JULIUS MAADA BIO, President of Sierra Leone, expressed his support to all multilateral initiatives battling the pandemic and mitigating its long-term effects. The theme of the General Assembly’s seventy-sixth session was most appropriate, given the issues the world was facing. He was confident that multilateral institutions would find a solution to bring the world out of the pandemic, he said.
Commenting on the recent developments in Sierra Leone, he praised the country’s efforts to improve fiscal resilience through economic diversification. It was being achieved by creating a business-friendly environment and tackling corruption. Adding that Sierra Leone has been actively fighting the pandemic, he thanked China, France, United States and the COVAX initiative for supplying his country with vaccines.
The Government was continuing to remove threats to democratic freedoms, he continued, pointing to the repealing of a century-old seditious libel law. An independent commission for peace and social inclusion had also been established. More so, no politician nor journalist was in jail for conducting his or her profession, he pointed out, adding that the death penalty had also been abolished. Education programmes were being rolled out through special grants. Diseases, such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis, had been tamed through various initiatives. In addition, vulnerable populations during the pandemic were being given support and work on gender equality was being moved forward, with survivors of sexual violence being provided access to justice. In that regard, he requested the General Assembly to sponsor a resolution on sexual violence.
Sierra Leone was committed to the fight against climate change and would be present at the twenty-sixth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow. On a national platform, the Government established a commission to address the full impact of climate change. He called for an international fund to support the transition to greener economies and improve resilience against climate change shocks. There was also a need to create a green climate fund to meet the $100 billion target to support the mitigation and adaptation plans of developing countries. He called for greater United Nations collaboration with the African Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to usher in a more peaceful subregion, drawing attention to his country’s leadership of the Group of Seven Plus.
Hierarchies of power between nations should be eradicated and dialogue among equals should be established, he emphasized. States should map out fresh approaches to advance the decolonization agenda, in line with Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 1960. Africa represented 54 nations and 1.2 billion people, and with that in mind, he requested that the Security Council be reformed to become more representative, transparent, and accountable. The legitimate recognition for Africa to play its role on the global stage should be recognized by granting it two seats in the Security Council, including the right for veto, along with two non-permanent seats, as well.
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