The Vice President of Uganda Jessica Alupo delivered a powerful speech at the UN General Assembly, speaking on different topics, including climate change, South-South Cooperation, the Russia-Ukraine military conflict, and terrorism, among others.
Read the full speech below:
I congratulate you on your election as President of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly and assure you of Uganda’s full support. I would like to thank H.E. Mr. Abdulla Shahid for his stewardship of the 76th Session. I pay tribute to the Secretary-General, H.E. António Guterres, for his commitment to the work of the United Nations.
This Session is being held in person for the first time since 2020 when the COVID19 pandemic made it impossible. It is a timely reminder of the urgent need to strengthen international cooperation, collaboration and solidarity for the world to take transformative actions to address the common challenges that include; poverty, health pandemics, climate change, food insecurity and biodiversity loss among others.
As we celebrate seventy-seven years of the United Nations, we need a revitalized organization that is fit for purpose. We need this organization stronger than before. We believe that multilateralism is fundamental and crucial in addressing our common challenges.
We believe that by acting together as nations in solidarity, the world can effectively address the current and emerging challenges.
Responding to COVID19 has taught us a lot. We should scale up cooperation in vaccine production capacity and resource mobilization, to support efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID19. We are thankful to our bilateral and multilateral partners that supported our response to the COVID19 challenge.
The Government of Uganda attaches importance to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and continues to register progress in its implementation. It has continued to strengthen institutional coordination to achieve the seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the National SDG Secretariat has been strengthened to support the coordination architecture, to ensure that the country stays on track in implementing the SDGs.
The Government has fully mainstreamed the SDGs in the National Development Plan and is working together with the UN family and other stakeholders.
This will sustain and strengthen collaboration with all actors. However, effective implementation of the agenda will require support in areas such as transfer of technology, capacity building and financing.
Climate change remains one of the greatest challenges of our time. Our collective effort to fight climate change is an irreversible process that must continue.
However, we must note that despite contributing an insignificant amount of global greenhouse gas emissions, the African continent like many developing regions of the world suffer the effects of climate change to a disproportionate degree.
Uganda, for instance continues to experience prolonged droughts, melting of ice caps at its highest mountain, Mt. Ruwenzori, floods, erratic rainfall patterns and landslides.
But like His Excellency President Museveni has said, the climate problem is also a result of irresponsible and sometimes greedy human actions. Likewise, if under-development persists, we should forget about conserving the environment.
It is regrettable and hypocritical that some of the regions and nations that mismanaged the environment and are disproportionately responsible for global warming have embarked on a rigorous campaign to thwart the efforts of other countries, to responsibly and sustainably develop the oil and gas sectors.
Our view is that development should be environmentally friendly, inclusive and provide benefits for all – it should leave no one behind.
Uganda has continued to scale up investments in climate adaptation and mitigation measures, in particular, increasing access to clean energy to enhance production, and increasing forest and wetland cover, among other interventions.
Climate change actions must uphold the principle of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, consistent with national context. We, therefore urge the developed countries in line with the Paris Agreement to fully deliver on the USD100 billion goal commitments per year, to assist developing countries in their climate change actions to mitigate the adverse effects.
South-South Cooperation, a framework of international cooperation within the global south, continues to play a vital role in supporting developing countries in their efforts to address interlocking challenges. We applaud countries in the global south for their solidarity in responding to global challenges.
Uganda will continue to work and support the strengthening of the North-South, South-South and Triangular Cooperation within the United Nations. As host of the Third South Summit, we look forward to welcoming the leaders of the Group of 77 and China to Kampala, Uganda, from 10th to 12th December 2023.
The world is currently facing many challenges that undermine international peace and security. The Russia-Ukraine military conflict continues to cause more suffering, destruction and displacement of the civilian population, mostly women and children.
The longer it persists, the more suffering, destruction and displacement we shall witness. We are deeply concerned about the loss of lives and the serious humanitarian situation. Uganda supports dialogue with a view to reaching a peaceful resolution to the crisis.
My President has said many times, "We think the best way is to negotiate. Everybody who wants peace in the world should support negotiations in order to get balanced peace that ensures safety for all".
Terrorism is one of the major threats to peace, security and stability, as well as social and economic development in the world today. No region of the world has been safe from the scourge of terrorism. Terrorism and violent extremism continue to bring death and suffering to innocent people. Terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), continue to commit terrorist acts in our region.
As a community of nations, we must be unwavering in our resolve to prevent and combat terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations.
We should act in a coordinated manner at the national, regional and global level to counter this threat. Uganda will continue to support and actively participate in global and regional counter-terrorism efforts.
Peace, security and development are inextricably linked and should be pursued simultaneously. In the recent period we have seen some progress in our quest for peace and security in our region.
Uganda working with partners in the region and beyond continues to support and advance peace and security efforts in the region. We remain actively involved in regional initiatives such as those of the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the East African Community (EAC), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and are encouraged by the progress that we continue to make.
We believe that long-term and sustainable solutions lie in these collaborative processes.
The international community and the United Nations in particular should therefore continue to support conflict prevention initiatives undertaken by these regional and sub-regional organizations.
Experience has shown that when and where this happened the chances of success have been high.
The conflicts in our region and beyond have led to an inevitable refugee influx into Uganda.
Currently, we have over 1.5 million refugees in the country. The largest refugee population on the continent of Africa and the third largest in the world. We are committed to working with refugee-sending countries, and regional and international partners to address the causes of the refugee crises.
We urge the international community to continue supporting our efforts in the region.
The need to reform the UN Security Council is now more urgent and imperative than ever before.
The present geopolitical realities are more compelling for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council to make way for equitable representation.
Africa with more than one billion citizens, and with over seventy percent of issues on the agenda of the Council, continues to suffer the historical injustice of having no representation in the Permanent category of the Security Council and is under-represented in the non-Permanent category too.
It is time this long-standing injustice and imbalance, perpetuated in the present configuration of the Security Council, is addressed.
Uganda supports the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council and we urge Member States to continue working towards achieving progress in the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN), so that Africa can assume its rightful place in the Security Council.
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) remains a strong pillar in addressing the global challenges within the United Nations. We remain actively involved in the NAM, in line with its purposes and principles. In this regard, Uganda will continue to collectively work with other NAM countries to further strengthen the critical role that the Movement plays within the United Nations.
As the host of the 19th NAM Summit, we look forward to welcoming the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement to the next Summit in Kampala, Uganda from 5th to 9th December 2023.
I thank you for your attention.