The President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Abdulla Shahid, has highlighted the important roles indigenous groups play in protecting biodiversity.
Shahid spoke at the opening of the 21st session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on Monday in New York.
This year marks the beginning of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, running from 2022 to 2032.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that it is the first time in three years that the Forum is held in-person at the UN headquarters due to COVID-19 pandemic.
UNGA president said that for generations, indigenous communities had prioritised a relationship with nature – grounded in kinship, centered around reciprocity and infused with reverence.
“By emulating their example on a broader scale, we can preserve the Earth’s rich biodiversity and diverse landscapes,” he said.
Shahid pointed out that indigenous people comprise less than five per cent of the global population yet protect 80 per cent of global biodiversity.
He stressing that high linguistic diversity occurs where conditions for biological diversity thrive, saying, “It’s the richness of one that sustains the other’’.
Shahid said there was growing scientific evidence that indigenous languages that are rich in oral traditions offer evidence for events that happened thousands of years ago.
“By preserving and promoting these languages, we preserve and promote an important part of our human heritage, identity and belonging.
“We have an obligation to ensure that they can participate in and benefit from the work of the United Nations,” he said.
Also addressing participants, UN Economic and Social Council President Collen Vixen Kelapile said the Forum’s expert advice – as an advisory body to the Council – is crucial to highlighting the key issues affecting indigenous peoples.
Kelapile said the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development– to be held in July and feature the national reviews of 45 Member States – will offer a significant opportunity for indigenous peoples to showcase their traditional knowledge on biodiversity, climate change and environmental stewardship.
He urged Member States to seek their participation, adding: “I look forward to your recommendations which should be built into the Council’s different platforms”.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin stressed that indigenous peoples customarily claim and manage more than 50 per cent of the world’s land, yet only legally own 10 per cent of it.
Zhenmin address was delivered by Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs Maria-Francesca Spatolisano.
In his remarks, the Chair of the Forum, Darío José Mejía Montalvo of Colombia said the 2022 theme touches upon the cosmos visions through which indigenous peoples had developed their systems for food, culture and coexistence with nature on their territories.
“We share a holistic relationship with nature, where rights are not anthropocentric. An infinity of sacred histories and stories underpin our visions of the world.”
According to him, ancestors too have rights – including to exist – because their task is enduring in the preservation of life and these ancestral practices maintain life in all its forms, with dignity.
Therefore, he said the question of whether indigenous knowledge is scientific is “meaningless”: concepts of life, energy and spirituality are synonymous
He added that separating them from an economic, religious or other point of view leads to confusion, disputes and unnecessary clashes. (NAN) (
We welcome the UK's commitment to new funding to protect the most vulnerable, particularly in Africa.LONDON, UK, December 30, 2021 / APO Group / -
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has pledged up to £ 105 million in emergency aid from the UK to help vulnerable countries tackle the Omicron Covid-19 variant, with a particular focus on Africa.
Vital aid will be delivered through trusted partners and:Scaling up testing, especially in parts of Africa where testing rates for Covid-19 remain the lowest, allowing healthcare systems to track and respond to the spread of the virus more effectively. This is in addition to the UK's world leading genomic sequencing support. Improve access to oxygen supplies for ventilators: An increase in oxygen demand is a significant risk for some countries. Provide communities with hygiene tips, products, and access to hand-washing facilities and support deep cleaning in schools, health centers, and other public places. This will build on the successful global hygiene campaign between UK aid and Unilever, which has reached over 1.2 billion people since its launch in 2020. Funding UK pioneering science and research on spreading variants like Omicron to enable innovative evidence-based policy. responses in low- and middle-income countries. Prepare the UK's own expert emergency teams for deployment abroad at critical crisis points, including with new medical teams.
The government also confirmed today that more than 30 million vaccines have so far been delivered as part of the UK's commitment to donate 100 million doses to the world, benefiting more than 30 countries.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:
"The UK is providing vital assistance to help tackle the spread of new variants around the world. This is key to securing our freedom and ending this pandemic once and for all."
