19 September 2017

Cameroon: Peculiarity of the Ongoing Session

While it is the first for leaders of some great nations, the outcome is hoped to be that which can better surmount global challenges.

The ongoing 72nd Ordinary General Assembly of the United Nations in the UN headquarters here in New York is unlike others in the past. Besides deliberations that are focusing on global concerns of the moment that touch most, if not all, continents and countries, leaders of some great and friendly countries of Cameroon are taking part in such sessions for the first time in their respective capacities. It is the first time Antonio Guterres is chairing the session as UN Secretary General. Elected Secretary-General at the end of 2016, Mr Guterres officially took office on January 1, 2017 replacing South Korea's Ban Ki-moon. The new UN Secretary-General is not a new person to Cameroon. He visited the country in March 2015 in his capacity as the then United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and was received on behalf of the Head of State, Paul Biya, by the Minister, Secretary-General at the Presidency of the Republic at the end of which he saluted Cameroon's commitment to combating insecurity and the reception of refugees. It is also the first for America's Donald Trump. Elected in the White House in November 2016, President Donald Trump is highly awaited in the opener this Tuesday. His speech will be highly listened to given America's position in the organisation and what the new US President stood for when he came into office. For example, President Trump has decided to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Change Agreement in 2015. It forces the United Nations to reduce the operational budget for peacekeeping operations provided by the peacekeepers during the period from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018. Statistics show that the amount of this decrease is $ 600 million, or 7.2% of the previous budget ($ 7.87 million). The leaders of other friendly countries of Cameroon, like President Emmanuel Macron of the French Republic, is also at his first participation in a General Assembly of the United Nations. The least of attention is not on the President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, 54-year-old Miroslav Lajcak. Elected in May 2017, he replaces Peter Thompson of Fiji, President of the 71st session of the General Assembly. From July 2007 to February 2009 Mr Lajcak was High Representative of the United Nations and the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is therefore a UN Ordinary General Assembly full of peculiarities and which is expected to come up with a clearly defined blueprint for an optimal functioning of the organisation in the face of growing and sometimes complex global challenges.

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