Botswana: Masisi Calls for Just Global System

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The world needs a just multilateral system to realise the goals of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include ending poverty and hunger, acquiring good health, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation for all.

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said this during his address to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA78) in New York City, Wednesday.

President Masisi said the COVID-19 pandemic had exposed glaring disparities in the global political and economic architecture, which needed reform to ensure equity as the world prepared to accomplish the SDGs in 2030. “Over the past few years, we have witnessed and continue to endure the profound and devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The consequences have been felt across nations, but the extent of its devastation has varied greatly depending on factors such as the level of development and geographical location,” Dr Masisi said.

He said human survival should not be determined by factors such as whether one lives in the generally marginalised Global South [Africa, Latin America, Caribbean, the developing states of Asia and smaller Oceania islands] or the more opulent Global North [the developed states of North America, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand] or in a landlocked developing country or not.

“These distinctions have played a crucial role in determining the severity of the pandemic’s effects. It is therefore imperative that we wholeheartedly embrace the ongoing discussions regarding pandemic prevention, preparedness and response,” he said.

He outlined key issues that needed to be addressed as including timely and equitable access and sharing of benefits, strengthening of regulations to ensure developed countries did not horde medical products during pandemics, building capacity for stronger health systems, as well as investment in research and development for local and regional vaccine manufacturing.

“I am pleased to inform the General Assembly that Botswana is making its contribution to build capacity to manufacture vaccines for both humans and animals. We have made remarkable progress in terms of HIV diagnosis and on August 28 our National HIV Reference Laboratory was designated a World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Excellence,” Dr Masisi said.

The President charged global leaders to reform international systems as they engaged in the UNGA78 debates, which rest on the theme: Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity- Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs to Realise Peace, Prosperity, Progress and Sustainability.

“By the time these discussions reach their conclusion, it is essential that we establish robust systems that leave no room for the repetition of calamity, ensuring that the survival and wellbeing of our people is no longer contingent on them residing in the Global South or North. We hope that these discussions will culminate [into] a treaty,” he said.

Source : AllAfrica