Speech by His Excellency João Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola, at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly | “Rebuilding Trust and Relaunching Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action under the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress and Sustainability for all” New York, September 20, 2023 -His Excellency Dennis Francis, President of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly; -His Excellency António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; -Distinguished Heads of State and Government; -Heads of Delegation; -Ladies, Gentlemen, It is with great honor that I take the floor at this Magna Assembly of the United Nations, in a context in which the World is facing a highly complex situation that requires this organization of ours to reinforce its role and capabilities to formulate the most appropriate responses and thus be able to respond to the serious challenges facing the world. I wish His Excellency Dennis Francis every success during the mandate he now holds as President of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I would also like to express to Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, our thanks for the tireless work he has been carrying out in favor of peace and development, in very challenging circumstances.
Excellencies, Having not been present at the 2022 General Assembly session, I did not have the opportunity to express, on behalf of Angola and Angolans, our concerns and vision about the problems that the world was facing and which worsened with the outbreak of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that same year. Although great efforts have been made towards creating a more peaceful and prosperous World, we recognize that, almost 78 years since the founding of our organization, it has not been possible to build a solid foundation of trust between Nations in order to avoid if the emergence of pockets of tension here and there, which degenerate into open conflicts in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and now in Europe, where it would be unlikely that a war of such large proportions, such as the that is occurring at this moment. The management of interests at a global level in terms of security, science and technology, as well as resources in general terms, of which I highlight strategic raw materials and energy generating sources, still does not satisfy the interests and expectations of the different Nations and peoples of our planet. It is essential that we do everything in our power to continually promote respect and observance of the values established in the United Nations Charter and International Law, so that we can correct the dangerous trajectory that the World took after the fall of the Berlin Wall. When approaching contemporary problems in international relations, we highlight the importance of objectively evaluating the nature and origin of conflicts and the prospects for their solution, always respecting the universal norms that govern relations between States. Excellencies, It cannot be ignored that the gap between developing and developed countries continues to be an unacceptable reality as there is, in many cases, no real political will to overcome it, resulting in difficulties in accessing resources. financial and material resources necessary to implement development projects, as well as the constraints imposed on technology transfer, constituting factors that delay the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals established in the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
I would like to welcome the Secretary-General’s call for reform of the global financial architecture and the SDG stimulus of at least $500 billion per year to address emerging challenges. Because they do not see themselves adequately represented in a large part of global governance institutions, developing countries are not in a position to express their sensitivities and assert their points of view at the appropriate level and thus contribute to the formulation of realistic solutions for their problems. This situation generates anxiety and frustration among the most vulnerable populations who, when their expectations are not met, become easily permeable to negative influences that are dangerous to the order and stability of their respective countries. Excellencies, In recent decades, Africa has witnessed transformations that have galvanized changes that will impact generations to come. Many African countries have resolved conflicts, invested what they could in socioeconomic development and promoted the education of their citizens, making them more informed and willing to contribute to the economic and social development of their countries. Democratic transitions have become regular and the institutions essential for the consolidation of democracy have become more intervening and, therefore, more capable of providing support and solidity to the democratic achievements achieved in our nations. This is a record that must be praised and we are convinced that everything must be done to ensure that there is no return to the models that prevailed before the advent of democracy in Africa. However, the lack of perspectives observed in many of our countries on an economic and social level creates fertile ground for subversion and the weakening of recent democracies on our continent. It is, therefore, urgent and imperative that real support be granted to development through financing under favorable conditions for the construction of infrastructures for the production and distribution of electricity and drinking water, road and railway communication routes , basic sanitation, construction of schools, hospitals, and others and also in direct private investment in African economies, so that Africa can make a greater contribution to the world economy.
Em África, temos procurado buscar os caminhos que nos levem a sair do estado em que nos encontramos actualmente, como a iniciativa da criação da Zona de Comércio Livre Continental Africana, com mais de mil milhões de consumidores e que constitui, por isso, uma plataforma impulsionadora de progresso do continente.
Os parceiros internacionais de África devem acreditar e apostar no nosso mercado porque terão seguramente um retorno satisfatório dos seus investimentos nos diferentes sectores das nossas economias em que decidirem investir.
