President of the 73rd session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, touched down in Accra yesterday to begin a four-day official visit.
Accompanied by Mr Kwabena Osei-Danquah, Chef de Cabinet to the President, the top UN official was received by a government delegation led by the Minister of Planning, George Gyan-Baffour and the UN Resident Coordinator for Ghana, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra.
Ms Garcés is expected to hold bilateral talks with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on a wide range of issues spanning politics, gender inequality, climate change, peace and security among others in line with Ghana’s implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The visit will also see her engage the leadership of Parliament and Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Mike Ocquaye and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey to strengthen political support and cooperation between Ghana and the United Nations.
A high-level Ministerial Committee meeting on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other engagements with representatives of civil society and UN officials working in the country is also expected to take place in the course of her visit.
“Her visit will highlight Ghana’s leadership role and support for the implementation of the 2030 agenda and emphasise the importance of strengthening the multilateral system as the best option for responding to global crisis and challenges,” a statement by the UN Information Centre, Accra, said.
It added that the President of the UN General Assembly “will address the role of parliament in building political will for the implementation of global commitments crucial for effective responses to climate change maintenance of peace and security, the changing world of work, strengthening of social protection systems, reducing inequalities, among others, to achieve the SDGs”.
The theme of the current session of the United Nations General Assembly is, ‘Making the UN relevant to all; global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful, equitable and sustainable societies,’ a key approach for the presidency of Ms Espinosa Garcés is to ensure that the UN is inclusive and relevant to all.
In that regard, her tenure is focused on seven priority areas of work including Decent Work, Persons with Disability, Gender Equality, Environmental Action, Migration and Refugees, Revitalisation of the UN and Youth, Peace and Security.
Ms Garcés is expected to pay a courtesy call on the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II at the Manhyia palace in Kumasi and visit some historical sites including the Cape Coast Castle and the Kumasi Cultural Centre in the course of her stay in the country.
Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés is the fourth woman to lead the UN body in its 73 year’s history and it’s envisaged that the promotion of gender equality will be high on her work agenda for the next year.
By Abigail Annoh