"I am proud that we have also delivered over 30 million vaccines to benefit our friends around the world this year. The UK is helping other countries in need. No one is safe until everyone is safe."
The doses donated by the United Kingdom have reached four continents and have provided vital protection against Covid-19 in countries such as Angola, Cambodia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Malawi, Nepal and Rwanda.
Of the more than 30 million doses donated now, COVAX has received 24.6 million for shipment to countries and 5.5 million have been shared directly with countries in need, including Kenya, Jamaica and Indonesia.
In 2022, millions more vaccines will be shipped to other countries, including 20 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca and 20 million doses of Janssen.
The UK has been at the forefront of the global response to Covid-19. Today's announcement builds on the £ 1.3 billion in aid from the UK committed to the international health response at the onset of the pandemic, supporting vaccines, health systems and economic recovery in developing countries.
The government also invested more than £ 88 million to support the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, with the UK today becoming the first country in the world to approve the jab a year ago.
Thanks to AstraZeneca's commitment to distribute the vaccine on a non-profit basis, 2.5 billion doses have been used in more than 170 countries, two-thirds of which are low- and middle-income countries.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
"The global pandemic has challenged health systems around the world and the best way to overcome this terrible disease is to unite and stand alongside our international partners.
"By supporting countries with UK groundbreaking science and variant spread research, improving access to oxygen and expanding testing, we will help those most in need chart their course out of the pandemic.
"I am proud that we have already delivered over 30 million vaccines to our friends abroad. The UK, as a world leader, is helping other countries that need it most. No one is safe until everyone is safe." .
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, said:
"We welcome the UK's commitment to new funding to protect the most vulnerable, particularly in Africa; the UK's continued focus on COVAX and equitable global access to COVID19 vaccines, both through early funding commitments. assumed at the UNGA 2020, as well as when complying with the G7 Commitment with the distribution of doses: the goal of 30 million established by the end of 2021.
"We look forward to implementing the remainder of the UK dose distribution commitment through COVAX in 2022, whilst also working with the UK government to continue to support Gavi's ambitious routine 2021-2025 vaccination programs, from of which the United Kingdom is the largest funder through the commitment of the Prime Minister made at the World Summit on Vaccines organized by the United Kingdom in June 2020. "
VIDEO No new video Coal Share Copy Embed
The report identifies forty economies that could immediately commit to the "No New Coal"LONDON, UK, October 13, 2021 / APO Group / -
New analysis (https://bit.ly/2YOzDFM) shows that the global pipeline of new coal-fired power projects is shrinking rapidly as momentum builds for “No New Coal” beyond 2021. Five African nations - Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe - are part of a minority group of just 21 countries that have more than one new coal-fired power plant in the planning stages.
The five African countries all have projects seeking funding from China, which now faces an uncertain future following China's recent announcement that it will end support for overseas coal projects.
African countries are well placed to commit to “No New Coal”: there are only four coal-fired power plants under construction on the continent, in South Africa and Zimbabwe, and only three have become operational since 2015.
The "No New Coal Factbook" (https://bit.ly/3ABx6LY) published by think tanks Ember, E3G and Global Energy Monitor, provides the status of each coal mining country in the world that has not yet confirmed that 'He will no longer build coal-fired power plants. The International Energy Agency has said no new coal-fired power plants should be approved beyond 2021 to limit global heating to 1.5 ° C.
The report identifies forty economies that could immediately commit to “No New Coal”. Thirty-six of them have no projects in development or under construction, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan and Zambia.
16 other economies have only one coal power plant proposal and could easily embark on any new coal project, including Djibouti, eSwatini, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger and Tanzania.
The report comes as seven governments, including Sri Lanka, Chile and Germany, announced (https://bit.ly/2X5OTx1) a “No New Coal Power Compact” at the UNGA on September 24, inviting more countries to join the pledge ahead of the COP26 Climate Summit in November.