Pretendemos atender às expectativas dos jovens africanos que se veem forçados a tentar realizar os seus sonhos fora do seu continente em contextos de adaptação quase sempre difícil, para além do elevado risco de vida que muitos deles enfrentam ao fazerem perigosas travessias do Mediterrâneo.
Angola tem-se assumido como promotora do diálogo que, em nossa opinião, não se deve limitar aos espaços políticos e diplomáticos, mas abranger também um vasto leque de protagonistas, designadamente organizações da sociedade civil, empresas e indivíduos, cabendo um lugar de destaque à juventude, verdadeira força motora das transformações que almejamos para garantir o progresso das nossas nações.
Foi imbuída deste espírito que Angola decidiu albergar o Fórum Pan-africano para a Cultura de Paz em África organizado em parceria com a União Africana e a UNESCO, cuja 3ª edição realizar-se-á em Novembro deste ano em Luanda.
O Fórum, também conhecido como «Bienal de Luanda», constitui uma plataforma privilegiada de intercâmbio entre diferentes culturas, religiões e modelos sociais, através de sessões interactivas e construtivas para identificar, promover e difundir modelos viáveis e inclusivos de resolução pacífica de conflitos a nível do continente africano, podendo servir como uma referência potencialmente inspiradora para outras regiões do mundo.
A República de Angola tem procurado contribuir com a sua experiência em termos de construção da paz, da harmonia e da reconciliação nacional, para a resolução de conflitos que assolam o continente africano, com especial enfâse para o que ocorre na RDC, onde acreditamos que se poderá construir uma base de confiança entre os beligerantes, que contribua para um abrandamento da tensão na região dos Grandes Lagos e conduza à tão almejada paz.
These measures to contain the expansion of terrorism and other destabilization actions imply financial costs that our countries are not always able to bear and which, therefore, can compromise the success of the pacification operations that are carried out and bring them to the ground. the hopes that are nurtured around these processes. It is therefore essential that we reaffirm the need for adequate, sustainable and predictable financing for efforts to combat terrorism on the continent, which is why I consider it opportune to renew the call to the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, for the use of assessed contributions for peace support operations mandated by the African Union. Until relatively recently, the SAHEL region was devastated only by the action of terrorist groups reinforced by paid mercenaries, who, having found a power vacuum in Libya, settled there and expanded into neighboring countries. In addition to this already dangerous situation, more or less in the same region a wave of unconstitutional changes of power led by the military emerged. These new powers should not be rewarded with the possibility of sharing the same political stages with us, otherwise we would be sending a wrong message, contrary to the principles we defend. We are increasingly convinced of the existence of an invisible hand interested in the destabilization of our continent, only concerned with the expansion of its sphere of influence, which we know does not bring the necessary guarantees for the economic and social development of African countries. The International Community is concerned not only with the situation in the SAHEL countries, the Horn of Africa, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also with the conflict in Sudan, which in addition to the high number of deaths, injuries, destruction of the country’s infrastructure, caused a countless number of internally displaced people and refugees, having already become one of the biggest humanitarian catastrophes the world knows and whose consequences are resented by neighboring countries.
The World cannot forget the suffering of the Palestinian people and, much less, ignore the need to resolve the conflict in the Middle East, with emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, whose formula of two States living side by side in a peaceful manner, has already It was found by the United Nations years ago without any progress, just needing to be implemented. The international community runs the risk of being accused of giving different treatment, favoring the conflict in Europe to the detriment of others, because they are in the Middle East or Africa where the one in Sudan is as deadly and destructive as the one in Ukraine, but which it deserves less coverage from the international media and less attention from the major decision-making centers on world peace and security. In Europe, the war between Russia and Ukraine must deserve all our attention and the urgency to put an immediate end to it, due to the levels of human and material destruction that is recorded there, due to the risk of an escalation into a major conflict on a global scale. and the incidence of its harmful effects on energy and food security. All evidence indicates that it is unlikely that there will be winners and losers on the battlefield, which is why the parties involved should be encouraged to favor the path of dialogue and diplomacy as soon as possible, establish a ceasefire and negotiate. lasting peace not only for the belligerent countries, but which guarantees the security of Europe and contributes to global peace and security. Excellencies, In the last three years we have faced a major global challenge posed to us by the COVID-19 pandemic, which demonstrated the importance and strength of solidarity between Nations, as a basis for facing and resolving major global problems. This example should serve as a paradigm for our behavior to face other challenges, especially those relating to the fight against poverty, the disparities between developing and developed countries in the field of science and technology, which represent, as we all know, important factors and essential to boost the development and well-being of the people of our planet.
