DR Congo President calls for altruism in new global push for sustainable development

Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. UN Photo/Ryan Brown

25 September 2013 – President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) warned today that the selfishness of some States could threaten efforts to set a new sustainable development agenda for the decades ahead.

“At a time when the question of post-2015 development is high on the agenda, the international community is more and more marked by the failure of certain of its members to respect the fundamental principles of international relations, the persistent selfishness of some States and the convulsions of the world economy,” he told the General Assembly on the second day of its annual General Debate.

“The consequences that this entails are multiple. They range from attacks against peace to murderous conflicts, from a globalization that is essentially fuelled by the unbridled pursuit of profit to the exacerbation of poverty.”

President Kabila is one many leaders addressing the annual Assembly session at which heads of State and Government and other high-level officials will present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance. The Debate will conclude on 1 October.

The theme of this year’s 68th Assembly is the post-2015 development agenda, aimed at drawing up an even more ambitious blueprint to totally eliminate poverty and its attendant ills in the decades following the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cycle.

The eight (MDGs), adopted at the 2000 UN summit, aim to slash extreme hunger and poverty, boost access to health care and education, achieve gender equality and environmental stability, and reduce maternal and child mortality and the incidence of HIV/AIDS, all by the end of 2015.

“The new programme that we are called upon to set up must be universal, ambitious, capable of responding to the immense challenges that humankind confronts, and able to engender positive transformations on the basis of the principle of shared and differentiated responsibilities,” Mr. Kabila said, stressing the importance of engaging women, youth and civil society in the process.

“In this context, I hope that the proposals coming out of this session will embody our common desire to prioritize the economic, social and environmental dimension of sustainable development. These proposals must cover local, national and regional development programmes. They must also fuel a bold international cooperation and reflect the will of each of our States to contribute to peace and international security.”

Turning to his own vast country, where violence still continues in the east despite the efforts of UN peacekeepers to bring stability over the past 13 years, Mr. Kabila noted the irony that part of the problem stemmed from the DRC’s willingness to accept refugees in the wake of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

Without peace, sustainable development in the DRC remained “only hypothetical,” he said noting that the eastern region, particularly in and around the flashpoint city of Goma, has seen little respite from fighting since the peacekeepers helped bring relative stability and elections to much of the rest of the country following vicious civil wars. Mr. Kabila thanked the UN, regional African organizations and the European Union for their aid and support. He pledged his country’s full support to the recently agreed regional accord, formally known as the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region.


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