The African Group
Message from the Chair
The Member States in the United Nations General Assembly are divided into various geographical groupings. These are the groupings through which elections are conducted into various UN bodies and agencies.
Africa is allocated 3 non-permanent members of the Security Council, 14 members on ECOSOC, 13 Members on the Human Rights Council and the President of the General Assembly in years ending 4 and 9.
The Africa Group at the United Nations is made up of the 54 African Union Member States at the United Nations. The bloc coordinates its efforts on various topics, ranging from health and migration to issues of peace and security.
The group hold regular meetings to receive briefings from guests and UN officials and discuss on UN resolutions and topics so a common African position can be reached.
The group is chaired by an Ambassador from a Member State, with the position rotating monthly. The African Union Observer Mission serves as a coordinating secretariat for the group by arranging meetings, supporting the Chair, and generally providing logistical and administrative assistance where necessary.
My Dear distinguished Brothers and Sisters of the Africa Group, as I assume the honour of chairing our great Group for the month of July 2021, I deemed it necessary to share some thoughts with you today.
You would all agree with me that, our dear continent Africa, is in a historic transformation and it would need the continuous support of all its partners and friends, especially the UN. And as its representatives at the UN, we must continue to rise to the occasion by constantly making sure African priorities are not only on the table for discussion but the outcomes of those discussions are implemented positively in Africa’s best interest.
As we approach the 76th Session of the General Assembly, Africa should raise its voice more, to call for adequate financing for SDGs, vaccine availability, financing its recovery from COVID-19 pandemic, institutional strengthening, climate finance, and addressing the challenge of peacekeeping finance and peace and security in general.
In addition, since, the impact of COVID-19 is expected to continue putting a lot of our people in abject poverty, calling for multilateral solutions, equity relating to vaccine access and distribution and substantial resources for other development priorities should continue to form part of our campaign during the 76th Session. We should also prepare ourselves adequately to raise our voice during the preparatory meetings for the Food Systems Summit in September 2021 and the Fifth United Nations Conference on the LDCs (LDC V) slated to take place in January 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
It is my considered view that, Africa is not asking for much from the global body. Africa’s legitimate demands have been the correction of past historical injustices, and for according our continent its fair share of the global socio-politico-economic and cultural space that it needs. Indeed, it is Africa’s legitimate right to ask for its fair share of global development and fair representation in global institutions.
In this connection, our tasks as noble representatives should be to continue to ask for the advancement of these demands, preserving African dignity, solidarity, culture, shared values and continuous advocacy for the alignment of global development policies and programmes with Africa’s Agenda 2063.
In advocating these issues, we must however, always remind ourselves that, we can only achieve our aims and aspirations for the continent and its people at the multilateral arena by demonstrating unity through the preservation of African solidarity.
When we are united in our representation functions and actions, we do so to defend the continent and its interests. We become each other’s keeper and collectively we would achieve the best for our people. As Ambassadors, we must always remain the voice of conscience and must keep the momentum high.
In that regard, as we progress in this crucial Decade of Action, it would remain critical for us to continue engaging our thoughts concerning the questions: what can we do to silence the guns in Africa? What can we do to sustain our peace? What can we do to ensure sustainable and predictable financing for African-led initiatives especially in peacekeeping, women and youth empowerment, climate change, poverty alleviation, research, inclusive COVID-19 recovery and development financing? and finally, what can we do to make the UN and its organs fit for today’s world and meet the expectations of our continent and its people?
When it comes to calling for accountability, justice and equal treatment, equal and fair geographical representation, elections, and IGN processes, it is crucial for Africa to always speak with one voice and ensure that our focus on reforms take an all-inclusive approach that would encompass reforms of all the organs, functions, and most importantly, the development pillar of the UN system. And also, this is when African solidarity and brotherhood (sisterhood) as well as, our pioneered expanded cooperation with CARICOM should matter most.
The problems Africa face are rooted in harsh realities of its past that are unpleasant to look at and much more difficult to comprehend, but rather than shying away from them, the situation should embolden us as Africans to advocate course correction. Africa and Africans have what it takes to build the Africa we want and posterity would not judge us well if, we fail to take charge of our own narrative to preserve and promote the best interest of the continent and its people.
My dear colleagues, let’s continue to act together to ensure the preservation of African unity, solidarity, voice, culture, and heritage.
Whilst looking forward to working closely with you all during the month of July, I seize this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Month of July and a successful 76th Session in advance.
H.E Mr Lang Yabou
Ambassador, and Permanent Representative of The Gambia to the United Nations
Chair of the African Group of Permanent Representatives at the United Nations
for the month of July 2021