Mahiga: UN should step up efforts to curb conflicts, make world safer

Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga


Statement by Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, on 23 September, 2017

I CONGRATULATE you Mr. President on your election to preside over the deliberations of this august Seventy-Second Assembly of the United Nations.

My delegation pledges full support to you and your Bureau. Allow me also to convey warm fraternal greetings from H.E. Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, who wished to be here but due to other pressing commitments at home is unable to attend this Session of the Assembly.

President Magufuli has sent me to assure this Assembly that his Government will continue to support the United Nations and its noble mandate to promote global peace, security, freedom and development. He also wishes to extend Tanzania’s unwavering support and cooperation to the Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, as he continues to discharge his duties.

Mr. President, my delegation pays tribute to your predecessor, H.E. Ambassador Peter Thompson, for the exemplary leadership during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

His tireless efforts in promoting the implementation of the Agenda 2030; his dedication to resolving the plight of refugees and migrants; and reviving consultations on the reforms of the United Nations, particularly on the Security Council, will remain part of his legacy.

It is my expectation that you and your team will advance from where he left off as you have pledged in your opening statement.

Mr, President, the world today is facing a myriad of challenges which include new and old security threats such as international terrorism and other transnational crimes, persisting poverty, hunger, climate change as well as global inequalities in economic and social status among nations

. These challenges call for common and urgent response by the entire United Nations system and the international community as a whole.

It is in this regard that my delegation welcomes the theme for this Session, “Focusing on People: Striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet”.

This theme is timely and welcomed as most of our countries are recalibrating their development strategies and plans to ensure the speedy and timely implementation of the goals and targets enshrined in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Implementation of SDGs. Mr. President, striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet should focus on ending poverty, promoting economic and social prosperity, addressing inequality and injustices as well as tackling the impacts of climate change.

This can be achieved by successfully implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cognizant of this fact, Tanzania has integrated the SDGs into the Second Phase of the Five Year Development Plan 2016-2021 focusing on industrialization.

This plan is a tool towards the realization of our National Development Vision, (Vision 2025).

In collaboration with development partners and other stakeholders, we have developed frameworks for implementing the SDGs which include communication and dissemination strategies on SDGs to make the goals understood to everyone.

Dissemination is in both English and Kiswahili, our national language spoken by all Tanzanians.

Sensitisation workshops on SDGs are also being conducted to regional administrations and local government authorities so that the goals can be mainstreamed in their local plans and budgets in order to directly affect the ordinary people who are the main focus of the 2030 Agenda.

Mr President, Tanzania has set a target growth from an average of 7 percent in 2015 to 10 percent by 2020 in order to reach a middle income status by 2025.

We also believe that this growth will ensure equity in the society by reducing the unemployment rate from the current 10.3 percent to 8 percent and reduce proportion of population below poverty line from the current 28.2 percent to 16.7 percent by 2020.

This growth can be achieved by, among other things, increasing employment in both rural and urban areas; providing financial support through soft loans to youth and women; strengthening small and medium enterprises; securing fair taxation and fiscal regimes from business entities as well as restoring discipline and accountability while addressing corruption and controlling public spending. Fighting corruption, financial discipline and accountability in all sectors is the hallmark of President Magufuli’s Government.

Mr President, climate change has become an existential challenge to the entire planet earth. All parts of the world are increasingly experiencing the adverse effects and impact of climate change manifested in persistent droughts, land degradation, coastal erosion, ocean temperature rise, extreme weather events such as cyclones, typhoons, hurricanes and floods.

In Tanzania for instance, it is disheartening to witness the epic snows and glaciers of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, melting fast.

Against this background, I would like to express my Government’s heartfelt sympathies and condolences to our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, South Asia, Mexico, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, USA and all around the world who have recently been victims of impacts of climate change. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

For all of us, this should be a wakeup call and a reminder that climate change has no boundaries and can potentially wipe off economic and development achievements in a blink of an eye.

Therefore, the sooner we act the better chances we have to protect the planet earth for the present and future generations. Mr. President, it is fortunate that we have the Paris Agreement that already entered into force in November 2016 to address this problem.

To honour our joint efforts that gave birth to the Paris Agreement under the leadership of France, we should implement in letter and spirit all of its articles. Assistance to developing countries should go beyond mere mitigation measures and target adaptation measures with built in green technologies to control carbon emissions from the outset.

Mr President, violent conflicts continue to plague the world and remain a challenge to the United Nations and the Security Council in particular which has the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security.

They claim thousands of lives and lead to massive displacements and flights of people to safer places.

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