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Speech To the AU Executive Council by Hon. Sam K. Kutesa, President-Elect Of The 69th United Nations General Assmebly

Tuesday, 1st July 2014
Hon Sam K. Kutesa

Your Excellency Ahmed Teguedi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Chairman of the Executive Council,

Your Excellency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,

Your Excellencies Members of the Executive Council, Distinguished Members of the Permanent Representatives Committee,Ladies and gentlemen,

On 11th June this year, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously elected me, by acclamation, as its President for the 69th Session. I take this opportunity, once again, to thank you all, and through you, your respective Governments, for having graciously endorsed me as Africa's sole candidate. Most especially, I extend my personal appreciation, and that of the Government of Uganda, to the spirit of friendship, brotherhood and solidarity by the Government of Cameroon, which withdrew its candidature to support a single African candidate. We remain humbled by this goodwill gesture!

I am also delighted and grateful for this opportunity to address you today, as President-Elect of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. As I pointed out on election day, this is not only a sign of your collective trust and confidence in me, personally, but also a recognition of the positive contribution Uganda has made towards African and international issues of interest. I will do my utmost to serve you, and the wider international community, in fulfillment of the mandate bestowed upon me.

Your Excellencies,The 69th Session of the General Assembly will be significant for Africa, and indeed to the international community, for a number of reasons:

First, we shall be commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Noting that world order has drastically changed, I have outlined continued revitalization of the General Assembly, and reform of the United Nations Security Council as one of the priorities during the session. Africa's Ezulwini Consensus remains intact, and I will endeavor to take the reform process a step forward.

Second, 2015 will mark the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Women Empowerment. The words of our Commission Chairperson, that "women constitute half of the world's population, but are also responsible for producing the other half", sound an echo we cannot ignore. I have therefore, made women empowerment as a priority, and I will work with all stakeholders to make further progress.

Third, and most importantly, 2015 will mark the end of the MDGs, to be replaced by the Post-2015 Development Agenda. No doubt, formulating this agenda will require deliberate commitment and effort from us, Africans, to positively shape an outcome that takes into account our transformation aspirations.

On-going consultations so far, point to an emerging understanding for a holistic, transformative, action-oriented, and universally applicable agenda, taking into account different national realities and capabilities. There is also emerging understanding to focus on eradicating poverty and hunger, through creating sustainable and equitable growth and employment, as well as addressing climate change and protecting ecosystems and biodiversity. 

In addition to the above three priorities, I will also focus on: supporting efforts to address climate change;  fostering cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations; promoting peaceful resolution of conflict and peacebuilding; and enhancing the role of the Alliance of Civilization. 

Your Excellencies, Formulation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda comes at a time when we are elaborating and shaping "the Africa we Want", for the next fifty years, through Vision 2063.

Our aspirations for the next half century are very much in sync with the expectations of the new international development agenda. Aspirations, such as: a prosperous Africa, with inclusive growth and sustainable development; a Pan-African, integrated, and politically united continent; a peaceful and secure Africa; an Africa with a strong and influential voice as a global player and partner; as well as people-driven African development, involving women and youth, all resonate with the emerging understanding on the international agenda.

Put together, the African Vision we are elaborating, and the international development agenda to be developed, point to a transformative light at the end of the tunnel.  However, having the light, through Vision 2063 and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, also requires that we build a strong tunnel for it. This tunnel, in my view, should come in two forms:

i. We should include an appropriate enabling environment, including: peace and security; inter and intra-regional infrastructure development; open and accountable public institutions; and respect for human rights; and

ii. We should provide for appropriate means of implementation, including a global partnership for development broader than aid. We should strengthen partnership among us. We should provide appropriate incentives to the private sector to partner with Governments. We should work for a fair international trading regime. We need to enhance national and foreign direct investments, to contribute to productive employment creation and economic security.

I believe that, this latter part on financing will make or break our aspirations for the future. We shall have to be creative and ingenious to come up with the required means of implementation. 
I once again thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and through you, the wider international community. I look forward to your continued friendship and support throughout my Presidency of the 69th Session of the General Assembly.

I thank you for your attention.

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