A recent report (https://bit.ly/3BJ75fe) from E3G, Ember and GEM showed how the global pipeline of proposed coal-fired power plants has collapsed 76% since the Paris Agreement in 2015. Since 2015 , 44 governments have already formally committed not to build any new coal-fired power plants, especially in Angola, Ethiopia and Senegal.
United Nations Secretary-General Guterres has called for "no new coal by 2021", while COP President-designate Alok Sharma called for COP26 in November 2021 to "put coal in the pipeline. 'story".
With China's recent announcement that it will no longer build overseas coal-fired power projects, following similar pledges made earlier this year by Japan and South Korea, the pipeline's cancellation Global pre-construction coal project will undoubtedly accelerate. Twenty-four countries were seeking Chinese support for new coal-fired power plants and the announcement opens the door to canceling those projects and prioritizing clean energy.
By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari is back in Abuja after a busy week of engagement at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States of America.
The Nigerian News Agency reports that the Nigerian leader has returned with a special request from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to help restore socio-political order in African countries of the West in trouble.
Guterres, who praised Buhari for his leadership roles in Africa as well as for stabilizing the West African sub-region, was speaking during an audience with the Nigerian leader on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UNGA.
The UN secretary observed that Africa, especially West Africa, was generally seen as an ocean of stability and good governance, but was deeply concerned about the recent reversal of the democratic situation in some parts of the West African sub-region with coups to overthrow elected institutions. .
He therefore urged Buhari to continue showing leadership as he looks to Nigeria to help stabilize the sub-region in terms of democracy and good governance.
Regarding terrorism, the Secretary General praised Nigeria's efforts on this global phenomenon.
Guterres assured the Nigerian leader of the continued support of the UN in her efforts to address the security and humanitarian challenges that have arisen in particular with the internally displaced people.
The President congratulated Gutterres on his global leadership and the success of the 76th session.
On September 22, Buhari participated via a video message in the high-level hybrid event, labeled “Transformative Actions for Nature and People”, on the sidelines of the UNGA.
He revealed that the federal government had launched specific actions to combat and reverse the serious trend of biodiversity loss, which is affecting the whole world.
Also in New York, on September 23, Buhari at the Food Systems Summit, as part of the high-level meetings of the 76th session of the UNGA, reaffirmed the federal government's commitment to achieve national food security.
He said Nigeria has developed a “food system-focused development agenda that prioritizes healthy diets and affordable, inclusive, efficient, resilient and sustainable nutrition, which will help rebuild our economy, create jobs and stimulate growth in all sectors, while preserving our ecosystems ”.
The Nigerian leader, who addressed the 76th session of the United Nations Assembly on September 24, alarmed the recent trend of unconstitutional seizure of power in some West African countries, urging world leaders to reject such illegal acts.
According to Buhari, such unconstitutional takeovers, sometimes in reaction to unilateral constitutional changes by some leaders, should not be tolerated by the international community.
The president warned that the democratic gains of the last decades in West Africa "are now being eroded" because of these negative trends.
He urged the G20 countries to extend their debt suspension initiatives to all developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing states facing fiscal and liquidity challenges.
The president also called for outright debt cancellation for countries facing the most serious challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The speech also touched on his administration's efforts in the fight against corruption, debt suspension, international trade, reform of the UN Security Council, the Palestinian question and racial discrimination, among others.
While still in New York, Buhari reiterated his administration's determination to work on an ambitious energy plan aimed at reducing energy deficits by 2030.
He spoke about Nigeria's role as champion of the global theme for energy transition, the theme of the high-level dialogue on energy on the sidelines of the 76th UNGA.
The President said: “Nigeria's commitment to a just transition is reflected in our ambitious Energy Pact, which includes the government's flagship project to electrify 5 million homes and 20 million people using electricity. decentralized solar energy solutions.
Also on the sidelines of the 76th UNGA, Buhari engaged some world leaders, including the President of Burundi; Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of America to the United Nations; Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte; as well as the Queen of the Netherlands, Her Majesty Maxima Zorreguieta, in bilateral talks.
