South African President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 in Pretoria, South Africa, June 17, 2020. The summit, held via video link, was jointly proposed by China, South Africa, the rotating chair of the African Union (AU), and Senegal, the co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). (South Africa Presidency/Handout via Xinhua)

With the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly taking place this week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday stressed the urgent need to strengthen the UN role in confronting challenges.

It is necessary to ensure that the UN be properly resourced and representative, Ramaphosa said in his weekly presidential address.

As the world confronts another global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN remains as important and relevant as ever, the president said. He called on all countries to support the UN to “resolve our global challenges – be they health emergencies, transnational crime, conflict and war, climate change, migration or natural disasters.” “It is only through multilateralism that common strategies can be forged for the benefit of all,” Ramaphosa noted.

In the 75 years of its existence, the UN has proven the value of cooperation and solidarity, he said. The world’s problems could be peacefully resolved through cooperation, Ramaphosa said. The UN has played a vital role in supporting cooperation among countries and international organizations like the WHO as they are working to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, said Ramaphosa.

This pandemic has presented the world with a choice – between the global cooperation envisaged in the UN Charter or the pursuit of narrow self-interest, he noted.

The UN, he said, is leading the effort to ensure that the world that emerges from COVID-19 will be better, fairer, and more peaceful. One of the greatest challenges to the achievement of this goal is the continued exclusion of half of the world’s population through discrimination and marginalization, according to Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa urged the international community to take advantage of the 75th UN anniversary to push ahead with the reform of the UN and particularly its Security Council so as to give equal voice to the different regions of the world.
South Africa will use its virtual presence in New York to continue advocating for Africa to have permanent representation in the UN Security Council, the president said.

Ramaphosa urged all countries to draw on the spirit of solidarity, friendship, and unity of purpose that has long defined the United Nations, so as to set a clear path towards lasting peace and sustainable development.

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