Statement By H.e. Ambassador Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga (Mp), Minister For Foreign Affairs And East African Cooperation Of The United Republic Of Tanzania At The 72nd Session Of The United Nations General Assembly, New York, 23 September 2017

Your Excellency, Mr. President;

Your Excellency, Mr. Secretary-General;

Excellencies Heads of State and Government;

Excellencies Heads of Delegations;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I congratulate you Mr. President on your election to preside over the deliberations of this august Seventy-Second Assembly of the United Nations. My delegation pledges full support to you and your Bureau.

Allow me also to convey warm fraternal greetings from H.E. Dr. John Pombe Joseph Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, who wished to be here but due to other pressing commitments at home is unable to attend this Session of the Assembly. President Magufuli has sent me to assure this Assembly that his Government will continue to support the United Nations and its noble mandate to promote global peace, security, freedom and development. He also wishes to extend Tanzania’s unwavering support and cooperation to the Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres as he continues to discharge his duties.

Mr. President, My delegation pays tribute to your predecessor H.E. Ambassador Peter Thompson, for the exemplary leadership during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly. His tireless efforts in promoting the implementation of the Agenda 2030; his dedication to resolving the plight of refugees and migrants; and reviving consultations on the reforms of the United Nations particularly on the Security Council will remain part of his legacy. It is my expectation that you and your team will advance from where he left off as you have pledged in your opening statement.

Theme

Mr. President, the world today is facing myriad of challenges which include new and old security threats such as international terrorism and other transnational crimes, persisting poverty, hunger, climate change as well as global inequalities in economic and social status among nations. These challenges call for common and urgent response by the entire United Nations system and the international community as a whole.

It is in this regard that my delegation welcomes the theme for this Session “Focusing on People: Striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet”. This theme is timely and welcomed as most of our countries are recalibrating their development strategies and plans to ensure the speedy and timely implementation of the goals and targets enshrined in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Implementation of SDGs

Mr. President, striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet should focus on ending poverty, promoting economic and social prosperity, addressing inequality and injustices as well as tackling the impacts of climate change. This can be achieved by successfully implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cognizant of this fact, Tanzania has integrated the SDGs into the Second Phase of the Five Year Development Plan 2016–2021 focusing on industrialization.

This plan is a tool towards the realization of our National Development Vision, (Vision 2025). In collaboration with development partners and other stakeholders, we have developed frameworks for implementing the SDGs which include communication and dissemination strategies on SDGs to make the goals understood to everyone. Dissemination is in both English and Kiswahili, our national language spoken by all Tanzanians. Sensitisation workshops on SDGs are also being conducted to regional administrations and local government authorities so that the goals can be mainstreamed in their local plans and budgets in order to directly affect the ordinary people who are the main focus of the 2030 Agenda.

Mr. President, Tanzania has set a target growth from an average of 7 percent in 2015 to 10 percent by 2020 in order to reach a middle income status by 2025. We also believe that this growth will ensure equity in the society by reducing the unemployment rate from the current 10.3 percent to 8 percent and reduce proportion of population below poverty line from the current 28.2 percent to 16.7 percent by 2020. This growth can be achieved by, among other things, increasing employment in both rural and urban areas; providing financial support through soft loans to youth and women; strengthening small and medium enterprises; securing fair taxation and fiscal regimes from business entities as well as restoring discipline and accountability while addressing corruption and controlling public spending. Fighting corruption, financial discipline and accountability in all sectors is the hallmark of President Magufuli’s Government.

Climate Change

Mr. President, climate change has become an existential challenge to the entire planet earth. All parts of the world are increasingly experiencing the adverse effects and impact of climate change manifested in persistent droughts, land degradation, coastal erosion, ocean temperature rise, extreme weather events such as cyclones, typhoons, hurricanes and floods. In Tanzania for instance, it is disheartening to witness the epic snows and glaciers of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa melting fast.

Against this background, I would like to express my Government’s heartfelt sympathies and condolences to our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, South Asia, Mexico, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, USA and all around the world who have recently been victims of impacts of climate change. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

For all of us, this should be a wakeup call and a reminder that climate change has no boundaries and can potentially wipe off economic and development achievements in a blink of an eye. Therefore, the sooner we act the better chances we have to protect the planet earth for the present and future generations.

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Mr. President, it is fortunate that we have the Paris Agreement that already entered into force in November 2016 to address this problem. To honour our joint efforts that gave birth to the Paris Agreement under the leadership of France, we should implement in letter and spirit all of its articles. Assistance to developing countries should go beyond mere mitigation measures and target adaptation measures with built in green technologies to control carbon emissions from the outset.

Conflicts

Mr. President, violent conflicts continue to plague the world and remain a challenge to the United Nations and the Security Council in particular which has the primary responsibility of maintaining international peace and security. They claim thousands of lives and lead to massive displacements and flights of people to safer places. We need to invest more on conflict prevention, resolution and mediation efforts by addressing the root causes, precipitating and triggering factors to conflicts. Peace keeping, peace building and state building are essential to the maintenance and consolidation where peace has been secured.

