Torch of Democracy Keeps Burning in Liberia -Weah Says As He Takes UNGA Podium In 6th Year

MONROVIA: For the sixth time in his first six-year term, President George Manneh Weah took to the revered podium of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where he briefed world leaders and other attendees of the 78th General Assembly Debate on progress made during his first term underpinned by democratic consolidation.

Speaking at the UNGA September 20, 2023 in New York, the United States of America, President Weah expressed Liberia’s profound appreciation to the United Nations System in consolidating its peace, and seeking to address emerging challenges.

Liberia, he President said, will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the United Nations as it continues to rebuild and strengthen its institutions and infrastructure.

“Five years ago, on the occasion of my first address to this august assembly, we informed you of a peaceful democratic transition that had just taken place in Liberia,” he said, adding that with UN and partner’s support, “we have kept the democratic torch burning”.

“We have maintained peace and security. We have protected human rights and the rights of the media to operate peacefully and freely. The Liberian people have enjoyed the full exercise of their constitutional rights. The country is well on course of consolidating its democratic credentials.”

The Liberian chief executive informed that world body about the trends of politics at home, in Liberia, stating that “in a few weeks, Liberians will go to the polls, in keeping with the Liberian constitution to vote in our scheduled Presidential and Legislative elections.”

He noted that the October polls will mark the fourth peaceful general elections in Liberia since the end of the civil war in 2003.

President Weah further intimidated: “This 78th session is taking place at a time when my country is preparing for the first elections since the withdrawal of the UN Peacekeeping presence from Liberia. The October 10 elections is an opportunity to sustain the gains made in our reconstruction and development processes.”

He assured the august UNGA that the Government of Liberia has been taking all necessary measures to ensure a free, fair, transparent, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections.

Dr. Weah continued: “The National Elections Commission has been strengthened to ensure that it operates without undue influence. In addition, political parties have committed themselves to a nonviolent electoral process by signing the 2023 Farmington River Declaration, which obligates all actors in the elections to continue to promote peace.”

“As a strong believer in democracy let me reiterate my call for the respect of constitutional governance and respect for the will of the people,” he assured the international stakeholders, adding: “While addressing the issue of elections and democracy, permit me to congratulate all democratically elected leaders around the world.”

Surmounting Global Challenges

The Liberian leader reminded UNGA attendees that they were convening at a time when the world is faced with many challenges—security, social, economic, political and natural disasters.

“We must exert our collective efforts to confront these challenges, with a view of resolving them in order to have a safer, secured and prosperous future,” he urged his colleagues. “We must continue to promote global solidarity and rebuild trust in accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs, by design, require bilateral and multilateral collaborations to achieve the results we seek.”

He said this years UNGA theme, “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on The 2030 Agenda and Its SDGs Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability For All,” adequately captures our current global demands.

He noted therefore that there is a critical need to ensure that development assistance is aligned with SDG projects.

“That is why my delegation welcomes, and supports the Secretary-General’s agenda of action to accelerate the implementation of existing agreements; including the Sustainable Development Goals, and to re-embrace global solidarity, and find new ways to work together for the common good of mankind,” he stressed.

President Weah acknowledged that as the world deals with unprecedented global political and security challenges, there are growing concerns about the proliferation of non-state armed actors, threats of nuclear escalation and extreme climate conditions.

These challenges continue to serve as obstacles to our quest for a safe and peaceful world, he asserted, noting that reaching the 2030 vision is to ensure that the journey is secured through accountability and mutual understanding.

He also expressed Liberia’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which he said are in line with our Flagship National Development Plan – the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which represents our resolve to achieve peace and prosperity.

Dr. Weah emphasized how the world is under threat from natural calamities, as seen with extreme climate conditions globally, and called on global leaders to exert collective responsibility to urgently prioritize addressing the climate crisis as we strive to reach a target of 64 percent reduction in carbon emission.

President Weah added that there remains a need to prioritize support to countries, including Liberia that have the capacity to use its biodiversity, in building resilience against the changing climate.

He said: “The United Nations has always been confronted with challenges, and has withstood the test of time. Hence, this too will come to pass. I wish to thank the Secretary-General for his New Agenda for Peace. Liberia is in solidarity with these bold steps needed to address the triple crises of disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution destroying our planet. Liberia is hopeful that concrete global actions towards the attainment of the goals of the Common Agenda will be achieved.”

In alliance with our United Nations Family, he promised that Liberia will remain resolute in its commitment, saying, “We pledge to protect our planet, promote peace, and prevent conflicts. We vow to ensure sustainable financing, and amplify our partnerships, reflecting our shared determination for a brighter future.

“We must also accept that this can only be achieved through collaboration between and among Governments, non-government stakeholders and other partners; which will guarantee transparency, accountability, good governance, and the inclusion of all citizens in the decision-making process.”

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