Also reports that the presidential plane that took off from JFK International Airport in New York on Saturday around 11:40 a.m. local time landed in the presidential wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Sunday at 5 a.m. 20
Discussed the close friendly relations between the two friendly countries, joint efforts to develop bilateral cooperation in various fieldsMANAMA, Bahrain, September 23, 2021 / APO Group / -
On the sidelines of the activities of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 76), the Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Dr Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, met today at the headquarters of the South African mission to of the United Nations in New York, Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of the Friendly Republic of South Africa, HE Dr Naledi Pandor.
During the meeting, they discussed the close friendly relations between the two friendly countries, joint efforts to develop bilateral cooperation in various fields and ways to broaden the horizons of trade and investment to serve the common interests as well as a number of regional and international issues. of common interest.
The meeting took place in the presence of the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United Nations in New York, HE Ambassador Jamal Faris Al-Ruwaie and the delegation accompanying HE the Minister.
By Cecilia Ologunagba
President Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday in New York, assured world leaders that Nigeria has launched specific actions to combat and reverse the severe loss of biodiversity affecting the world.
Buhari spoke in a video message to the high-level hybrid event titled “Transformative Actions for Nature and People” on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly UNGA 76.
Besides promoting regional and interregional cooperation to fight the scourge, the Nigerian leader described other measures, including the creation of more parks in the country.
“Extension of protected areas, including the creation of ten new national parks across the country as well as the creation of marine protected areas in accordance with the 30X30 agenda of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD).
“In addition, the Nigerian government will integrate international agreements, conventions, as well as laws and policies for the protection and conservation of biodiversity,” he said.
According to him, the country will rely on the cooperation and partnerships of development partners as well as international organizations and coalitions for concrete action against deforestation and biodiversity loss.
He said Nigeria will implement more projects on deforestation, increased investments in climate and nature positive economy for environment sustainable and land use practices.
He expressed his gratitude to the President of Costa Rica, His Excellency Carlos Alvarado Quesada, whose country currently chairs the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC) of which Nigeria is also a member and co-chair for the opportunity to be part of “ this great event.
The UN correspondent of the Nigeria News Agency reports that Buhari arrived in New York on Sunday to attend the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
He is due to present Nigeria's statement to the General Assembly on Friday.
· First multi-stakeholder initiative to address global mobile internet access gap has been launched by Vodafone Group and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as co-chairs via a dedicated Working Group under the auspices of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.
· Of the 3.7 billion people not connected to the internet, 3.4 billion live within range of mobile networks but are currently not accessing the internet, partly due to a lack of smartphone ownership1.
· Accelerated use of digital public services during the pandemic, mobile money, and the need for digital skills for jobs has made mobile internet access through a smartphone more important than ever.
UNGA, New York, September 20, 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- A major new initiative has been launched by Vodafone Group Plc and ITU, the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communication technologies, to address the global digital divide, with the aim that an additional 3.4 billion people could have the ability to access and use the internet through a smartphone by 2030.
With mobile broadband (4G) networks now covering 82% of the population of Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), the mobile usage gap is 6x larger than the mobile coverage gap.2
In line with the Broadband Commission Global Targets 2025 on affordability and connectivity, the new Working Group will identify policy, commercial and circular-economy interventions to increase smartphone access.
Co-chaired by Vodafone Group CEO, Nick Read, and ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, the Group’s launch partners also include: the Alliance for Affordable Internet; GSMA; the government of Ghana; Safaricom; Smart Africa; Vodacom Group; and the World Wide Web Foundation.
