NEW YORK - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, called on members of the United Nations to take individual responsibility for the achievement of sustainable development.
The President made the remarks while addressing the 66th United Nations General Assembly taking place in New York, under the theme: The need for world leaders to deliver on the promise of sustainable development.
Yesterday’s opening of the General Assembly coincided with the World Peace Day.
President Kagame noted that the core need for any lasting economic, social and political change is focus on homegrown and people-centered solutions.
He added that the most effective way to achieve peace is through the empowerment of citizens, especially the youth.
“The most viable option for preventing conflict is to empower our citizens economically, politically and socially, especially the youth…they are the thought leaders not only of tomorrow but right now…it is our responsibility to empower them to believe in themselves and a better future,” Kagame said.
The President concluded by emphasizing promotion of homegrown solutions to address local challenges.
“Long lasting solutions emanate from within…external mediation experts, even with good intentions, do not often bring change at the root level,” he said.
“Mediation needs to be based on bringing conflicting parties to resolve differences not on imposing solutions in the interest of the mediators.”
On the sidelines of the General Assembly, President Kagame met with Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Allasane Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire.
President Ouattara told reporters after the meeting that he plans to draw lessons from Rwanda’s successful unity and reconciliation policies.
The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, reminded the members that “the UN exists to serve those in whose name it was conceived” and listed five imperatives on the way ahead: sustainable development, conflict prevention, building a safer and more secure world, supporting nations in transition and working with and for women and young people.