In addition to efforts geared at tackling climate change, President Paul Kagame on Wednesday, September 20, told the United Nations General Assembly that effort must also be put into ending ongoing conflicts.
Kagame was addressing the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He said: “We must not only cool down on climate. We must also cool down on conflict. Today, there is no sign of ongoing conflicts ending anytime soon.
We do not even see hope, from those with the most influence, that an end is in sight. Innocent lives are left alone to carry the burden of this instability. That is a profound injustice.”
“The migration crisis is a case in point. Every year, migrants and refugees undertake dangerous journeys in search of a better future.”
Kagame then noted that Rwanda – host to more than 100, 000 refugees – remains committed to working with partners, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to contribute to a durable solution.
Rwanda’s decision is informed by “our experience,” and knowing first-hand the pain of losing everything and not having a place to call home. Rwanda lost more than one million people during the devastating 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“That is part of our promise to leave no one behind. We continue to need a more effective forum to manage global crises. That is why the United Nations was created in the first place.”
However, he noted, that does not absolve any country or region of the responsibility to address the governance shortfalls which are the root cause of instability.
“In this regard, I welcome the Secretary General’s report on a new agenda for peace. Bilateral interventions, to which Rwanda contributes actively in various places, can provide a rapid response to a crisis situation. But to have lasting effect, they need to pave the way for multilateral engagement and internal political progress.
“No matter the amount of troops deployed, the mindset should be to get results, which serve the interests of the people on the ground.”
In July, UN Secretary-General António Guterres presented to Member States his policy brief on a new agenda for peace, which outlines his vision for multilateral efforts for peace and security, based on international law, for a world in transition. It outlines an extensive and ambitious set of recommendations that recognize the inter-linked nature of many of the challenges the world faces.
A long way to go
Paying lip service to peace, and getting lost in process and formalities, Kagame noted, only serves to confirm the selective attention of some in the international community.
He added: “We still have a long way to go. Africa urgently needs to be fully represented in bodies where decisions concerning our future are made. Just as urgently, Africa must be fully prepared to speak with one voice.
“Ultimately, a more effective development cooperation framework must give equal weight to everyone’s needs and priorities. That is what builds fair and equal partnerships, and a more just and peaceful world. That is what we all claim to want, even as we too frequently fall short.
In that spirit, Kagame commended the United Nations Development Programme, led by Achim Steiner, for theTimbuktoo initiative to strengthen the African start-up innovation ecosystem.The Timbuktoo initiative aims to invest $1 billion of public and private funds into youth innovation startups to achieve 1,000 startups, impact 10 million livelihoods and create $10 billion across the continent in 10 years.
Kagame said: “This week, the International Telecommunications Union, led by Doreen Bogdan-Martin, together with UNDP, also unveiled a major new initiative on inclusive Digital Public Infrastructure. Rwanda is very happy to be associated with these efforts, which show the United Nations at its best.”
“For Rwanda, the source of our solidarity comes from our commitment to never allow a repetition of the tragedy that was inflicted on us, nearly thirty years ago. We continue to remain grateful to all who have accompanied us on our journey, as we plan to commemorate the Genocide against the Tutsi for the 30th time in April 2024.”