Mrs Mary Chinery-Hesse, the Chancellor of the University of Ghana has described Madam María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly as a fantastic role model for young girls.
She said young girls need to made to appreciate that no position was outside their reach; declaring that “Today’s woman can aim for the sky and get there”.
Mrs Chinery-Hesse gave the commendation over the weekend during the Council on Foreign Relations, Ghana, public lecture series in Accra, which was delivered by Madam Espinosa.
Madam Espinosa, who was on a four-day visit to Ghana, spoke on theme “Responding to global challenges in a fast-changing world: the case for strengthening multilateralism”.
In a further commendation to Madam Espinosa, Mrs Chinery-Hesse said: “You are the first woman from Latin America and the Caribbean, and only the fourth woman to be elected President of the General Assembly in the history of the United Nations”.
“Hearty congratulations, Your Excellency. You are a trailblazer; but I personally look forward to when an appointment of a woman to preside over the UN General Assembly would not be great news.”
Mrs Chinery-Hesse said since its establishment in 1945, the UN had been at the forefront of collective actions by humanity to address the complex challenges that confront the world.
Special mention could be made of the role of the UN General Assembly in the decolonisation of many countries that were now proud members of the community of nations, and of the UN General Assembly.
Mrs Chinery-Hesse said the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a benchmark for the protection of fundamental human rights, the promotion of peace and security across the world, the adoption and promotion of the Millennium Development Goals and now the Sustainable Development Goals were all enviable accomplishments by the UN General Assembly.
“Our world today is however, at the crossroad; and continue to face common and pressing challenges which require joint action by all nations for resolution.”
She said the issues of climate change, the pollution of the oceans, illicit financial flows, drug trafficking, cybercrime and cyber security, and human trafficking, were but a few to mention; stating that “these are transnational issues that require transitional solutions”.
“Unfortunately, the growing emergence of nationalism, political extremism, trade wars and inward-looking responses to the challenges of migration, increasingly pose a threat to the global community’s collective prosperity as nation states.”
She said crucially, they were undermining the beneficial role that multilateralism could play in guaranteeing a stable and secure world.
“It is for this reason that I commend your choice, Madam President as one of your priorities, the strengthening of multilateralism,” Mrs Chinery-Hesse said.
“It is obvious that you, as many of us, have deep faith in the multilateral system as a good basis for making the world a better place.”
She noted that many challenges the world faces make one wonder why there was so much recalcitrance in introducing changes to the UN, which would give multilateralism a chance.
“I served on the UN Blue Ribbon Panel, which was charged to work out a formula for confronting many of these challenges, including reform of the Security Council, which produced the Report ‘In Larger Freedom’, as far back as 2005,” she said.
She pointed out that report set out the strategies for promoting freedom from want, freedom from free and finally freedom to live in dignity, all aimed at setting out priorities for action in the fields of development, security and human rights.
Madam Espinosa said urged African countries to team up against illicit financial flow on the continent.
“I encourage you to build your efforts and the power of ideas to strengthen the voice and impact of Africa – to make progress on issues such as illicit financial flows and environmental degradation, and to make sure that the UN’s 75th anniversary – preparations for which are currently underway – serves to advance Africa’s interests in strengthening the Organisation and the region’s place within it,” she said.