African Leaders Set for United Nations General Assembly

Every year in September, all 193 members of the United Nations meet at the General Assembly at the organisation’s headquarters in New York.

The General Assembly is one of the six main organs of the UN, where several international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations, such as development, peace and security, international law are discussed.

This year’s assembly which starts on September 17, has climate change, universal health coverage and the politics of sustainable development, on the agenda.

There will also be meetings on financing for development, elimination of nuclear weapons and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ghana will occupy the first seat in the Hall for this year’s session, including in the main committees, followed by all the other countries, in English alphabetical order.

African presidents set for General Assembly

African heads of state including Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, Egypt’s Adel Fattah el-Sisi, Senegal’s Macky Sall and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi are already in New York for the General Assembly.

South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa will be one of the notable absentees, having opted to deal with pressing domestic issues back home.

Nigerian elected president

Nigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, was this week elected president of the 74th General Assembly.

The United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres commended the Nigerian scholar and diplomat for prioritising peace and security, poverty eradication, zero hunger, quality education, climate action and inclusion, all of which the UN chief called “central to the sustainable development agenda”.

‘‘He also brings valuable insights into some of the pressing peace and security, human rights and sustainable development challenges facing this body, from the spread of violent extremism to the threat of the global climate crisis,’‘ Guterres said.

‘‘I also applaud your emphasis on human rights and gender parity,’‘ he added.

In his inaugural address as General Assembly President, Prof. Muhammad-Bande said he would “collaborate and coordinate” with the Security Council, and the Secretariat “to ensure that greater attention is paid to prevention rather than reaction to full blown conflict.”

‘‘I will also advocate for effective early detection and warning systems, as well as mediation, negotiation and peaceful settlement of ongoing conflicts,’‘ he promised.

‘‘The recent emergencies in the Bahamas, Mozambique, and the Sahel region, among others, reminds us of the urgency of strengthening global action to tackle climate change,’‘ he argued.

World’s best Teacher at UN

The world’s best teacher, who hails Kenya, Peter Tabichi, is set to address the 74th United Nations General Assembly, which brings together world leaders from the organisation’s 193 members.

Tabichi, who won the 2019 Global Teacher Prize in March this year, is a member of the St Franciscan Friars, a religious order founded by St Francis of Assisi in the 13th century.

Meeting Trump

On Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, shared a picture on Twitter showing that Tabichi, had met with US president, Donald Trump.

‘Peter, you inspire us all! Thank you for your commitment to your students,’‘ Stephanie tweeted.

Tabichi, who won the $1m best teacher prize, teaches science at Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School at Pwani village in Njoro, Nakuru County.

Addressing the UN General Assembly

Brother Tabichi is set to recite the popular St Francis prayer before the start of the general assembly, according to Brother Tony Donald from Ireland.

“This is a big honour for St Franciscan brothers. It shows that the UN recognises our order as it plays a key role in the development of humanity,” he said.

Tabichi will also share his inspirational story with delegates at the assembly.

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy

O divine master grant that I may

not so much seek to be consoled as to console

to be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love

For it is in giving that we receive

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned

And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life

Amen

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