The coordination and articulation between all the Nations of the World, which was the dominant note in the process of combating COVID-19, highlighted the central role of multilateral institutions. For this reason, we consider that pluralism in international relations is the main guarantee of the effectiveness of the actions we undertake to resolve the major issues affecting Humanity today. It is clear that from the perspective of multilateralism, the United Nations must be able to assume an effective role in fulfilling its duties, urgently imposing the need to reform the Security Council, so that this body reflects the reality of current times, totally and profoundly different from that experienced immediately after the end of the Second World War. The Republic of Angola therefore defends the need to review the representation of the different regions of the world in the Security Council. In this area, with regard to the African continent, we defend the Ezulwini consensus and the Sirte Declaration, which establish the need to grant Africa seats as permanent members of the Security Council, with all the privileges inherent to the category. Excellencies, The United Nations has been dealing for decades with a series of situations in which a set of resolutions have been adopted that are simply ignored and disrespected, without this producing any consequences for its protagonists. I think it is necessary for us to reflect together on the need to seek to create mechanisms that reinforce the authority of the UN, so that we do not discredit it or weaken its decisive role in the construction of an effective global peace and security architecture, to which all nations in the world they must feel bound by a strong sense of commitment, regardless of their economic and military power. It is, therefore, timely to highlight the importance of complying with current resolutions regarding the embargo against Cuba and the conflict that has persisted in the Middle East for decades between Israel and Palestine.
It is important to remember that in 2021, I participated in a Security Council meeting in this city with the purpose of discussing the issue of lifting the embargo on the supply of weapons to the Central African Republic, and since then no progress has been recorded on this matter, which seriously affects the exercise of a fundamental right of countries to have their own National Army to guarantee the defense of Independence, Sovereignty and the normal functioning of the country’s institutions. I reiterate once again the relevance of placing the approach to this issue on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, so that a decision can be taken that allows the Central African Republic to fully fulfill its role as an independent and sovereign State, without having the need to resort to hiring foreign paramilitary forces for an indefinite period of time. Excellencies. The Republic of Angola presides over the OEACP Summit of Heads of State and Government, which gives us the responsibility to address some aspects relating to this organization. The negotiation of the partnership agreement between the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States with the European Union was successfully concluded, the signing ceremony of which should take place soon, thus marking a new phase of this cooperation adapted to the current reality and aspirations of the Member States of both organizations. This important instrument on which cooperation between the OEACP and the European Union will be based defines the bases on which actions will be designed in the most varied areas, with a special emphasis on environmental sustainability and climate change, human and social development and migration and mobility. As Your Excellencies know, the OEACP integrates 79 countries from three continents and three oceans, representing an enormous potential for cooperation for those who establish partnerships in priority areas for the Member States, thus generating reciprocal benefits. I take this opportunity to launch an appeal to investors to look at the OEACP countries as a safe destination with important advantages for their businesses.
Excellencies, Allow me to also take the opportunity that this platform gives us to, in brief, refer to the issue of climate change which represents, in current times, a central concern for Humanity, Governments and societies in all our countries. The International Community must seek to fulfill, as far as possible, the promises that were made in the last two editions of the COP on climate finance, so that at the COP 28 Summit, to be held in the United Arab Emirates, this topic leaves to absorb a significant part of the agenda so that we can concretely address the need to urgently implement the measures to be taken with a view to reducing polluting gases, reducing deforestation, reducing global warming and thus saving our planet Earth while it is still time. Allow me to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Government and the Angolan people, to express our deep feelings of condolence to the authorities and people of Morocco and Libya, for the sudden loss of thousands of human lives and valuable national heritage, such as consequence of natural disasters. Our total solidarity with family and loved ones, who feel the pain of the irreparable loss of loved ones.
Thank you all!