President Jacob Zuma arrives in New York for the 71st United Nations General Assembly
17 September 2016
President Jacob Zuma has arrived in New York in the United States to attend the General Debate of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71), under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: A universal push to transform our world.”
The General Debate presents an opportunity for member states to take stock of the effectiveness of the United Nations, and it is expected that member states will use the General Debate to chart a way forward to improve the organisation’s efficiency and relevance by making it more democratic, responsive and transparent.
Deliberations are expected to focus on UN reform, including on the revitalisation of the UNGA; improvement of the work of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and most importantly, the substantive reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to expand its membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories.
This will also be the final General Debate for the current Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki Moon, whose term ends on 31 December this year. The process of appointing his successor is underway and expected to feature in discussions at the General Debate.
South Africa will use the opportunity to communicate progress made towards achieving Africa’s development including the industrialization and regional integration drives, with the aim of achieving a better life for South Africans and all in the continent. South Africa will also continue to raise concern regarding the strength of the institutions of global governance, including the United Nations, specifically the Security Council, and to advocate for the urgent reform of these institutions with the aim of correcting the historical injustice against Africa, reflected in their outdated structures.
In addition to the General Debate, President Zuma will participate in the following High-Level Meetings on the margins of the General Debate:
- The High-Level Meeting of the Plenary of the General Assembly on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, on 19 September 2016
President Zuma will participate in this meeting together with the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba. This is the first time that the General Assembly will be holding a Summit on large movements of refugees and migrants and it is a historic opportunity to develop an international response to this challenge. The meeting is particularly important for South Africa, as the African continent is one of the most affected regions experiencing large movement of refugees and migrants and South Africa, in particular, is amongst the largest recipients of migrants and refugees in the world.
- The High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (HLC HEEG), on 20 September 2016
The event will be co-hosted by President Zuma and President Francois Hollande of France in their capacity as co-chairs of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth (HLC HEEG). The panel was established by the UN Secretary-General and it aims to engage leaders at the highest level to encourage the creation of new employment opportunities in the health sector globally. President Zuma will attend the meeting with the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
- An event to Commemorate the Five Year Anniversary of the Open Government Partnership hosted by South Africa, on 20 September 2016
The President will attend the event in Commemoration of the Five Year Anniversary of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which South Africa currently chairs. The OGP was launched in 2011 as a mechanism to create an international platform for domestic reformers who are committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. The OGP aims to create an environment where norms and standards are transformed to facilitate more dialogue and cooperation between governments and civil society. The President will be supported by the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration and his special envoy to the OGP, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo.
- The US-Africa Business Forum hosted by US President Barak Obama on 21 September 2016
President Zuma has been invited to the US-Africa Business Forum hosted by the US Secretary of Commerce, Ms Peggy Pitzger, and business man Mr Michael Bloomberg, on behalf of Bloomberg Philanthropies on 21 September 2016. The Forum will focus on trade and investment opportunities in Africa and will be attended by a number of African Heads of State and Government and it is expected that President Barak Obama will address the meeting in the morning. The event will provide African Heads of State and Government with an opportunity to network with American business leaders to explore business and investment opportunities. The President will attend the forum with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies.
Other additional High-Level Events in which South Africa will participate include:
- High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) on 21 September 2016
Antimicrobial resistance is a multifaceted, international public health problem, which poses a direct threat to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 3 (health). The social and financial costs of treating antimicrobial resistant infections place a significant threat to human and economic burden on society. Action to combat the threat was initiated at the global level through the World Health Organisation. It has also been taken up at the G-20 as an issue that could have severe economic consequences for the global economy. South Africa, under the leadership of the Department of Health, has been at the forefront of these initiatives.
- A High-Level Segment on the Right to Development on 22 September 2016
The meeting will be hosted by the President of the General Assembly in order to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development (RTD). The RTD is an initiative of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) countries and is deemed of huge importance to developing countries to ensure that conditions are created for the practical enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all people.
President Zuma is also expected to hold several bilateral meetings with his counterparts during UNGA71.
The President will be accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of State Security, Mr David Mahlobo; Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jeff Radebe; Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba; Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi; Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies and the Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo.
Enquiries: Dr Bongani Ngqulunga
Cell: 082 308 9373
Issued by: The Presidency