Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma is attending the general debate of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71) in New York.
The UNGA71 is held under the theme, ‘The Sustainable Development Goals: A universal push to transform our world’.
The general debate presents an opportunity for member states to take stock of the effectiveness of the United Nations. It is expected that member states will use the debate to chart a way forward to improve the organisation’s efficiency and relevance by making it more democratic, responsive and transparent.
“Deliberations are expected to focus on UN reform, including the revitalisation of the UNGA; improvement of the work of the Economic and Social Council and most importantly, the substantive reform of the UN Security Council to expand its membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories.
“This will also be the final general debate for the current Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki Moon, whose term ends on 31 December this year,” said the Presidency.
The process of appointing Ban’s successor is underway and is expected to feature in discussions at the general debate.
“South Africa will use the opportunity to communicate progress made towards achieving Africa’s development, including the industrialisation and regional integration drives, with the aim of achieving a better life for South Africans and all in the continent.
“South Africa will also continue to raise concern regarding the strength of the institutions of global governance, including the United Nations, specifically the Security Council, and to advocate for the urgent reform of these institutions, with the aim of correcting the historical injustice against Africa, reflected in their outdated structures,” said the Presidency.
President Zuma will participate in high-level meetings on the margins of the general debate including the meeting of the Plenary of the General Assembly on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, scheduled for Monday; the high-level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, scheduled for Tuesday, and an event to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the Open Government Partnership hosted by South Africa, also to take place on Tuesday.
President Zuma is also expected to attend the US-Africa Business Forum hosted by US President Barak Obama on Wednesday.
South Africa will participate in the high-level meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) on Wednesday and a segment on the Right to Development on Thursday.
“President Zuma is also expected to hold several bilateral meetings with his counterparts during UNGA71. The President will be accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo,” said the Presidency.
As South Africa marks Tourism Month, President Zuma flew on a South African Airways aircraft.
“I enjoyed excellent hospitality aboard the national carrier and I recommend SAA to all travellers. The airline provided an excellent service and we had a restful and pleasant journey,” said the President.