Mr. President, striving for peace is a task for us all governments, international organisations, regional blocs, non-state actors, religious groups, civil societies and individuals. The renewal of our efforts is paramount to ensure that we achieve sustainable peace and security, which is a perquisite for the achievement of sustainable development.

In this regard, we commend our men and women in blue helmets who are sacrificing their lives to serve the heroic cause of peacekeeping. Tanzania, with other countries, has been contributing troops to UN Peacekeeping Missions. We have paid a high price by the loss of peacekeepers. We nonetheless remain steadfast for this noble and human endeavour.

It is only this week that Tanzania lost its soldier in the DRC following an attack from the ADF rebels. We condemn this cowardly act in the strongest possible terms. We

urge the United Nations Security Council to continue strengthening  operational 4

capability of FIB in MONUSCO in order to be able to effectively deal with negative forces and asymmetrical warfare in the Eastern DRC.

Burundi

Mr. President, Tanzania has maintained its record as a peaceful country upholding the rule of law, democracy and other principles of good governance. It has been a country of refuge to many for decades. At the same time, Tanzania has been actively participating in regional and international peace initiatives including the ongoing Burundi peace process, an East African Community initiative facilitated by former President Mkapa of Tanzania and mediated by President Museveni of Uganda.

The peace talks are still on track albeit their slow and halting pace. It is encouraging to note that in some parts of Burundi, the security situation has significantly improved to permit the voluntary return of some 12,000 refugees out of almost 250,000 refugees who have been in Tanzania since 2015. We appreciate the partnership we have with the UNHCR in protecting and assisting the refugees in our country.

DRC

Mr. President, Tanzania has also intermittently for decades been receiving and hosting refugees from pockets of troubled areas in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. We trust that there will be fully implementation of the December 31st Peace Agreement with the promise of timely elections in the country. We urge the DRC leadership to live up to that commitment. In this regard, we urge the international community to extend both logistical and financial support to DRC to complete the registration of voter’s register and carry out expeditiously the planned elections.

Non-Self Governing Territories

Mr. President, on the agenda of the General Assembly and the Security Council of the United Nations, there are two protracted problems which require decisive action. One is the issue of self-determination of the Sahrawi people. With the return of Morocco into the African Union fold, expectations are high in Africa that negotiations on this issue which is on the agenda of the Security Council will receive renewed momentum and agency.

Mr. President, on Palestine, we support the two-state solution living side by side in peaceful co-existence. To that end, the elements of a viable State of Palestine must be ensured and respected. The long stalled peace process in the Middle East must be rekindled with a series of acceptable confidence building measures by both sides with the support and guarantee of the United Nations and the international community in its entirety.

Unilateral Sanctions and Embargos

Mr. President, we have in this Assembly been calling for the cessation of economic, commercial, financial and other embargos imposed on Cuba with infinitesimal results. The intention of the USA to reverse the agreements between the two countries on normalising relations is a set back to the progress that had been registered and applauded by all of us in this very same Assembly and beyond. Tanzania continues to call for the total removal of all embargos on Cuba. The people to people contact that has started between the people of Cuba and those of the United States should serve as building blocks for enduring peaceful good neighbourliness in the spirit of dialogue and understanding.

Nuclear Disarmament

Mr. President, after the end of the cold war, there were new dawn and bright prospects for both conventional and nuclear disarmament.

The doctrine of nuclear deterrence was becoming absolute, reduction of nuclear arsenals was making progress towards a nuclear ban treaty including nuclear testing and some aspirants for nuclear weapons abandoned their ambitions. However, the

recent developments in the DPRK have shattered these optimistic prospects. The world is being dragged back to nuclear brinkmanship. This is the most recent threat to international peace and security. Tanzania supports all the relevant resolutions of the Security Council on the nuclear weapons trends in the DPRK, calls for de-escalation of the political warfare and the renewal of the dialogue under the auspices of the six parties initiative.

On the other hand, Tanzania commends the recent adoption of the Nuclear Ban Treaty which puts nuclear weapons in the same legal ground as other Weapons of Mass Destruction. We should all support this Treaty in order to increase our moral authority in the fight against nuclear weapons proliferation.

United Nations Reforms

Mr. President, the reforms of the United Nations to make the Organization more efficient and relevant to cope with the new trends and challenges must be continuous and progressive. The latest initiative by the Secretary General is a commendable effort which should have received a consensual support by the entire UN membership. We hope in the process of implementing these latest reform proposals, the debates will be all inclusive and progress will be made on the basis of consensus.

The delay in the reforms of the Security Council is testing the political will of the key players on this matter; the debate on this serious matter has now become routine and sterile. The status quo is undercutting the primary responsibility of the Council in the maintenance of international peace and security. Democratizing the Security Council is good for the Council and the world in this 21st Century.

Conclusion

Mr. President,

Excellencies Heads of State and Government,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, I wish to return to the 2030 Agenda by giving a clarion call to the United Nations and its member states to implement the goals contained therein in a measured and agreed benchmarks and intervals. The economic and social benefits from well implemented goals will enhance democracy, freedom and security at the national, regional and international levels without leaving no one behind.

I thank you for your kind attention!!

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