urging greater efforts to accelerate global decarbonization.
Citing a renewed commitment to multilateralism, he said that now is the moment to proceed with the reform of the Security Council, enabling it to respond more effectively to current geopolitical realities.  “We are pleased that the Common African Position [on the Proposed Reform of the United Nations:  “The Ezulwini Consensus”] on the reform of the Security Council is increasingly enjoying wide support.  We must ensure that the voice of the African continent and the Global South is strengthened in the United Nations and broader multilateral system,” he emphasized, adding that all the peoples represented here in the Organization had their origins in Africa where tools and capabilities were developed to spread across the world.  “Despite its history, despite the legacy of exploitation and subjugation, despite the ongoing challenge of conflict and instability, Africa is determined to regain its position as a site of human progress,” he concluded.

The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, addressed the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, stating that while every human effort should be directed towards realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, “our energies have once again been diverted by the scourge of war.”
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