Five highlights from the United Nations General Assembly

Last week saw the 193 Member States of the United Nations come together in New York for the annual General Assembly session. Global leaders and policy makers took to the General Assembly Hall to discuss a wide array of the most important international issues, including development, peace and security, and international law. Here are five highlights from the event.

1) Lesotho’s Prime Minister tells the UN that technology is vital for small nations to meet the development goals

On the 22nd September, the Prime Minister of Lesotho told the United Nations General Assembly’s high-level debate that, in order for small countries in Africa to meet their development goals, they should be empowered with technologies. He also stressed that these technologies should aid Africa to deal with and adapt to climate change challenges. The Prime Minister called on the General Assembly to continue mobilising and providing additional financial resources to Africa for climate-friendly technologies. We hope that these innovations will aid in addressing some of the continent’s most pressing issues, and will play a part in shaping the continent’s ever-growing technological landscape.

2) Global Goals a ‘blueprint’ for fair and equitable development, Kenya tells UN Assembly

At this year’s annual general debate, Kenya praised the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, highlighting that they had provided the globe with a ‘blueprint’ for a more peaceful world, and ‘for making development and globalization fair and equitable for all’. In her address, Amina Chawahir Mohammed, the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Kenya said that Kenya acknowledges the UN’s ‘remarkable role’ in sustaining peace and providing a platform for cooperation and solidarity among nations. At the PEI, we support Ms Mohammed’s argument that collaboration and cooperation amongst the global community is critical in addressing development issues.

3) UN officials hail establishment of Technology Bank for world’s poorest nations

Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu, the UN High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, took to the assembly to stress that access to technology, science and innovation are critical for the development for these groups of countries. The UN’s establishment of a Technology Bank will act to broaden the application of science, technology and innovation in the world’s poorest countries. It will also serve as a knowledge hub, connecting needs, resources and actors. “We strongly believe that this Bank will help fill the technology gap and it will also speed up the structural transformation in the LDCs,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu. We praise these commitments to technology and innovation, and hope that they will continue to encourage the development of the 47 countries currently on the list of LDCs.

4) World leaders gathered at UN commit to boosting investment in education

On the 20th September, world leaders made a pledge to tackle the education crisis that is holding back millions of children and threatening economic development in many countries. Research suggests that more than 260 million children, adolescents and youth are out of school. UN Messenger of Peace, Malala Yousafzai, addressed the assembly, stressing the importance of educating girls in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We commend Malala Yousafzai’s comments, and hope that countries continue to prioritise investment in high-quality education for girls.

5) Climate change requires most urgent mitigation measures, African leaders tell UN Assembly

Last week, African leaders called for urgent measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. Seychelles President Danny Faure Mr. Faure called for a cooperative approach in limiting global warming greenhouse emissions. Togo’s Prime Minister, Selom Komi Klassou, also emphasised the importance of carrying out the Paris accord as well as the SDGs. “The challenges facing our world have a real impact on development of Africa,” he said. “And one of the imperatives, in order to confront it effectively, remains the continent’s economic transformation. Investment needs to be increased in the fields of science, industry, agribusiness and high technology.” Over the next few years, we hope to see the effects of increased investment on the continent to tackle climate change.

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