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South African President Calls for Global Unity and Peace at UN General Assembly

BY ALEX BALUKU

UNITED NATIONS, September 19, 2023 – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a compelling address at the United Nations General Assembly, emphasizing the imperative of leaving no one behind and redirecting global energies towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. President Ramaphosa acknowledged humanity’s resilience, adaptability, and compassion throughout history but lamented the diversion of efforts caused by ongoing conflicts.

Global Solidarity for Peace

In his speech, President Ramaphosa called for concerted global action to end wars and conflicts that have plagued nations worldwide. He emphasized that these qualities of resilience, innovation, and solidarity should manifest themselves in global efforts to promote peace and put an end to the scourge of war. President Ramaphosa urged the international community to invest in conflict prevention and peacebuilding while supporting Secretary-General António Guterres’ appeal for sustainable and predictable financing for these endeavors.

The South African President also expressed concern about unconstitutional changes of government in parts of Africa, underlining the necessity of collaboration with the African Union to support peace initiatives across the continent.

Empowering Women and Gender Equality

President Ramaphosa stressed the importance of empowering women and advocating for gender equality. He highlighted the need for equal access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities for women. Drawing attention to South Africa’s own example, where women represent 50 percent of the cabinet, he called for greater female representation on the global stage. President Ramaphosa’s delegation at the General Assembly comprised an all-women team, reinforcing his commitment to gender equality.

Climate Change and Africa’s Burden

The South African leader also addressed the pressing issue of climate change. He pointed out that 17 of the world’s “climate hotspots” are located in Africa and voiced concern over the disproportionate impact on the continent. Despite Africa’s minimal contribution to climate damage, it bears the greatest burden. President Ramaphosa called on world leaders to accelerate decarbonization efforts while pursuing shared prosperity.

Reforming International Institutions

In his address, President Ramaphosa emphasized the need for inclusive, democratic, and representative international institutions. He referenced the recent BRICS summit held in Johannesburg, where South Africa, alongside Russia, India, and China, reaffirmed the call for reforming the UN Security Council to ensure broader representation. The President’s stance echoed the global demand for a more inclusive and equitable global governance system.

A Call for a Peaceful and Sustainable Future

President Cyril Ramaphosa concluded his remarks by urging all nations to demonstrate the will and resolve to secure a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future for the world. He emphasized the duty to leave no one behind, echoing the promise made by the international community with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015.

President Ramaphosa’s address served as a poignant reminder of the global challenges that require immediate attention and collective action. It highlighted the imperative of working together to achieve peace, gender equality, climate action, and international reform to create a better world for present and future generations. Further details on the outcomes of the UN General Assembly will be reported in subsequent updates.

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