|Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Cia Pak|
Welcoming the decision to focus on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the theme of this year’s general debate, President Biya said that under that ambitious framework, “our common goals is to eradicate poverty and leave no one behind. This is a challenge we have set for ourselves and which we must take up together […] to answer the calls of both our people and history.
At the same time, he recalled that the international community had in the past adopted similarly promising agendas and action plans that had raised the world’s hopes, only to see the multilateral system fail to meet expectations when the agreed actions were only partially implemented.
“Let us get organized and make sure the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) fair better; since the Agenda is transformational, let us rally to meet our ambitions” Biya continued, urging constant political will that does not “wax and wane” with changing circumstances; the mobilization of sufficient resources; and ensuring the requisite solidarity.
In this way, the international could achieve the Global Goals which will lead to ‘the world we want,’” he said, emphasizing: “This is no longer a time for promises; this is the time for commitment; this is a time for action.”
Noting that wider efforts to achieve the Global Goals would indeed meet serious obstacles, President Biya cited terrorism as a specific challenge for his county. Indeed, it is in “a veritable war” against the scourge.
Combatting terrorism, he said, requires “a collective response, collective determination and collective action,” in line with the targets of SDG 16, which focuses on the promotion and advent of peaceful and inclusive societies, and should serve as a guide for helping to strengthen Cameroon and the wide region by assisting with building capacity at all levels to effectively fight to confront Boko Haram and combat other criminal activity.
“The outcomes of previous agendas and programmes have shown us the urgent need to find wherewithal to achieve our ambitions. If we decide, here and now, to effectively and concretely mobilize our immense resources, and if we decide to devote them to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, then [they] will truly become the push to transform on Thursday’s world into [one] of peace and shared prosperity,” Biya concluded.