Mobile accounts for 86% of connections to the internet in LMICs3, emphasising the importance of mobile in addressing this issue. Yet billions of people continue to use ‘dumb’ feature phones, without an internet connection, and the 2G market continues to grow. That means the digital divide is widening as the global pandemic has accelerated the emergence of digital societies and smartphones are increasingly an essential gateway to access public services – including education and medical support – financial services, jobs and to run businesses.4
Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group, said: “Vodafone is honoured to be part of this monumental global initiative with the UN, to improve the lives of billions of people through smartphone access. As our societies become more digital, everyone should have the ability to find jobs, be able to get public services, financial services and critical information that are increasingly only available through the internet. This is such a complex challenge that no network operator, device manufacturer, financial services provider or national government can solve on their own – but working together we can break through the barriers.”
Shameel Joosub, CEO of Vodacom Group said: “We are aware of the many different socio-economic complexities and dynamics which continue to prevent universal digital access in modern society, which should be a right and not a privilege. The pledge by the United Nations, Vodafone Group Plc and the ITU to increase smartphone access for 3.4 billion people around the world is timely and important. As Vodacom works to connect the next 100 million African people through its Africa.Connected campaign, we look forward to supporting Vodafone’s ambition to ensure that no one is excluded from the global digital economy, and may enjoy access to education, jobs, public and financial services.”
Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of the ITU, said: “Achieving the Broadband Commission Global Targets requires a multi-stakeholder approach. I am pleased to co-chair this newly established Working Group, which will also help address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that we put smart devices in the hands of those who are left behind.”
Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, said: “The UN Secretary General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation aims to achieve universal connectivity by 2030. Smartphone access is a key element of this in low- and middle-income countries where mobile is the principal route to the internet. As such, this working group can have an important role in ensuring that the shift to digital technology is beneficial and makes our societies more equal and not less.”
The Honourable Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ghana, said: “While Ghana and other countries have made great strides in the development of mobile infrastructure and the usage of digital services such as mobile money, it is noticeable that 45% of people in West Africa are covered by mobile broadband networks but do not use the internet. Addressing the mobile internet usage gap is vital for the long-term economic development of my country and many others across the world and will require new partnerships and focused action from a range of organisations.”
The Broadband Commission Working Group will produce a report and set of concrete recommendations including:
· original analysis and data on the smartphone access gap;
· quantification of the social and economic impact of providing everyone with smartphone access by 2030, including assessment of moving users from 2G feature phones to 4G smartphones; and
· analysis of initiatives or pilots designed to increase smartphone access. Vodafone Group has committed to launch two pilot projects on device affordability as part of this process.
“This partnership is key to expand access to the internet,” said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. “I am confident that the outcome report will provide guidance to all our stakeholders as we prepare for the ITU World Telecommunication Development Conference in 2022 to build a world where no one is left off-line.”
To coincide with the creation of the new Working Group, Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom have also published the second ‘Africa.Connected’ report today on accelerating 4G for sub-Saharan Africa. The report, by independent consultancy Caribou Digital, suggests a multi-stakeholder approach with four key steps to enhancing digital inclusion across African nations, where the mobile usage gap is the largest in the world:
1. Making 4G devices more accessible – Nearly 2.5 billion people live in countries where the cost of the cheapest available smartphone is unaffordable. Expanding device financing schemes for those with poor or no credit history; reducing the amount of tax on 4G smartphone imports and increasing local manufacturing of devices within Africa are suggested as ways to address this issue.
2. Invest in the demand for 4G services – 375 million young Africans are expected to enter the labour market by 2030 and will need the skills to excel in a digital economy. The report suggests increasing financing and support for digital start-ups and that device manufacturers could create more inclusive products.
3. Providing targeted financing for underserved demographics – Programmes need to take account of, and target, the large gender gap and rural-urban gap that exist in respect of device ownership in sub-Saharan Africa.
4. Re-farming 2G spectrum – Repurposing mobile spectrum currently used for 2G devices would enable more people to use 4G.
By Ismaila Chafe
President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Sunday for New York, United States of America, to participate in the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76).
The session opened on Tuesday, Sept. 14.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s Spokesman, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
The theme for this year’s UNGA is, “Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalize the United Nations.”
