UNGA: Development Is the Remedy for Conflict

That the era of colonialism is finally coming to an end, as presented in the open letter to the United Nations General Assembly above, was expressed by a number of speakers from the Global South at this year’s gathering, in particular those from Africa. That gave a sense of optimism to the debates, which are traditionally quie formal.

As Egypt’s representative, Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry Selim pointed out that, as a new member of the BRICS as of next January, his country intends to “advocate for the interests and ambitions of the global south”. He harshly criticized the international system in place, noting that the hallmark of the current order “has been a marked tendency by the great powers to attempt to usurp or monopolize the international community’s decision-making process.” He called for the reform of multilateral development banks, such as the IMF and World Bank, increased funding for developing countries, debt forgiveness, and cooperation through use of debt swaps which can “transform the debt challenge into a promising opportunity.”

Ethiopia is another of the six nations newly invited to join the BRICS (cf. SAS 35/23). Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen noted that his country calls for “a more inclusive and effective multilateral mechanism that works fairly for developing countries. The BRICS have championed this call. That is why Ethiopia is grateful to have been invited to join the group.” He also made a point of denouncing “unilateral sanctions and coercive economic measures” imposed by the West.

The President of the Central African Republic, Faustin Archange Touadera, stressed that UN’s supposed goals for the elimination of hunger, poverty, and inequality can’t be realized “when certain States, from the height of their political, economic and military power, constantly agitate coercive diplomacy or exploit international financial institutions for the purpose of imposing economic, financial and commercial blockades against countries made poor by slavery, colonization and imperialism”.

Burundi one of the smallest and poorest African nations, with only 11% of the population having access to electricity. Its President Evariste Ndayishimiye lashed out at the unfairness of the “neocolonialism” that continues today, but he also pointed to the new model of international relations that is needed, based on “the values of trust and solidarity” and mutual progress. He reminded the world that “investing in the prosperity of your neighbor truly guarantees the security and sustainability of your own progress”.

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