27 September 2018

Africa's Voice Must Be Heard, Says Eswatini Leader, Calling for UN Reforms to Make Continent Key Player in Peace and Security

With Africa absorbing the most United Nations peacekeeping missions, King Mswati III, of Eswatini, said the continent's voice must be featured "prominently and permanently" at the UN, advocating for increased participation of Africa in the work of the world Organization, particularly the Security Council.

"Africa calls for the allocation of not less than two permanent seats, with all the prerogatives and privileges of permanent membership - including the right of veto; and five non-permanent seats, in the United Nations Security Council," King Mswati III told the Assembly's annual general debate on Wednesday.

Turning to development, he said that with strong national leadership and international cooperation, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring social welfare, gender equality, and tackling many other issues in Africa is within reach.

"We remain confident that the [Goals] and Agenda 2063 of the African Union will continue to give us the proper guidance and impetus necessary to eradicate poverty and create inclusive and sustainable development for all," King Mswati said in his address to the Assembly's annual general debate.

He went on to say that although these goals have been put in place 'imbalances' remain. It, therefore, is up to the UN and its Member States to 'play a meaningful role in supporting developing countries.'

Following the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), great strides have been undertaken in removing gender inequality. Eswatini has 'enacted the sexual offences and domestic violence act' with an eye to protecting women from domestic violence and sexual assault.

"We sincerely hope that the commendable reform efforts of the Secretary General will help support and reinforce our efforts in accessing external resources and securing sustainable funding mechanism, that will assist us advance towards realization of the SDGs by 2030"

He told the assembly that the kingdom had celebrated its fiftieth anniversary during which time the nation decided to revert to "our original name, which is Eswatini. Since time immemorial the name for the Kingdom has always been Eswatini."

In closing, Mswati left the Assembly with words of thanks and appreciation for UN support, but also urged the Assembly to not leave Africa behind, remarking: 'her voice must be heard.'

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