Adesina revealed that the Nigerian leader would address the Assembly during the General Debates on Friday, Sept. 24 when he will speak on the theme of the conference and other global issues.
”In the course of the Assembly, the Nigerian leader and members of the delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as; The High Level Meeting to Commemorate The Twentieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action on the theme “Reparations, Racial Justice and Equality for People of African Descent.”
”The delegation will also participate in Food Systems Summit; High Level Dialogue on Energy; and The High Level Plenary Meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” he added.
According to the presidential aide, Buhari will also hold bilateral meetings with a number of other leaders of delegations and heads of International Development organisations.
He said the president would be accompanied to New York by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN); and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.
Also on the President’s delegation are: National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd); Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar; Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.
”President Buhari is expected back in the country on Sept. 26,” he said.
Proud moments for Nigeria over Muhammad-Bande’s exceptional tenure as UNGA president
A News Analysis by Prudence Arobani, News Agency of Nigeria
Recently, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, completed his one-year tenure as president of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, becoming the second Nigerian to occupy the exalted global position after 30 years.
Analysts say Muhammad-Bande’s tenure was strategic for many reasons and most importantly, how he navigated the uncharted waters of COVID-19 pandemic that brought the whole world to its knees during his presidency, by which he has received a plethora of rare accolades among the diplomatic circles and on the global stage.
They also say that UN members are known for an inclination of dissatisfaction with almost everything, especially the performance of those who lead their organs due to constant divisions among the 193-member states and to impress them, therefore, one has to work extremely hard, while dishing out praises to people leading them is a once-in-a-while occurrence.
It was, therefore, a moment of pride for Nigeria and Africa as a whole at the various receptions organised by ambassadors at the UN to celebrate the successful completion of the 74th session, as member states took turns to pour rare accolades on the Nigerian diplomat for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance at a critical moment in the life of the global body.
Leading the pack of speakers was the Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, who prior to this time, had not attended any in-persons meeting due to COVID-19 protocols but had to ‘break’ his own protocol for the first time in six months just to honour the quintessential diplomat.
In emotion-laden remarks, Guterres described Muhammad-Bande as the “miracle” needed by the UN General Assembly to weather the COVID-19 storm to accomplish all that it set out to do, adding that the 193-member body is able to carry out its work through novel means that guaranteed business continuity while mitigating the spread of the disease.
He attributed the General Assembly’s success story largely to Muhammad-Bande’s “diplomatic skills, wisdom and calmness’’ in getting member states together and working through their differences to reach consensus.
“When we started to see the COVID-19 spreading and when we saw the measures that were taken everywhere in the world and in particular here in New York, for a moment, I thought it would be impossible for the General Assembly to do its job.
“And what I believe is absolutely remarkable is that with all the restrictions that we had, with all the physical impediments that we had, the General Assembly of the United Nations was able to fully deliver in the elections which mattered. And not one single of important decisions that was supposed to be passed was postponed.
Guterres, however, said that Muhammad-Bande’s success was because of his deeply rooted goodness: “in my own opinion the reason for the miracle is because Muhammad-Bande is a good man’’.
The new President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, also said that the Nigerian diplomat has highlighted the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals, established the International Day of Education as Permanent Representative of Nigeria, raised the profile of education at the UN, an international gender champion he has built momentum towards the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, and paid particular attention to poverty eradication.
“He led the General Assembly through uncharted waters; at a time of uncertainty he pioneered hybrid and digital diplomacy to ensure business continuity; even after suffering great personal loss (death of his mother in May), he remained available and responsive to all 193 member States.
“His style remains calm and visible at a crisis point in world’s history. I have no doubt that the legacy of the 74th president of the General Assembly will be defined by his good handling of a very difficult situation,’’ he said.
Similarly, the Chair, African Group of Ambassadors at the UN, Amb. Mohamed Edrees of Egypt, said that “Muhammad-Bande is a distinguished university professor, who is well known for his intellectual excellence, integrity and originality.
