President Paul Kagame has called on world leaders to ensure that all development efforts are aimed at improving the lives and wellbeing of the people and unleashing their potential.
The President was Thursday addressing the 71st United Nations General Assembly General in New York, United States.
Kagame told the assembly that, as the international community embarks on implementing key agreements on sustainable development, climate change and combating violent extremism, “real people” need to be at the centre of these efforts.
This, he said, would enable them stay on course in implementing plans and monitoring progress.
“First, always remember that the ultimate purpose of these efforts is to transform the lives of real people by enhancing their well-being, safety, and access to opportunity,” Kagame said.
He said that by keeping in mind the lives of people they were working for, there was no reason not to achieve the targets. “If we keep the people we are fighting for at the front of our minds and build on lessons learned, then there is no reason why we cannot achieve everything we have committed ourselves to”.
The Head of State called on the UN member states to take into account the lessons learnt from previous experiences and to promote inclusive growth plans that enable particularly women to reach their potential.
World leaders, Kagame said, need to “build on what we have learned so far. That means being inclusive, especially of women, because if they are not reaching their potential, then none of us are.”
Among the lessons to take into account as the world worked towards the set development objectives was the role and impact of technology in achieving targets.
“We have learned the lesson that technology has to be part of the strategy for achieving all the Global Goals. Everyone in the world needs to have access to high-speed internet,” Kagame said.
The President also highlighted the role of partnerships across various sectors, including the private sector while working towards the goals.
The preservation of international peace and security largely depended on maintaining a shared vision of the outcomes and values which guide international cooperation, he said.
“We have also seen the importance of forging meaningful partnerships with the private sector to improve the speed and scale of delivery. These perspectives will inform the work of the new SDG Centre for Africa, which Rwanda is pleased to host with the support of our partners,” he said.
All this perspectives, the President noted, would inform the work of the new sustainable Development Goals centre to be set up in Rwanda.
“There has to be real continuity between the frameworks that guide our collective action. These agreements are not slogans or fashions, but hard-won statements of global consensus about the world we wish to leave to our children,” he said.
As part of the broader efforts to implement the plans under climate change and sustainable development frameworks, Kagame said that Kigali was set to host a summit on the Montréal Protocol on the Ozone Layer to deliberate on phasing out hydro-fluorocarbons.
“The nearly 30-year-old Montréal Protocol is already one of the most successful international agreements in history, and it now affords us the opportunity to take a significant step forward in implementing the one-year-old Paris Agreement. I urge all member states to join with us to pass this important measure,” he said.
Kagame also attended the US-Africa Business Summit which focused on expanding trade and investment opportunities on the continent.
Earlier in the day, the President had also attended a forum on ‘Israeli Innovation in Africa and Developing Countries’ that was chaired by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.