PRESIDENT John Dramani Mahama has called for greater inclusivity in the United Nations saying that it is a long past time.
Addressing the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, President Mahama said a number of countries represented at the General Assembly, particularly those from the so-called developing world, were not in existence as sovereign nations.
“The world that was in 1945, does not exist now in 2015, so the visionary organisation that was formed to meet the needs of the world, must be reformed to meet the needs of these ones,” he said.
He said despite the changes that had occurred in the world during the course of the last 70 years, the singular truth remain the same, “but peace as so many great men and women have reminded us, is not the absence of war .Peace is also the presence of dignity in one’s life; it is the achievement of equality on one’s endeavours, and it is the respect of one’s humanity and its attendant rights.”
“If we are to discuss the road ahead, we must do so with new language, with new ideas and solutions that do not exist in the annals of history,” the President said adding “and we must begin with an examination of our most basic institutions- the governmental, cultural, the societal and the personal”.
He said what the world learned 70 years ago, with the formation of the UN was that each country would be each other’s keeper, explaining that Ghana was “reviewing our rules of engagement to create a balance between the maintenance of law and order and the basic rights of our people to free speech and free expression”.
President Mahama touched on cultural practices, saying that some practices and beliefs had no place in the world of today and that they should not be permitted a place in the world that we are planning for the future.
Among those traditions, President Mahama explained, were the ones that refused individuals-particularly women and children –their basic rights and forced them into situations that relegated them to a life of vulnerability to poverty, disease and other unbearable hardships.
He said policies and programmes had been created to address imbalances and inequality between men and women that so many traditions had inculcated.
President Mahama said the Ghana Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty programme provided cash grant to 77,000 households throughout the country, adding that the programme also entitled the recipients to the provision of free health care through the National Health Insurance Scheme.
To address the issue of child mortality and malnutrition, President Mahama told the world body that preparatory work was under way to earmark disbursement for pregnant women and mothers of children under the age of five.
Touching on the Millennium Development Goals, President Mahama said Ghana had achieved tremendous progress on universal basic education. “We instituted the Girl Child Program which encourages parents to send their girls to school, and at the primary level we have achieved gender parity between boys and girls.”
On Africa, President Mahama said signs of emergence in the continent had generated great hope and high expectations “many Africa nations have embraced democracy and free and fair elections have become a regular occurrence on the continent’s calendar.”
He said many African nations were seeing an acceleration in economic growth and a more than reasonable measure of success was being achieved in reducing hunger and poverty on the continent.
“While we are exposed to the current uncertainty of the international markets, strong cooperation with our multilateral and bilateral partners is seeing positive movement towards fiscal consolidation”, he said, adding that the government of Ghana was committed to maintain strict fiscal discipline in order to stablise the macro-economy and stimulate growth and business activity.
Notwithstanding this, President Mahama said one of the binding constraints that all African countries faced was the shortage of power saying, “Ghana is no exception”.
“In Ghana, two decades of consistent positive growth has resulted in demand for power outstripping supply. The resulting load -shedding programme has, unfortunately, slowed growth and is taking a steep toll on economic and social life,” President Mahama said.
Looking forward President Mahama said plans were in place to put additional 3,500 megawatts of power into the transmission grid utilizing the significant gas reserves that had been discovered in offshore concession and would be supplemented by renewable power mainly from solar, biomass and wind.
President Mahama touched on climate change, saying that the changes in global warming, were apparent for all to see, expressing the hope that the December climate change conference to be held in Paris, would address the issue, the effect of which had become unbearable.
He praised the historic agreement between the US and partners on one hand and Iran on the other hand to curtail the development of nuclear weapons and encourage the peaceful US of nuclear technology.
President Mahama noted that the US and Cuba, had taken significant steps to normalize relations between them, and expressed a peaceful and stable Israel coexisting with a sovereign Palestinian State, calling for an immediate cessation of construction of settlements in the Palestinian territories.
News Desk Report