21 September 2017

Rwanda Backs UN Reforms - Kagame

Photo: New Times
President Kagame addresses the UN General Assembly in New York, U.S.

President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda supports the planned United Nations reforms, noting that it will improve efficiency of the world organisation.

Kagame was addressing the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, attended by global Heads of State and leaders of international organisations.

President Kagame said that despite its relevance and competence in handling some situations, there were clear indications that it was not meeting members' needs and expectations.

He called on member states to offer their support to the body's Secretary General Antonio Guterres as he seeks to make the organisation effective and transformational.

"The Secretary-General deserves our full support, to make the United Nations not only effective, but transformational.

We have the tools and the mandates to address global challenges, from climate change, to peace-building, human equality and development. Where we fall short, is in getting things done," Kagame said.

With a budget of billions of dollars annually and a clear demand for the body's input in the global development agenda, Kagame said there is need to improve performance, delivery and accountability.

"Every year, the UN channels billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance. The UN provides a platform for major international agreements. The United Nations also sets the global agenda on key policy issues, from development, to women's rights. These are signs of an organisation that is both relevant, and, in many cases, competent. And yet there is a sense that the UN is not meeting our needs and expectations," he said.

He commended the UN for launching reforms and response to sexual exploitation and child abuse.

"These steps go to the heart of the matter: The deficit of trust and accountability in the international system. To be truly effective at delivering a "decent life for all," the United Nations must treat all the people it serves with impartiality and respect, and it must be a good steward of the funds entrusted to it. Abuse and waste are therefore not a mere public relations problem, but an existential challenge which must be tackled head-on," he said.

Giving his input of the reforms process, he said it is not a one off event but rather requires a mindset of constantly striving to improve performance.

Kagame, who is leading the African Union reforms process, said the positive momentum would position the two bodies (AU and UN) to work more closely.

"The African Union and the UN are already good partners in peacekeeping and Rwanda is happy and proud to have forces serving under both flags. But we can do much more and do it better," he said.

Partnership and collaboration are expected to achieve desired progress in aspects such as rollout of broadband access and women empowerment, he added.

"We share the common objective to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa's Agenda 2063 targets, as well as continue to enhance women's empowerment. Closer collaboration will help us bridge the growing digital divide through universal broadband access, which connects our people to networks of knowledge and prosperity," Kagame said.

Meanwhile, the President also called on the member countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which he said will go a long way in benefiting individual countries in ending the use of dangerous gases (hydrofluorocarbons) and protecting the environment.

While at the General Assembly, Rwandan officials led by the Minister of Environment, Dr Vincent Biruta, have been engaging countries to ratify the amendment, for the world to start mitigating worst possible impacts of the greenhouse gases (HFCs) to climate change.

Among the major issues that have stood out in the ongoing assembly is the need to implement the reforms to the UN, improve conflict resolution mechanisms and work together towards mitigating climate change.

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