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Virtual UNGA addresses real world challenges

Virtual UNGA addresses real world challenges

Niël Terblanché

WORLD leaders since Tuesday gathered in cyber space for the 75th United Nations General Assembly to address challenges facing the planet in the physical realm.

 

The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions still in effect over much of the world meant that the historical 75th General Assembly could only be attended by a few world leaders while social distancing measures at the assembly hall in New York only allowed a single representative from each country to enter.

 

While addressing the assembly, Secretary General Antonio Guterres told those assembled and those leaders attending on virtual platforms that the avoidance of a third world war was a great achievement of which member states can be proud of.

 

Also making use of the virtual platform, President Hage Geingob while addressing the assembly led by its president, Volkan Bozkir from Turkey, said that with three quarters of a century behind it the United Nations ensured that human dignity prevailed and that the prevention of a third world war attests to the success of multilateralism.

 

“We recognize the pivotal role this distinguished organization has played to promote and sustain world peace, and in the decolonization of Africa. As Namibians, we can attest to this fact, given our own history,” Geingob said.

 

In this regard Dr. Geingob advocated for Africa to be represented on the United Nations Security Council.

 

He said Africa is a capable partner and that the continent should occupy her rightful position at the UN, in the interest of global peace and stability.

 

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Dr. Geingob’s address to the 75th UNGA reads as follows:


It has been 75 years since the establishment of this global body in the interest of upholding the values of humanity and the principles of equality. Indeed, for the past 75 years, the United Nations has become the guarantor of human dignity for millions of people across the world. The fact that for 75 years, we have averted a Third World War is testament to the success of this great human experiment in multilateralism.
We recognize the pivotal role this distinguished organization has played to promote and sustain world peace, and in the decolonization of Africa. As Namibians, we can attest to this fact, given our own history.
In 1960, Ethiopia and Liberia instituted proceedings against Apartheid South Africa at the International Court of Justice regarding the interpretation and application of the country’s mandate over Namibia, then South West Africa. On July 18, 1966, the International Court of Justice dismissed the case due to a technicality. Based on that technicality the ICJ did not deal with the merits of the Case and failed to rule on the legality of Apartheid South Africa’s occupation of Namibia. However, in the same year, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 2145 which declared the Mandate terminated and that the Republic of South Africa had no further right to administer Namibia. Therefore the United Nations assumed direct responsibility for Namibia.
Thus, we are grateful that the United Nations was able to accompany us to independence and it was a proud day, when on March 21, 1990, we received the instruments of power from Secretary General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, to commence a new chapter in Namibia’s history.
Not only did the United Nations contribute to the establishment of democracy in a free and independent
Namibia, it also laid a cornerstone for our democracy by establishing the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN), where I had the privilege to be a Director for 12 years. This Institute helped train young Namibians in order to equip them with the requisite expertise and knowledge to become leaders and administrators in an independent Namibia. To date, Namibia continues to reap the benefit from this extraordinary organization whose alumni include the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice amongst other key figures in the political, public and commercial spheres.
Indeed, the commemoration of this 75th Anniversary, is a great day for Namibia.
Given the illustrious history of the United Nations and the realities of the modern day world, it is unacceptable that Africa remains excluded from the United Nations Security Council. It is time that the United Nations Security Council’s representation, reflects the current global geopolitical formations and security threats. In this regard, Africa is a capable partner, and therefore Africa should occupy her rightful position at the UN, in the interest of global peace and stability.
The United Nations has always championed equality and therefore Africa cannot continue to be sidelined. Let us make this anniversary an ideal moment for us to engage in collective introspection and to take this organization to the next level. Let us embrace multilateralism in order to augment the values and ideals upon which the United Nations was founded.

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