The Head of State and wife, Chantal actively followed discussions at the UN General Assembly which opened yesterday in New York. A speech on the functioning of the United Nations for the past one year that took the form of a farewell address by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, same as the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama marked the opening session of the 71st General Assembly of the UN that started yesterday 20 September in New York. President Paul Biya and wife, Chantal as well as the official entourage of the Head of State attending the Summit were visible at the opening session that saw speakers highlight a number of problems facing humanity today.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the situation of migrants and refugees, climate change, and the well being of women and the young girl which are the focus of discussions during this year’s General Assembly debate featured prominently as different Heads of State and Governments took to the rostrum to make their views heard on various global challenges.
Opening the deliberations, Peter Thomsom of Fiji, A Small Nation, that has the honour for the first time ever to chair the high- level gathering recalled that his one- year mandate will see the fostering of the values of human dignity, peace and development. He pointed out that the SDGs presuppose that there can be no sustainable development without sustainable peace. Peter Thomson said during his mandate he will ensure a smooth transition at the UN Secretariat as Ban Ki-Moon ends his ten-year tenure to hand over to a new Secretary General, tackle violent extremism and terrorism, develop a secure and harmonious future for children, build trust and flexibility while handling issues like Security Council reforms.
Holding on the theme, “the Sustainable Development Goals; A Universal Push To Transform our World,” the 71st UN General Assembly saw Ban Ki-Moon deliver his last State of Affairs address to the UN. While recounting progress made like the ability of individuals to change the world, he pointed to several cases of intolerance, self interest, democratic setbacks witnessed during elections in certain countries and the gap between leaders and their peoples as concerns that his successor will have to inherit. He talked of difficulties he faced citing ten years of an opportunity for peace lost in several parts of the Middle East, Africa, and tensions across Europe. The next generation, he said is already at risk and it was important for world leaders to take their engagements seriously.
The SDGs, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, technological developments are good signs and leaders could build on what has been achieved to improve on the lives of their citizens, he insisted.
Presenting a picture of the world he met eight years ago and what he is leaving behind this year when he hands over power in the United States, President Barack Obama said from a global economic depression in 2008 the world is less violent and more prosperous today yet, societies are still full of uncertainties and tensions among nations are quick to resurface.
President Paul Biya and his entourage who closely followed the opening session of the General Assembly debates yesterday will be making the views of Cameroon felt as the week unfolds and at the different panel discussions that have been scheduled at the UN.