President Paul Kagame called on United Nations member states to not merely pledge commitment to the new global goals but to acknowledge that the bold new targets will only be reached if all countries work together and acknowledge their mutual interdependence.
The President made the remarks in his address to the UN General Assembly in New York, US, yesterday.
The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were endorsed by world leaders last Friday, and are seen as a new chapter meant to shape the global development discourse for the next 15 years, between 2015 and 2030.
President Kagame addresses the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 29. Source: Paul Kagame / YouTube
“The adoption of the global goals marks a new era in international cooperation. Ending extreme poverty was never going to be enough, to fulfil our ambitions. This new compact is about prosperity and it recognises that the only sustainable future is one that includes all of us,” Kagame said.
He stressed that the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development had set out good commitments that must now be fulfilled.
Noting that cooperation is the only way forward, Kagame called on a new form of global cooperation that recognises equality and respects national systems.
“The divergence of visions is rooted in history. When world powers created the United Nations seventy years ago, independence for the colonized peoples of Africa and Asia, was not on the agenda,” the President said.
“We were seen as people who still needed to be ‘looked after’. These moral hierarchies and prejudices are still with us, contributing to the mismanagement of political change, and corroding the trust upon which effective multilateral cooperation depends.”
Cooperation amid challenges
The Head of State said in the face of new challenges, including the growing refugee crisis, global cooperation must remain central to any solution.
“We face serious challenges that must be confronted together, as an international community. We cannot afford to undermine the most responsible and capable members, by applying standards to some countries, that are not applied to others or even imposing inappropriate ones. Multilateral institutions are used to gain credibility for biased attacks against countries, even as scrutiny of the powerful is considered unnecessary. When matters of principle become associated with domination and disdain, then the basis for joint action in the multilateral system is compromise,” Kagame added.
President Kagame addresses the United Nations General Assembly, New York, September 29. Source: Paul Kagame / SoundCloud
Kagame concluded his speech by highlighting the importance of respecting the dignity of every nation.
“No country or system has a monopoly on wisdom, much less a claim to moral superiority.”
“Our task is to settle the future, not the past. Change is coming, and it is necessary. No one can manage it alone, and the global goals rightly recognise our mutual interdependence. We have made good commitments, now we must make good on these commitments. Building a community of shared purpose capable of doing so starts with a recognition of our equality,” Kagame said.