New York, USA – President M. Weah, addressing the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday, September 20, 2023 in New York, highlighted the pending October 10 election, thanking the international community for its support, which has kept the democratic torch burning in Liberia.
In the last six years of his administration, President Weah told the world body: “We have maintained peace and security. We have protected human rights and the rights of the media to operate peacefully and freely. The Liberian people have enjoyed the full exercise of their constitutional rights. The country is well on the course of consolidating its democratic credentials.”
President Weah told the august body that Liberians would go to the polls in keeping with the Liberian constitution to vote in scheduled presidential and legislative elections. The October polls, he told the UNGA, will mark the fourth peaceful general elections in Liberia since the end of the civil war in 2003.
“This 78th session is taking place at a time when my country is preparing for the first elections since the withdrawal of the UN Peacekeeping presence from Liberia. The October 10 elections is an opportunity to sustain the gains made in our reconstruction and development processes,” he went on saying.
He assured the UN body that his government has taken all necessary measures to ensure a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive, and credible elections.
He said the electoral body, National Elections Commission, has been strengthened to ensure that it operates without undue influence, and added that political parties have committed themselves to a nonviolent electoral process by signing the 2023 Farmington Declaration, which obligates all actors in the elections to continue to promote peace.
“As a strong believer in democracy, let me reiterate my call for the respect of constitutional governance and respect for the will of the people. While addressing the issue of elections and democracy, permit me to congratulate all democratically elected leaders around the world.”
President Weah observed that the world is also under threat from natural calamities, as seen with extreme climate conditions globally. He said it is a matter of collective responsibility to urgently prioritize addressing the climate crisis as we strive to reach a target of 64 percent reduction in carbon emission.
“There remains a need to prioritize support to countries, including Liberia, that have the capacity to use its biodiversity in building resilience against the changing climate,” he further said.
According to the President, Liberia is in solidarity with bold steps needed to address the triple crises of disruption, biodiversity loss, and pollution destroying the planet, expressing the hope that concrete global actions towards the attainment of the goals of the Common Agenda will be achieved.
He highlighted that Liberia’s journey is best captured in the spirit of unity, resilience, and ambition, and noted that together “through collaboration and shared purpose, we can, and must shape a world that upholds the rights and dignity of every individual.
“In alliance with our United Nations Family, Liberia remains resolute in its commitment,” he noted. “We pledge to protect our planet, promote peace, and prevent conflicts. We vow to ensure sustainable financing and amplify our partnerships, reflecting our shared determination for a brighter future.”
President Weah stressed that this can only be achieved through collaboration between and among Governments, non-government stakeholders and other partners; which he mentioned will guarantee transparency, accountability, good governance, and the inclusion of all citizens in the decision-making process.
“Let us remind ourselves that our collective strength lies together, we can overcome any challenge, rebuild trust, promote peace and religious tolerance, uphold the tenants of democracy, rule of law, support women participation, encourage diplomacy, and strengthen global solidarity.”
Uniting the world
President George M. Weah says myriad challenges facing the world can only be overcome through unity of purpose and the determination to stand together as one.
the Liberian leader observed that with togetherness, the world can overcome any challenge, rebuild trust, promote peace and religious tolerance, uphold the tenants of democracy, rule of law, support women participation, encourage diplomacy, and strengthen global solidarity.
He reminded world leaders that as they gathered in New York, the world “is faced with many challenges, including security, social, economic, political, and natural disasters.”
“We must exert our collective efforts to confront these challenges, with a view of resolving them in order to have a safer, secured, and prosperous future,” President Weah said, adding: “We must continue to promote global solidarity and rebuild trust in accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs, by design, require bilateral and multilateral collaborations to achieve the results we seek.”
According to him, this year’s UNGA theme, “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and Its SDGs towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability for All,” adequately captures current global demands.
President Weah stressed that there is a critical need to ensure that development assistance is aligned with SDG projects, welcoming the UN Secretary-General’s agenda of action to accelerate the implementation of existing agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals, and to re-embrace global solidarity, and find new ways to work together for the common good of mankind.
“As the world deals with unprecedented global political and security challenges, there are growing concerns about the proliferation of non-state armed actors, threats of nuclear escalation, and extreme climate conditions,” the Liberian Leader told the revered assembly of world leaders. “These challenges continue to serve as obstacles to our quest for a safe and peaceful world.”
“Reaching the 2030 vision is to ensure that the journey is secured through accountability and mutual understanding,” he said, reaffirming Liberia’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are aligned with his government’s national development Plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which he said “represents our resolve to achieve peace and prosperity, while addressing the structural impediments to economic growth and national development”.
Making Liberia’s case
President Weah has, at the same time, highlighted Liberia’s progress towards holistic socio-economic development and infrastructural prosperity amid serious economic challenges.
He told world leaders that Liberia has made progress in the areas of health to education, gender equality, and infrastructural development. “We are proud of our achievements in reducing maternal mortality rates, increasing gender parity in school enrollment, and elevating our overall health and well-being,” the President said.
“Considering that more than 60% of Liberia’s population comprises youths, the future of our nation rests on their shoulders,” he said, adding, “understanding this immense responsibility, we are committed to continuing to pave the way for their growth and development.”
He told the UNGA that his government is focused on infrastructural development with roads and energy playing a critical part and being cognizant of how important they are.
He applauded the support of partners in the realization of the government’s development goals, while also reaffirming his commitment to explore means to further the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, as it represents the roadmap towards prosperity.
President Weah indicated that he is in agreement with the Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ proposed SDG stimulus plan, and called for the actualization of the 500 billion dollars per year in order to boost sustainable development for developing countries through tackling the high cost of debt and rising risks of debt distress; scaling-up of affordable long-term financing for development; and expanding contingency financing to countries in need.
Liberia, Dr. Weah said, profoundly appreciates the continued engagement and support from the United Nations System in consolidating its peace and seeking to address emerging challenges—support he noted the country will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the United Nations as it continues to rebuild and strengthen its institutions and infrastructure.