22 September 2016 – Recalling that over the past year, the United Nations concluded landmark agreements on sustainable development and climate change, and renewed its commitment to work together to combat violent extremism, Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda, told the General Assembly today that these are the most serious issues before the international community “and our efforts offer the prospect of transforming our world as a whole, rather than just part of it.”
“After all, the progress of one country was closely linked to the progress of every other, and we all have a role to play,” told the Assembly’s annual general debate, adding: “Now is the time for implementation.”
The international community could stay on course if it recognized that the ultimate purpose of all these efforts is to transform the lives of real people by enhancing their well-being, safety, and access to opportunity. Member States should also realize the importance on building on lessons learned, especially ensuring that such goals and targets are inclusive, particularly of women. “If they are not reaching their potential then none of us are,” President Kagame said, expressing pride that he has joined the HeForShe campaign and encouraged others to support it.
He went on to stress that access to technology must be part of the strategy for achieving all the global goals, he said. Everyone in the world needs access to high speed Internet. Rwanda has seen the importance of forging meaningful partnerships with the private sector to improve the speed and scale of delivery. Rwanda was pleased to host the new Sustainable Development Government Centre for Africa.
Real continuity between the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the other frameworks that guides the international community’s collective action is necessary, he stressed. “These agreements are not slogans or fashions, but hard-won statements of global consensus,” he added.
Next month, more than 1,000 delegates would gather in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to consider a ground-breaking amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Already one of the most successful international agreements, the 30-year old Montreal Protocol now affords the international community the opportunity to take a significant step forward in implementing the one-year-old Paris Agreement on climate change. Rwanda urged all Member States to join it in passing those important measures.
“The world is changing for the better,” he continued. The preservation of international peace and security depends on maintaining a shared vision of the desired outcomes for the world. This accounts for the continued relevance and durability of the UN. The international community’s collective responsibility for the rights and welfare of refugees and immigrants needed to be seen in that light, and the issue needed to be addressed with consistency and compassion at all times.
- Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session.