“He is a seasoned diplomat and an experienced ambassador, who blended the features of the two worlds: diplomatic and academic, to come out as a unique and distinguished personality that vividly reflected on his time as the president of the General Assembly.
“He assumed the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly during what was perhaps one of the most difficult times in its history since 1945.
“This exceptional time that witnessed the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic, led to drastic changes that bounced back in the methods, patterns of work and centre of focus and gravity in the United Nations, in a way that did not visit anyone’s imagination’’.
Also, the Chair Asian-Pacific Group, Amb. Tirumurti Srinivasamurti of India, lauded Muhammad-Bande’s exemplary leadership at the helm of the General Assembly in the unprecedented and difficult circumstances.
He said Muhammad-Bande’s stewardship ensured business continuity on important issues for the assembly and for the United Nations, including the adoption of more than 70 resolutions, conduct of socially distancing and important elections and several resolutions on COVID-19 pandemic with wide vote sponsorship, among others.
The Eastern European Group Chair and Hungary’s Permanent Representative, Katalin Bogyay, on her part commended Muhammad-Bande’s inclusive approach and exceptional work saying.
Also, the Latin American and Caribbean States Chair, Kitty Sweeb, lauded Nigerian diplomat’s unique leadership of the 74th session and for arriving at the end of a very difficult session of the General Assembly, which she said, has indeed been the most challenging as never before in 75 years.
In the same vein, the Chair, Western European and Group, Maria Zappia of Italy, Muhammad-Bande really represented the “wisdom of Africa’’.
“We particularly commend the emphasis you placed on conflict prevention, strengthening global action to tackle climate change, promoting partnership and advancement of the SDGs as well as accentuating inclusion, human rights and empowerment of youths and women.
“As the group has already manifested in many occasions, we also appreciate your style and manners, your availability to listen to all member states, your charismatic leadership and your always positive attitude proved to be invaluable in allowing us to navigate such difficult circumstances,’’ she said.
His Deputy Chief of Staff, Amb. Jerobeam Shaanika, said the president and his team lived to the session’s slogan: “striving together, delivering for all’’.
To Beatrice Maile, the president’s senior adviser on Legal Matters, the hallmarks for Muhammad-Bande success were “his leadership, the friendship, the mentorship, listening to our advice’’.
But analysts say while it is a proud moment when member states and institutions accorded recognition and appreciated Muhammad-Bande based on merit and excellence.
This was as Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, in a rare and natural flow of unrestrained emotions of thankfulness and appreciation, bashed the accomplished diplomat with praises in his special congratulatory letter to the Nigerian diplomat.
Buhari, who had impressed it upon Muhammad-Bande while visiting him after his inauguration in New York that the global support for his presidency of the UN General Assembly “puts a heavy weight on you” could not hide his pride for the diplomat as he described his tenure as “triumphant”.
“Your performance in the Assembly has made Nigeria exceptionally proud, and I wish to pay glowing tributes to you for your huge achievements as Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (UN). By this stellar performance, you have made history for Nigeria and indeed for the whole of Africa,’’ he said.
President Buhari also noted that the Permanent Representative “played a cardinal role by giving impetus to a number of UN global initiatives, one of which is advancing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly in poverty eradication, zero hunger and quality education,” stressing that “realizing these goals remains the objective of all developing countries.”
He also acknowledged Muhammad-Bande’s “achievements in multilateralism, and making Nigeria and Africa proud.
Also Nigeria’s Ambassador who was Charge d’Affaires and who was also elected as Interim President of the UN General Assembly Special Session on COVID-19 while Muhammad-Bande held forth as president, Samson Itegboje, said that Muhammad-Bande’s exemplary leadership was a fact that was all too obvious to the entire membership of the United Nations.
“Let it be shouted from the rooftop that you are the embodiment of a culture of peace. Your person exudes peace, just as your leadership style radiates peace. During this trying time of the COVID-19 pandemic, you have come through for the United Nations and for the world at large,’’ he said.
