– As delivered –
Statement by H.E. Tijjani Muhammad Bande, President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
24 October 2019
Heads of State and Government,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I am here today to attend the 18th Non-Aligned Movement Summit (NAM).
I thank His Excellency, President Ilham Aliyev for superbly hosting it. I congratulate Azerbaijan on taking over the Chairmanship of the Movement from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and thank His Excellency, President Nicolas Maduro Moros for his leadership in the past three years.
The level of participation in this summit is evidence of the strong reverence that Member States continue to accord the Movement. I am confident that you will continue to sustain the momentum, build on the core values of NAM, and leverage the fact that it has 120 member states to ensure political consultations and cooperation that promote and strengthen international peace and security, as well as ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Both the United Nations and NAM aim to achieve International Peace and Security. The United Nations emerged in 1945 from a destructive World War, to “save future generation from the scourge of war”. NAM was formed in 1961, at the height of the Cold War, to achieve a world of peace and justice, with respect and solidarity, at the heart of cooperation and development.
The ideals emphasized by the United Nations, to guarantee peace, are the same that NAM stands for. This include the respect of fundamental human rights, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, non-intervention in the internal affairs of countries, equality of all races and nations, as well as the peaceful resolution of all international conflicts.
The aforementioned are part of the Bandung Principles and continue to be relevant today, as they are critical for the attainment of international peace and security, as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It is impossible to talk of the achievements of the United Nations, without mentioning the contribution of NAM, particularly the many ways the movement reinforces the principles of the Charter of the United Nations – through opposition against colonialism, racism, hegemony, aggression, as well as foreign intervention and/or occupation. The values the Movement bring to bear on the world, through the cooperation of its member states with the United Nations, cannot be taken for granted.
We need to work for the upholding of the Bandung Principles in addressing violent conflicts, terrorism, renewed nuclear and other armament threats, climate change and its repercussions. We must deepen multilateral cooperation to succeed in this important endeavor.
We must bear in mind that the end of the Cold War has not diminished the role of NAM in the international system and its members cannot rest on their oars. Today the major task is to ensure that the aforementioned challenges are tackled with the same fervor of NAM’s earlier years.
It is important to also remember that the reality of our world is that developing countries continue to suffer from the protracted crises from the era predating the NAM. They also suffer the most from the ravages of conflicts, wars and disregard for international law, fueled by geopolitics. For these reasons, it is important that NAM focus appropriately on issues of respect for human rights and justice, sustainable development, and democratization – as these align very well with the Bandung principles, as well as the Charter of the United Nations.
NAM must continue to be a voice of reason and moderation, and must never fail to work, within the framework of the UN Charter, for peace, stability, human progress and justice, even when it seems difficult.
NAM must continue to be a voice of reason and moderation, and must never fail to work, within the framework of the UN Charter, for peace, stability, human progress and justice, even when it seems difficult. It must thus, focus on the promotion of international peace and security, particularly as many crises around the world involve its Member States.
Excellencies, we must find urgent solutions to the many conflicts that are affecting NAM countries and other UN member states.
The Movement needs to work within the United Nations to strengthen the peace and security architecture, particularly making a priority of prevention. This also entails that drivers of conflict such as poverty, lack of access to education, inequality, and employment opportunities, must also be tackled head-on.
We must focus particularly on ensuring that youth, women and girls can effectively participate in society. We also have to make adequate provision for people with disabilities to function. Among other things, governments should facilitate and ensure that the girl child can get quality education.
It is important to consistently advocate for the creation of a mutually beneficial international economic space through the creation, development and diffusion of new innovations and technologies. This could be done within the framework of the South-South Cooperation.
If we will make appreciable progress, we must ensure the equal participation of women in the economic sector, as it is not smart to exclude half of the population from the productive sector. In communities that are in conflict, or recovering from conflict, it is important to include women in the reconciliation and peace building efforts.
Excellencies, the role your nations play within the United Nations is important and I look forward to your cooperation within the next year, as I work to achieve my priorities of poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion. These issues affect us all, even if in varying degrees.
We must also continue to work together on the Reform of the United Nations System – the General Assembly, ECOSOC, Secretariat and the Security Council. For the United Nations to be fit for purpose we must ensure that we continue to cooperate to ensure a reform that meets the realities of the 21st century.
The Organization is currently in the process of strengthening and revitalizing the work of the General Assembly – the main deliberative and normative body, responsible for setting the direction of the United Nations with the goal of making it the true parliament of nations. We will continue to focus on improving the way we do business. Three reform processes related to the reform of the Peace Architecture, Management Reform, as well as the repositioning of the United Nations Development System has already been delivered.
The Assembly will also engage in the next few weeks on the important process of review of the Economic and Social Council as well as the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development.
The Intergovernmental Negotiation on Security Council reform will also be convened and we are in the process of selecting co-facilitators. The current composition of the Council does not reflect the the realities of the 21st century, and we must ensure that the IGN process runs smoothly this year.
The 75th commemoration of the creation of the United Nations will be held next year and I urge that we utilize the opportunity to rededicate to the principles of the United Nations, as enumerated by its charter.
Without doubt, the continued upholding of the NAM principles will mean that NAM members, show solidarity, friendly resolution of differences, and a determination to never engage in bitter rivalries; but instead prioritize cooperation, mutual interest and respect. Member States of the Movement must continue to rally themselves to ensure that they are better able to deal with challenges that confront them.
This is my respectful charge for you as the Movement begin another phase of its existence under the leadership of Azerbaijan. I wish you all fruitful discussions, Excellencies.
I thank you.