The Gambia leader, President Adama Barrow, joined world leaders at the official opening of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.
Contributing to the debates, President Barrow emphasised the need for preventive diplomacy as experienced in The Gambia. He noted the positive impact of solidarity among stakeholders in the realisation of peace and in pursuit of democracy, promotion of human rights and respect for the rule of law. His statement called for collective efforts to instill good governance in The Gambia.
The President said economic challenges pose threat to human rights and democracy, contributing to high unemployment among the youth. President Barrow recognised the contribution of Gambians in the Diaspora in putting the country on a democratic path. He pointed out that the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan will bring economic growth in a transformative manner. The negative impact of climate change in rural areas, contributing to youth illegal migration was highlighted. It stated that such frustrations lured the youth into terrorism, crime and drug abuse.
On foreign policy, the statement acknowledged the enormous contributions of ECOWAS, regional and international organisations and institutions in bringing peace to The Gambia. The President said The Gambia promotes good and friendly neighbourliness; and takes a win-win approach in its relationship with nations of the world. The Gambia expressed support to the one-China policy and the two-state policy to address the Israeli Palestinian conflict. More endowed countries and the UN were urged to end conflicts, terrorism, organised crimes and religious intolerance in Africa, the Middle East and around the world.
The world leaders were also urged to address indifferences and injustices by addressing the imbalances between the North and South. The Gambia also supports the UN reform programme to include African representation on the UN Security Council. President Barrow concluded by calling for justice, peace, love, care and tolerance of diversity.
As part of his engagements, President Barrow held a tete-a-tete meeting with the President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and met Turkish President, Tayyip Erdogan at the sidelines of the UNGA. He also attended a lunch hosted by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Gambian Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Health, Justice and Interior, Ambassador Momodou Tangara and senior officials participated at several side events. The Gambia's delegation participated at the high-level event on UN Management Reform, launched of the 2017 Report of the UN Secretary General's Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman, Every Child and Every Adolescent; UN Private sector forum- financing for the 2030 Agenda; the meeting on the prevention of sexual abuse and exploitation; and a meeting on collective private sector action for disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness, response and recovery. The Gambia also participated at the 73rd Session of the UNGA and upcoming 2018 high level meeting on TB and the attended the AAI awards gala. Several of the ministers also held bilateral meetings with their counterparts from Nigeria, Canada and Kazakhstan.
On the sidelines of the UNGA, First Lady, Fatou Bah-Barrow on Monday attended a high-level meeting on the theme: Looking forward to a future without cancers, implementation of medicines, diagnostics and treatment.
In her statement delivered at the meeting, Madam Barrow said cancers are emerging as huge burden for developing countries and her foundation will continue to support the control and preventive measures put in by the Ministry of Health. Speaking at a high-level meeting of African First Ladies on the theme: Ending AIDS by 2030, she committed her office would advocate for expansion of services to rural areas.