The President of the Republic, George Manneh Weah, has been rallying the United Nations to redouble efforts in tackling critical issues confronting the world and its peoples, pledging Liberia’s commitment to working with the august body in finding amicable solutions to global challenges.
President Weah acknowledged the humongous and complex nature of the challenges the world faced, which he said will require immediate collective global actions with the United Nations at the center of the search for solutions.
Addressing the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Thursday, September 22, 2022, Dr. Weah noted this year’s Assembly was taking place at a difficult time in the world, as countries are recovering from the scourge of COVID-19, and also facing other challenges such as the war in Ukraine and climate change which is having devastating effects on our environment.
“Just as the Ukrainian people are enduring the harsh impact of this unwarranted military incursion, the rest of the world is feeling the harsh consequences of the economic downturn caused by disruptions in global supply chains, food insecurity, and rising prices of basic goods and services,” the President reflected.
He noted that the theme of this year’s Assembly, “A Watershed Moment: Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges”, is both appropriate and meaningful in reminding leaders about the current state of the world, while also providing the space for reflection on the multiple challenges that confront mankind today.
He named the health and socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the devastating effects of climate change, environmental concerns, poverty reduction, food insecurity, and gender inequality as core challenges facing the world.
President Weah reminded the UN that the challenges confronting the world today will require immediate collective global actions with the United Nations at the center of the search for solutions.
President Weah urged the august body to give special consideration to the needs of developing countries, particularly, the Least Developed Countries in line with the Doha Program of Action for Least Developed Countries for the Decade, 2022-2031.
He pledged Liberia’s preparedness and commitment to protecting the planet, promoting peace, preventing conflicts, ensuring sustainable financing, and boosting partnerships.
“This commitment is reflected in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development which embodies the expression of our shared determination to achieve peace, prosperity, and national development; address extreme poverty, inequalities, regional disparities, infrastructure deficits, climate change, and equitable distribution of our national wealth,” the President stressed.
Liberian Youth Employment
In the Speech which lasted about 15 minutes, President Weah provided an update on Liberia’s youthful population of more than 60 percent, and the efforts his Government has initiated to address their plights through rehabilitation and empowerment program.
He spoke of the Socio-Economic Empowerment of Disadvantaged Youth Project of 2019 and 2021, which preceded the subsequent launch of a 13-Million United States Dollars National Fund Drive for the rehabilitation and empowerment of at-risk youth in Liberia.
As Liberia’s Feminist-in-Chief, the President informed the UNGA that women empowerment and the promotion of gender equality remain key priorities of his Government.
“Women do not only comprise almost half of our country’s population, but they also play important roles at all levels of our society and must be given equally deserved attention, support, and a place at the leadership and governance tables in our society,” the Liberian Leader asserted further.
“To this end,” he stressed, “we have developed the legal framework, including the ratification of regional and international instruments to address gender inequalities which are being carried out as a result of socio-cultural perceptions, practices, and stereotypes that support male dominance and the subordination of women.”
He told the august body how the Government, together with UN partners, is implementing the EU Spotlight Initiative to end violence and harmful traditional practices against women and girls and promote their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“Furthermore, the Government of Liberia is currently implementing a 50-Million United States Dollars ECOWAS-funded project to enhance the capacity of female entrepreneurs,” he said.
On climate change, President Weah said his Government is taking action through the formulation of new policy frameworks and strategic interventions to address the impacts of climate change and protect the environment.
He assured the world body that Liberia is committed to achieving a target of 64 percent reduction in carbon emissions below business-as-usual by 2030, expressing the hope that the ensuing United Nations Climate Change Conference in Egypt (COP 27), will provide the opportunity to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
He also highlighted Liberia’s role in finding regional peace and security, saying that the country is contributing troops and other security apparatuses serving in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), and the United Nations Interim Security Forces for Abyei (UNISFA).
He thanked the United Nations and bilateral and multilateral partners for their support in facilitating the country’s contribution to global and regional peace and security.
At the same time, the Liberian Leader says Democracy in Liberia is growing from strength to strength, and that the country is becoming a stronghold of peace and a haven for democracy after many years of civil upheaval.
“This is because we have taken actions in the last few years to build and strengthen democratic institutions, such as the press and the Liberian Judiciary,” he asserted. “We have put forward new legislation that empowers the media while eradicating those that have tended to suppress free speech.”
President Weah announced to the world that there is no political prisoner in Liberia since the inception of his administration.
According to him, the country has constantly and consistently pleaded with other sub-regional countries to adhere to constitutional term limits, and for a return to democratic civilian rule in cases of military takeovers.
He described the forthcoming 2023 election as crucial to consolidating democracy, underscoring his Government’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that the enabling environment continues to exist for the conduct of peaceful, free, fair, transparent, and inclusive elections.
This, he said, is in keeping with my commitment to ensuring that the democratic will of the Liberian people is respected at all times.
In the build-up to the 2023 elections he said, it is incumbent upon all prospective candidates to avoid the incitement of violence, and any other behavior that could deprive the Liberian people of the peaceful space that they need to freely exercise their franchise, and freely express their political will in choosing their leaders.
“We must let the people decide, and then we must respect their decision. That is indeed the true essence of democracy,” he said.
He said Liberia counts on the United Nations as well as bilateral and multilateral partners, for financial, technical, and institutional capacity-building support.
He called on the UN to ensure the advancement of the common good of humanity, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said international cooperation must be given primacy, and the principle of solidarity must have its rightful place.
“We have the platform to generate the transformative solutions we seek,” President Weah further emphasized.
He added: “The world is watching, our people are watching; and we must now seize the moment; confront the challenges and collectively endeavor to lift the poor from poverty and hunger, sickness and disease, and ensure progress, development, and prosperity for all.”
President Weah admonished the UN to protect the planet, and guarantee and maintain global peace, security, and stability.
“We must pursue efforts to make the United Nations more efficient, more effective, more inclusive, more accountable, and more suited for the purpose,” he said, calling on the world body to be more inclusive, more transparent, and more accountable.