CAPE TOWN – President Cyril Ramaphosa used his weekly letter, on Monday to recognise the role the United Nation (UN) has played supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic.
In any other year, heads of state and government would travel to the UN headquarters in New York to address the General Assembly. But this year, due to Covid-19, the gathering is taking place virtually, using technology to bridge the distance between the capitals of the world.
“As the world confronts another global crisis, this time caused by a virus, the United Nations remains as important and relevant as ever. The UN has played a vital role in supporting cooperation among countries. It has focused attention on the most vulnerable countries and those parts of society most badly affected by the pandemic,”
“Importantly, the UN has enabled countries to focus on the work that needs to be done to not only to rebuild economies, but to do so in a manner that advances the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Ramaphosa.
As South Africa, will be addressing the General Assembly by video conference from the Union Buildings and participating in several other meetings. Ramaphosa said they will use the opportunity to call for the reform of the UN and particularly its Security Council, which does not give equal voice to the different regions of the world.
“We will use our virtual presence in New York to continue to advocate for Africa – a continent of more than a billion people – to have permanent representation on the UN Security Council,” he said.
This year’s General Assembly coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Women, which placed the emancipation of women firmly on the global agenda. The President said the assembly should not only review the progress made over the last quarter-century, but most importantly to clearly outline the actions that must be taken to ensure that women occupy their rightful place as equals in all areas of life in all societies.
“Our message is that unless women are brought into the mainstream of the economy they will continue to bear the brunt of exclusion and be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Our message is that a world that empowers women is a prosperous and sustainable world,” said Ramaphosa.
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