Update Post: December 9, 2023 9:40 am
Leaders from Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea have made a strong plea for action to rescue a world teetering on the precipice of climate catastrophe and struggling under the weight of an outdated and unfair global financial system.
The leaders made the call in their statements at the UN General Assembly’s general debate in New York.
They highlighted the upcoming COP-28 climate conference in the United Arab Emirates as an unparalleled opportunity for the world to fulfil its obligations to the planet’s most vulnerable nations.
The leaders, whose respective statements set out their national narratives, also agreed on the pressing need to overhaul multilateral institutions and international financial systems, highlighting that the present structures are not fit for 21st-century purposes.
Hamza Abdi Barre, Prime Minister of Somalia, highlighted the “power of solidarity and cooperation” in an interconnected world and urged leaders to accelerate action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He reported on his country’s fight against terrorism and advancing peace.
“We have dealt with an iron fist with extremism,” he said, noting that Somalia managed to clear more than 45 per cent of the areas previously occupied by terrorists.
Barre commended the bravery and sacrifices made by the African Union’s Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and thanked its troop-contributing countries.
He expressed Somalia’s commitment to fully implementing the security transition plan and taking over the full security responsibility once the ATMIS forces depart by the end of 2024.
The prime minister also reiterated his country’s call to remove the arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council in 1992, expressing that Somalia now has the necessary and competent systems to control firearms possession, use and storage.
“Lifting this embargo would allow his country to combat terrorism even more effectively and build a peaceful and prosperous future for its people,” he said.
Mr Barre also voiced concerns over the sharp increase in armed conflicts and military coups, especially in Africa, and their impact on vulnerable populations.
In his statement, Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, asked world leaders, “Do we have the necessary political will to choose global partnership over geopolitical competition [and] are we prepared to work together towards a promising age of shared prosperity?”
The uncomfortable truth, he said, is that policy choices are escalating tensions, poverty and hunger are rising, and progress towards achieving the SDGs is off track.
He also voiced “grave concern” over the threat of nuclear weapons, calling for cooperation to ensure that new technologies such as artificial intelligence are used responsibly.
Turning to global security, the Ethiopian leader emphasised the need for a system that respects the sovereignty of Member States and prevents conflict.
“Reforming the Security Council is not a choice, but an absolute necessity,” he stressed, calling for permanent seats for Africa.
He also showcased Ethiopia’s efforts for sustainable development and climate action, noting its 10-year development plan aligned with the SDGs and the national “Green Legacy Initiative” to ensure development through rural and urban green programmes.
Hassen called on countries to recommit to the UN Charter, underlining the need for an inclusive multilateral system.
“Maintaining the status quo will not advance our shared interest of ensuring peace and prosperity,” he declared.
Also speaking, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, Djibouti’s foreign affairs minister, also stressed the need for strengthening multilateralism and international cooperation.