21 September 2016 Addressing the United Nations General Assembly today, the President of Zimbabwe underscored that compromises or half-measures, which were unavoidable, even inevitable, in developing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, have no place in its implementation phase.
“We need sincere, genuine and total commitment by all to the implementation of this Agenda if it is not to join many other previous well-crafted global agendas that ended in failure and non-delivery,” Robert Mugabe stressed in his address.
“We hope that this time around, this agenda will meet a better fate,” he added, noting that he was encouraged to see steps being taken at various levels over the last year to implement the 2030 Agenda as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development.
Regarding implementation of the global development agenda at the national level, Mr. Mugabe reported that the vision and aspirations of his country’s national development programme, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation is “basically the same” as the global one.
He said, however, that the biggest impediment the country faces to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda is “the burden of the punitive and heinous sanctions imposed” on the Zimbabwe.
Noting that Zimbabwe has had sanctions imposed on it by the United States and other Western countries for some 16 years, he said: “As a country, we are being collectively punished for exercising the one primordial principle enshrined in the UN Charter, that of sovereign independence,” and added that Zimbabwe is being punished for doing “what all other nations do, that is, responding to and looking after the basic interests of our people.”
Underscoring that everyone must be bound by their commitments to 2030 Agenda, President Mugabe called on the United Kingdom, the United States and their allies to “remove the illegal and unjustified sanctions against my country and its people.”
He also said that under the principles of the UN Charter, the Organization is duty bound to work to ensure full realization of the rights of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.
Further, commending efforts to make the selection process of the next UN Secretary-General inclusive and transparent, the President, however, said that the greater involvement of the General Assembly does not mask the “opaqueness” of the process at the Security Council, and that despite numerous appeals for reform of that 15-member body, there has been no progress.
Concluding his remarks, Mr. Mugabe applauded the leadership of current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in mobilizing the entire UN system as well as international community to partner with Africa in stopping and rolling back the Ebola epidemic that claimed thousands of lives and undermined socio-economic development in the continent.
In his remarks, President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique told the Assembly that realization of Agenda 2030 required a collective commitment to strengthening multilateral institutions from all concerned.
“For this purpose we continue to defend the important need for: reforming the United Nations, in general, and the Security Council in particular; adjusting the architecture of international financial institutions within the Addis Ababa Action Agenda; and furthering cooperation between the United Nations and Regional Economic Organisations, particularly for the prevention and resolution of conflicts,” he said.
Many African states propose that the 15-member Council, where the five permanent members have veto powers, be expanded to include permanent members representing their continent.
“We are also looking forward to materializing the desired reforms of the United Nations in order to make this organization more democratic and more representative and at the service of all nations and peoples of the world,” Mr. Nyusi said.
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