Behind the achievements and accolades, Muhammad-Bande commended his team and thanked the permanent representatives for a successful session.
Diplomats believe that as Muhammad-Bande returns to the UN following his reappointment as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative, his globally acclaimed integrity and incorruptibility set him high.(NANFeatures)
**If used, please credit the writer as well as News Agency of Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari has outlined measures by Nigeria to reverse biodiversity loss, expressing concern that most indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are facing extinction.
Mr Femi Adesina, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, said Buhari spoke in a video-message to the virtual 2020 Biodiversity Summit, held on the margins of the 75th UN General Assembly, in New York.
The president noted that Nigeria, like other countries, had a wide array of rich and invaluable national heritage that include an impressive network of wetlands, wildlife and forestry resources.
”Regrettably, most of the indigenous flora and fauna commonly found within the country are becoming endangered and facing extinction.
”To reverse this situation, we have developed the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan as an enabler for integrating biodiversity considerations into sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, plans and programmes at all levels of government.
”We are reviewing our biodiversity-related laws and developing shelterbelts across 11 States in the country. In addressing biodiversity loss, we are implementing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Programme in Ogoniland.
”The on-going clean-up is another landmark in the ecosystem restoration initiative of our administration. It is aimed at improving livelihoods of communities in the South-South Region of the country,” he said.
The Nigerian leader told the summit convened by the President of the 75th UNGA , Amb. Volkan Bozkir, that his administration had also approved a new National Forest Policy in July this year to ensure continuous socio-economic development.
The president explained that the new policy would provide optimal benefits to the people and government of Nigeria in a sustainably managed environment.
He added that the Nigerian government was also considering the development of a National Mangrove Restoration project to deliver qualitative livelihood benefits to the Niger Delta region.
He said: ”Furthermore, we are currently implementing a national programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
”This programme is aimed at discouraging deforestation, conserving already existing forests, enhancing carbon stock and mitigating climate change impact.
”We have also facilitated the designation of Finima Nature Park in Bonny Island, Rivers State as the 12th Ramsar Site of international importance.
”The government is equally incorporating biodiversity into tourism sector through a national programme targeted at combating illegal wildlife trade and trafficking in two pilot protected area sites, namely: Gashaka-Gumti National Park; and Yankari Games Reserve.’’
According to the president, the programme to combat illegal wildlife will contribute to the growth and development of a vibrant nature-based tourism sector that prevents extinction of threatened species.
On Nigeria’s international obligations, Buhari pledged that the country would expedite the process of accession to both the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation.
He also promised that Nigeria would meet its international obligations on the Nagoya-Kuala Lampur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
”Concerning ocean governance and marine biodiversity protection, Nigeria is among the first twelve countries to sign onto the 30 by 30 Global Ocean Alliance.
”Accordingly, we have identified two viable sites for the establishment of Marine Protected Areas to help in the protection, conservation and management of both marine and coastal biodiversity resources.
”Leveraging on the Strategic Action Plan of the Lake Chad Basin, Nigeria is spearheading sub-regional biodiversity action to mitigate insecurity, provide jobs, boost agricultural output, food security and reduce poverty.
”Towards the delivery of our biodiversity aspiration, Nigeria has concentrated on the provision of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Protocols adopted under the Convention and other relevant multilateral environmental agreements into national environmental policies and programmes,” he said.
Buhari also reiterated the call for rededicated international engagement in support of sub-regional efforts to raise the 50 billion dollars required towards recharging the Lake Chad.
He expressed Nigeria’s support for the development and implementation of a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, building on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and lessons learnt from the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020.
He also called for alignment of all national, sub-regional and regional biodiversity ambitions with all Internationally-Agreed development agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.
”In order to ensure that no country is left behind in meeting the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, Nigeria enjoins advanced economies to support developing nations with capacity building, technology transfer and technical assistance.
”I firmly believe that traditional knowledge, innovation and the application of nature-based solutions are plausible steps to drive the biodiversity agenda,” he said.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)