Statement in Observance of the Launch of UN75 in Ghana
19 October 2020
To mark the start of UN celebration in Ghana, the Government of Ghana, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, partnered with the the UN to launch UN75.
It is a great honor to be here this morning at the official launch of the United Nations at 75. For me, this is my first UN Day observance in the capacity as Head of the UN family. I particularly take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the ad-hoc Planning Committee and everyone who has been involved in organizing this commemorative event even in the midst of the corona virus pandemic. This is a clear manifestation of the significant place the United Nations occupies in the heart of this beautiful nation.
We are here today to launch the celebrations and reflections that will, over the period left in the year, mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations as we commemorate the birth of this global organization whose Charter, the landmark document that embodies the hopes, dreams and aspirations of “we the peoples”, continues to define our work and resolve to make the world a better place. It is also a time to reflect on how to serve the world better in an ever-changing environment. At the start of this year, we launched the Decade of Action to mobilize governments, civil society, businesses and all people to make the Global Goals – the SDGS - their own. The world was already poised for action and taking bold steps towards achieving the SDGs.
COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to progress on all 17 Goals and caused unprecedented health, economic and social crisis threatening lives and livelihoods, rolling back achievements already made in many areas, with the poorest and most vulnerable affected disproportionately. And in tackling the more immediate threat, a big hole has been left in the pockets of everyone, especially in the developing world, to achieve the SDGs.
Now, more than ever in our recent history, the driving force for united multilateral solidarity and action is needed to tackle the challenges ahead. Peace, People, Planet, Prosperity, and Partnership remain the central planks upon which we must rely, globally, to overcome the pandemic and build back better. We must, together, reduce inequality, build peace, heal our planet and ensure we leave no one behind as we build forward to a new greener, more inclusive world.
Former Secretary General of the United Nations, and proudly Ghanaian citizen, Mr. Kofi Annan, once said, “More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together. And that, my friends, is why we have the United Nations.” These words ring true today.
Hon. Ministers, ladies and gentlemen,
Ghana is a proud member and partner of the United Nations. Since it joined the UN in 1957, it has been a frontline contributor to the global efforts. Ghana has contributed to global peace efforts since its first deployment of peacekeepers to the Congo in 1960. Today it remains in the top 10, with over 3000 personnel serving in eight missions across the world. The human capital investment is no less impressive, with eminent Ghanaians serving in this great institution, most notably former two-time Secretary General, Kofi Annan. And the current President of Ghana is co-chair of the UNSG’s Eminent Group of SDG Advocates.
The United Nations is proud of the progress made in Ghana and commends Ghana for its pioneering and other related work on the SDGs which provides a springboard for further progress. For instance, the Government has mainstreamed the SDGs into the national medium-term development plan thereby providing a long-term vision of aspiration and an impetus for a sustainable and resilient future; Ghana is one of the pioneer countries for implementing the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF), for financing the SDGs; and Ghana has started a voluntary national reporting on the SDGs. And even in the midst of COVID, the High-Level Ministerial Group on the SDGs has not relented, implementing the SDG Financing Fair and exploring roadmaps for investment – finance remains one of the biggest challenges to recovering from the pandemic and getting back on track. The leadership for this, and partnership with citizens and the private sector, will be key. Standing together, Ghana can achieve this.
The UN system, through its COVID-19 Socio-Economic Response and Recovery Plan, will support the government of Ghana’s Covid-19 recovery efforts. Currently, there are joint efforts on SDG financing catalytic investment projects that will help the government to consolidate the SDG financing landscape in the country, strengthen infrastructure financing and delivery of bankable projects, build SDG Investor Maps to link the private sector to viable investment opportunities, boost health investment with analysis and policy, and attract investments in the sanitation and waste management sectors. Our support, focusing on five pillars of Health, Protecting People, Economic Recovery, Macro-economic stability and multilateral support, and Social Cohesion and Community Resilience will not only help recovery but also build back better for a sustainable future, aligned with Ghana’s confident desire for self-reliance, articulated in Ghana Beyond Aid. It is bold and ambition, yes – but it is the right vision. And Ghana can achieve it.
In spite of this progress, much remains to be done. Looking to the future, theoverwhelming concerns are the climate crisis and the destruction of our natural environment; learning the lessons from COVID 19 (our vulnerability globally and the need for significant and sustainable investments) and tackling the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic in a way that enables us build back better, greener, more inclusively – embracing the digital opportunities while ensuring no one is left behind. Doubling down on efforts to ensure Peace, respect for Human Rights, Justice and tackling poverty and inequality, while ensuring open, transparent and accountable governance and government are also key priorities. We must find the multilateral resolve to mobilize the resources necessary to offset the setbacks of COVID 19. This will require bold, innovative steps everywhere built on trust and solidarity.
Hon. Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year, Ghana will go to the polls. We commend Ghana for consolidating the country’s democracy over the past decades, maintaining peace and the rule of law. Ghana is an inspiration and a beacon of hope across Africa and an example to the rest of the world. We are confident that Ghana will come out the winner at the end of the day. Let us all ensure the maintenance of mutual respect and tolerance; let us denounce hate speech and promote peace and the rule of law; and let us remember that the gains made can only be sustained for the good of all Ghanaians only if Ghana wins. We pray Ghana – all of Ghana – will be the winners in these elections.
Hon. Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In celebrating the 75 years, we must also reflect soberly and adjust and shape the UN we need moving forward. If we must reimagine the world we will live in because of COVID and climate change, then we must reimagine the UN that will help support this. Recognizing this, in January this year, the UN launched its global survey – Shaping the UN Together – to listen to the voices that will enhance global cooperation and define ‘the UN we want and need’ in the different parts of our globe.
As at September this year, responses from the survey reveal that, across regions, ages and social groups, the world is broadly united in their priorities for the future. Amid the current COVID-19 crisis, the immediate priority for most respondents is improved access to basic services – healthcare, safe water, sanitation and education, followed by greater international solidarity and increased support to those hardest hit. This includes tackling inequalities and rebuilding a more inclusive economy. In Ghana, conflict & violence, health and technology are the three most discussed issues in the survey. As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, may I take this opportunity to invite Ghanaians to visit UN75.online to make their voices count. Take a minute and enter your views on this online platform. The online platform can be accessed at www.un75.online
Finally, let me recognize the sacrifice and service of all Ghanaians who have had a relationship with the United Nations in one way or another. You have journeyed with us in the last 63 years since joining the United Nations. We are proud of you. And we are proud of this partnership. Long may it live.
I want to also recognize all my colleagues working in the UN in Ghana for their strong commitment to the mission of the United Nations and their efforts to make the world a better place. When COVID 19 came, we promised to Stay and Deliver. Thank you for your selfless service.
Together, we must and will shape the future together and for everyone everywhere. This is the essence of this moment and celebration of the UN@ 75.