Kenya, Ethiopia and Eritrea seized the opportunity to point fingers at the West for the old developmental paradigm, the threats of climate change, and delay in UN reform, respectively, during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly which took place in the last week of September.

Kenyan President speech at the Assembly contained an ideologically loaded criticism of the external prescriptions for development imposed on Africa b the West for more than half a century.

Uhuru Kenyatta said:resident Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya addresses the General Assembly

“On the continent of Africa the development model of the past 50 years has run its course. This outmoded model was defined by negative trade relations, paternalistic global governance regimes and an over reliance on Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Moreover it was driven by external prescriptions for development that were heavy on political instruction but light on economic and social transformation.

We now know better… We know that our social and economic transformation shall come first from within our nations, our region and our continent and only secondly from the compliment of external ideas and resources. Equally important, these external contributions must recognize the primacy of our aspirations and ideas. They must value and safe guard, rather than simply exploit and consume our domestic resources and the product of our people’s labour.

For the post-2015 Development Agenda to be transformative, therefore, it must first embrace the primacy of developing countries whose people seek sustained development most. Anything less will be a recipe for failure.”

The President added that: “The Ebola crisis underlines the imperative to build strong States that can withstand crisis and respond to emergencies. State weakness in many African countries comes from a history of development paradigms and practices that weakened the state. We must commit to build strong, resilient and accountable states that can effectively response to shocks, adversities and emergencies in the future.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister’s speech, delivered the next day, had a not-that-veiled reminder of the role of the West in bringing about global warming.

Hailemariam Desalegn highlighted:Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn of Ethiopia addresses the General Assembly

“This is also the time that we are striving to achieve an ambitious target that we have set for ourselves to reach a globally binding climate agreement by 2015 so as to limit the rise of global temperature below 2 degree Celsius.

Let me once again express my appreciation to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for convening the Climate Summit two days ago and I hope the outcome of the Summit will help us to make progress in achieving this fundamental objective by catalyzing action to reduce green house gas emissions and strengthening climate resilience.

Needless to say that we in Africa are already facing the brunt of climate change and this is undermining our efforts to meet our development aspirations, including the Millennium Development Goals. For us, mitigation and adaptation remain a priority and we need urgent international support for our efforts in this regard.

Although we have contributed virtually nothing to global warming,we are indeed playing a leading role in terms of mitigation by scaling up our efforts in renewable energy and promoting• energy efficiency. It is only fair and proper that this be adequately recognized and supported.

The challenge posed by climate change no doubt requires leadership and political commitment at all levels. We have no choice but to rise up to this challenge by taking concrete actions to contribute to reducing emissions and demonstrating the necessary political will to achieve a globally binding climate2015. Failure is not an option.”

Eritrea’s representative had another ground to blame the West – whom he referred to as “dominant powers”.

Addressing the General Assembly, Foreign Minister Osman Mohammed Saleh complained:GA pm

“the United Nations, the organization that ostensibly represents the entire community of nations and the peoples of the world, remains stuck in the past. It remains thoroughly dominated by the few and has marginalized the overwhelming majority. Its institutions and structures are an anachronism in the modern world….

The United Nations has fallen far short of playing the primary role in the pursuit of the fundamental objectives for which it was established….

To restore the relevance and credibility of the United Nations, to turn it into a truly representative institution of all nations and peoples, where all nations, no matter how big or small, respect its charter and international law, where all nations contribute, each according to its capabilities for peace and security as well as the welfare of people and the planet, it is imperative that we fundamentally restructure, indeed, democratize and rebuild the United Nations.

This crucial and pressing need to restructure the United Nations has been clear for several decades now, starting from the heyday of the Cold War and throughout the past 25 years during which the world lived through an unsuccessful effort to impose a uni-polar world. Consequently, “UN reform” has formally been on the agenda for close to two decades. No nation has openly disputed the need to restructure the UN, many workable proposals have been presented and thoroughly discussed and yet, we are no nearer to change because of the stubborn and cynical opposition of the dominant powers.”


Daniel Berhane

more recommended stories