At UN, southern African leaders urge climate action, Security Council reform

As Botswana prepares for its 50th Anniversary, on 30 September, Vice-President Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, described to the United Nations General Assembly the journey of how the country went from one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle income country.

With little or no infrastructure to rely on from its first day of independence, Botswana established itself as a country based on the key principles of democracy, development, unity and self-reliance.

“Adherence to these principles, coupled with the judicious exploitation of natural resources and international development support, it has been able to achieve the modest economic growth in the past 50 years of our independent statehood,” said Mr. Masisi from the podium.

“In celebrating 50 years of independent nationhood we are conscious of the fact that we could not have achieved all these milestones without the much needed support and solidarity of the international community,” he underscored. “For this, we shall forever remain profoundly grateful to our all-weather and reliable development partners from all corners of the world who have stood with us through this challenging journey.”

He also noted that for development to be successful, it must be “nationally owned.”

“When we told the world that we were ready for self-governance, many sceptics, historians and commentators alike, did not think we were serious,” he continued. “With less than two miles of paved roads in the entire country, 42 college graduates, a few primary schools, a single railway line operated by neighbouring Rhodesia and one national radio station that broadcast for two hours a day, ours is a country borne out of humble beginning,” he noted.

Mr. Masisi said “we placed a high premium on building a united, democratic and accountable nation premised on the respect for democracy, human rights, rule of law and strong institutions.”

Turning to Sustainable Development Goal 13, he pointed to the impact of climate change on agricultural production and increasing food and water insecurity. He said that Botswana is already feeling its adverse impact, noting that it was projected to worsen with time.

“The threat posed by climate change must not be underestimated. Urgent and effective global action on climate change mitigation and adaptation is required to avoid the catastrophic consequences of global warming,” emphasized Mr. Masisi, adding that this GA session provided a “strategic opportunity for injecting the much needed political momentum into the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

“In the spirit of the United Nations Charter,” he concluded “and as inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals, let us push to transform our world and leave no one behind.”

Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha B. Mosisili reiterated his country’s call for expanding the Security Council along the lines of the African Union’s Ezulweni Consensus, which calls for 11 additional seats, including two permanent and two non-permanent seats for Africa, with the new permanent members having the same veto rights as the current five permanent members.

“We strongly urge that this very important issue of the UN’s Security Council reform should not be turned into a joke. The sooner it is concluded the better for humankind and peace in the world,” he told the Assembly.

He lauded the adoption of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change as “notable landmark achievements which have cemented the role of the United Nations as the only forum at which collective diplomacy can bear fruit,” and voiced the hope that in the next decade UN efforts in accelerating economic development on a global scale will begin to show tangible results.

Source: UN News Centre.