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UN General Assembly face toughest challenges as it convenes 67th General Debate

UN General Assembly face toughest challenges as it convenes 67th General Debate

Among key issues on its agenda, the assembly will address the following: Millennium Development Goals; Climate change and sustainable development; Food security; The role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of conflicts; Disarmament and United Nations reform, including reform of the Security Council, revitalization of the work of the General Assembly and reaffirming the central role of the Organization in global governance, according to the UN Department of Public Information. (Photo: (r) Hon. Minister Joseph Bandabla Dauda – Foreign Affairs & Intl. Cooperation)

During an interview with the UN News Center UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon said his most important mission is to convince world leaders to live up to their commitments and make their people the utmost centre of their respective countries priorities.

“There are many world leaders who have their own national policy priorities. But sometimes they do not deliver,” he said. “I will try to be very frank, to tell them where they are falling short, where they need to do more, particularly when it comes to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).”

The MDGs is a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions in 2000.  There are eight MDGs which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, providing universal primary education, gender equality, environmental stability and child and maternal health, all by the target date of 2015.

A press release issued by the office of the Secretary-General indicates other key issues likely to dominate this year’s general debate are the ongoing crisis in Syria and the humanitarian emergency in the Sahel region of West Africa, along with the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

In her response to a fact checking request that I submitted to the UN Department of Information (DPI), Morana Song – Associate Expert in the UN Strategic Communications Division indicates “all 193 member states will have presence at the GA and I’m sending you the list of speakers.  In the list, you can see which country is represented at which level.”

Syria, Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Sierra Leone’s Heads of State among others will not be attending.  Calls to the Sierra Leone’s Mission Department of Public Information seeking clarification about H.E. President Ernest B. Koroma’s attendance were not returned.

Meantime, Sierra Leone Permanent Representative to the UN Mission H.E. Ambassador Shekou Touray via a brief phone conversation from his office in Manhattan confirmed that President Koroma will not attend this year’s general debate, he will be represented by Hon. Minister Joseph Bandabla Dauda Sierra Leone Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation who is scheduled to arrive in New York on September 26 and will speak on September 27, 2012.

The Sixty-Seventh annual general debate during which the world assembly hears statements by Heads of State and Government, as well as Ministers, will begin on Tuesday, 25 September, and conclude on Monday, 1 October.

Dennis Kabbato, USA

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