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Statement of the Chair of the African Group on the election of the UN General Assembly President

Mr. President of the 76th UN General Assembly, Excellency Abdulahi Shahid;

Mr. President-elect of the 77th UN General Assembly, His Excellency Mr. Csaba Kőrösi;

Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Gutteres;

Excellencies and Dear Colleagues;

Distinguished Delegates;

1. It is with great honour that I deliver this statement on behalf of the Africa Group of Member States, at this very important informal interaction with the President-elect of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly.

2. At the outset, and on behalf of the Africa Group, I would like to congratulate His Excellency Mr. Csaba Kőrösi on his election to lead the UNGA at its 77th Session.

3. The 77th Session of the GA coincides with very trying times because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and more importantly, the war in Ukraine and its attendant food and energy insecurity the world is dealing with.

4. We are hopeful that your wealth of experience would be beneficial in aiding our collective efforts to safely traverse the journey during and beyond these trying times.

5. We are particularly encouraged to note that you personally recognize the enormous weight of the leadership of the UN and your commitment to ensuring that we outlive these challenges and come out stronger. The Africa Group will continue to support the PGA office in that regard.

6. In the same breadth, the Africa Group takes this opportunity to pay tribute to you, Your Excellency Ambassador Abdullahi Shahid, as outgoing President of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly for your decisive leadership, particularly during these peculiar times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

7. Against all odds, during the 76th Session you skilfully charted new grounds for exemplary leadership in crises, and thus set an unprecedented tone that will define the future functioning of our delicate intergovernmental processes in many ways in the years to come on which your successor would build upon.

Mr. President,

9. As Africa Group, we have listened very attentively to the President-elect previously during the townhall held prior to his election and we the African Group has also carefully studied the President-elect’s Vision Statement.

10. The Africa Group took note of the pledges, principles and the priorities identified therein as they are aligned with the Africa Union theme for this year: “Nutrition”

12. By way of emphasis, the Africa Group wishes to highlight the following non-exhaustive list of issues which deserve continued attention during the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly:

i) First and foremost, it must be stressed that independence, impartiality and integrity are key to enable the PGA to successfully conduct his functions and responsibilities.

ii) The Development of Africa is a standing integral part of the identified eight (8) main priorities of the UN for many years, as again reaffirmed in many General Assembly resolutions. The Africa Group therefore counts on the good leadership of the President-elect to maintain this dedicated attention on Africa across all the pillars of the programme of work of the organization, including on allocation of requisite resources for the critical programmes.

iii) We agree with the emphasis on the developing countries, including Countries in Special Situations, among them Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Countries and Small Island States. Again, we recall that for a very good reason the Special Needs of Africa were highlighted in the Millennium Declaration adopted two decades ago in 2000.

iii) It is our hope that the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly will also continue to follow up on commitments to Our Common Agenda and the Sustaining Peace Agenda in furtherance to the UN Charter obligations for the maintenance of international peace and security, and in line with national ownership and leadership of the countries concerned. Thanks to the partnership between the UN and our continental bodies, Africa is making progress; but there remain some challenges. As part of the “Africa We Want” Vision embodied in the AU’s Agenda 2063, Silencing the Guns in Africa as well as Women and Peace and Security are among imperatives for sustainable peace and development which must be achieved.

iv) In order to realize social progress and uplift the living standards of our peoples and promote universal human rights for all, the Africa Group takes seriously the full implementation of Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs constitute a solid blue-print, and their complete delivery by 2030 hinges upon adherence to the clarion call by the Secretary-General for the SDG Decade of Action. Advancing progress in this area is also contingent upon establishing viable partnerships to close the SDGs financing gap.

v) As already acknowledged, Climate Change is a real existential threat to our survival and livelihoods. The accompanying natural disasters, environmental impacts, land degradation and desertification severely undermine agricultural production and compound Food Insecurity in our regions. We therefore hope that this issue continues to be a priority for the General Assembly.

vi) There has never been a time more crucial for the Promotion and Preservation of Multilateralism than today. The Africa Group believes that under the President-elect’s able leadership, we have a timely opportunity at the 77th Anniversary of the UN to recommit to multilateralism and make it a collective reality.

vii) Beyond that, as we witness a global outcry for Racial Equality, the Africa Group counts on the good leadership of the President-elect to join hands with the Secretary-General and our world leaders to ensure that the UN General Assembly stands united behind an intolerance-free UN environment, across all its institutions. There is absolutely no place for any form of intolerance or discriminatory practices in a multinational forum such as the UN.

12. In conclusion, Mr. President, on behalf of the Africa Group, I would like to once again congratulate the President-elect, His Excellency Mr. Kőrösi and express the readiness of the Africa Group to work closely with him in the fulfilment of our shared goals and objectives during the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly.

I thank You, for your kind attention.

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