H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, President
23 September 2008
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PAUL KAGAME, President of Rwanda, said the international community had gathered to reflect on major national, regional and global challenges and how all States could renew their commitment to finding solutions. In the context of fighting poverty and achieving the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals, there was greater stability and peace in Africa, particularly East Africa and Rwanda. In Rwanda, a healthy economic growth rate was apparent, due, in part, to an environment conducive to domestic and foreign investors. Deepening regional integration was essential for an even bigger and more dynamic market, he added.
With regard to empowering women and promoting their socio-economic and political participation, he pointed out that, during the most recent Rwandan parliamentary elections, women had increased their percentage in that body from 49 to 55. He said that this was a sign of healthy progress made towards realizing a vision of a united, democratic and prosperous Rwanda.
Turning to the issue of universal jurisdiction, he said that it was important that this tool was not misused by powerful nations to extend their jurisdiction over weaker countries. The United Nations had a duty to ensure that universal jurisdiction served its original goals of delivering justice and fairness.
He called climate change “one of the critical challenges of our time”, pointing out that Africa was being gravely affected, with deserts and dry zones continuing to expand. An over-reliance on wood was leading to severe deforestation. Unpredictable weather patterns combined with limited scientific and technological capacities were undermining Africa’s ability to effectively manage its water resources. He noted that, in Kigali earlier this month, at the Africa Climate Change Forum, attendees reaffirmed that the world urgently needed to “think global, but also act locally”, to translate words to actions. To this end, he said Rwanda was determined to intensify efforts in reforestation, terracing and irrigation, and called on the global community to act together to protect our planet in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol.
Turning to the Rwandan genocide, he called on Member States not to forget the process of comprehensively resolving the issue of those who committed genocide, as it was a process that had not yet been accomplished. He said Rwanda was ready to play a part in addressing this matter in the context of broader objectives for consolidating stability and peace on our continent.