United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed the UN's steadfast commitment to working collaboratively with the African Union, shedding light on the historical and contemporary injustices Africa endures. In a joint news conference with Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Guterres underscored the significance of justice in international relations for Africa, a continent tormented by the ghosts of colonialism, slavery, and unfair global financial systems.
A Pledge to Justice: Contemporary Challenges
The statement was made during Mahamat's attendance at the 7th AU/UN High-Level Conference, a platform for reviewing progress on cooperation framework agreements. Both leaders inked a new joint framework on human rights, reaffirming their commitment to the principles of justice and equity.
Both leaders acknowledged the daunting challenges Africa currently grapples with. From peace and security concerns to the looming threats of terrorism and extremism, the continent is engaged in a constant struggle. The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia have further added to the continent's woes.
Mahamat highlighted the indirect yet potent impact of the Ukraine conflict on Africa. The war has led to spiraling prices of energy, food, and fertilizers, thereby affecting Africa's agricultural productivity. Amid these challenges, he praised the Black Sea grain deal facilitated by Turkey and the UN, a lifeline in the face of the global food crisis. Mahamat expressed gratitude for Turkey's efforts in supplying grain to impoverished African nations, a step crucial for their survival.
Strengthening Peacekeeping: Climate Change Agenda
In another development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana and the Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations Department of Peace Operations are set to reaffirm their political support and collective commitment to United Nations Peacekeeping at an upcoming Ministerial Meeting in Africa. The event aims to bolster the protection of civilians and improve the safety and security of peacekeepers. It also intends to confront and end misconduct, including sexual abuse and exploitation, and extend better support to victims.
The 28th Conference of Parties (COP 28) is scheduled to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12, 2023. The conference is expected to carry out the first global assessment of the Paris Agreement and is anticipated to address the issue of fossil fuels while making decisions regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.