Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande

By Harrison Arubu/New York

Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, is set to be the President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) beginning in September.

Muhammad-Bande, a professor of Political Science and former Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), is the only candidate for the 74th UNGA presidency, which is zoned to Africa.

For almost three hours on May 13, the Nigerian envoy sat down with other stakeholders at an informal dialogue to clarify his vision and take questions from them how he intends to pursue it.

The forum, presided over by the outgoing UNGA President, Ms Maria Espinosa, and attended by representatives of many countries, held inside the Trusteeship Council Chamber at the UN headquarters in New York.

Here are highlights of Muhammad-Bande’s vision :

* He described the United Nations as the most important and substantive global governance body. He said the organisation remains the most effective platform to address challenges facing humanity such as terrorism, climate change, pandemics, inequality, gender discrimination, illiteracy, poverty and hunger, among others.

* Creation of the UN in 1945 was the most important achievement in global politics in history, indicating that regardless of location and circumstances, human beings are able to solve their problems collectively, according to him.

* He reinforced Nigeria’s stand with multilateralism, that is, partnership among nations, which he said the UN stands for. Therefore, this is not the time for people to be cynical or indifferent to the organisation.

*The crises of today are well known to all. Terrorism and climate change alone have brought to the fore the urgency of the problems facing the world.

* He said if elected, he would ensure that all the mandates from previous sessions were completed. It is important to do so, according to him, since they are mandates given by all 193 members of the Assembly.

* Global peace and security, which are foundational elements of the UN Charter, will receive great attention. Terrorism, nuclear proliferation and occasional challenges concerning use of other weapons of mass destruction underscore the need for peace and security to be prioritised.

* These problems can only be effectively tackled through collaboration or partnership among nations. He said current efforts by the UN Security Council working with regional organisations in this regard should be applauded and sustained.

* On climate change, he said the Paris Climate Change Agreement of 2015 was one of the most important achievements of the UN. “The impact of climate change on how we live is very clear,” he said. The envoy cited the rising threats of cyclones, desertification and other natural disasters arising from climate change. He also linked terrorism and armed attacks especially in communities to shrinkage of natural resources such as rivers and lakes due to climate change. Therefore, climate action is very important to deal with this threat. He added that the commitment of 100 billion dollars to start climate action by 2030 is critical, urging all to do “all we can can through whatever mechanism or fora to see that this happens”.


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