New York – President George Weah, addressing world leaders during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, pledged that his government would uphold the principles of free, fair, and transparent elections, despite his own candidacy in the upcoming elections.
By Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
The October 10 general and presidential elections would mark the first major post-war elections to be held in the absence of international peacekeepers. It would mark the fourth democratic election since the end of the war.
There are 20 presidential candidates contesting the elections.
According to the Liberian President, he is a “strong believer in democracy” and he called for the respect of constitutional governance and respect for the will of the people.
Pres. Weah assured the UN General Assembly that Liberia has taken steps to ensure peaceful elections, including the signing of the 2023 Farmington Declaration which was signed by all political parties and actors, committing themselves to a peaceful electoral process.
The Liberian President also emphasized the importance of democracy, constitutional governance, and respecting the will of the people.
Addressing Global Challenges
Meanwhile, President Weah has highlighted the importance of addressing global challenges collectively, including security, social, economic, political, and natural disasters. He stressed the need for global solidarity and trust to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing that achieving these goals required collaboration at bilateral and multilateral levels.
He called for global action on climate change, pledging to work towards a 64 percent reduction in carbon emissions and to build resilience against climate change. He expressed hope that concrete global actions would be taken to address the climate crisis and attain the goals of the Common Agenda.
“Our world is also under threat from natural calamities, as seen with extreme climate conditions globally. It is therefore our collective responsibility to urgently prioritize addressing the climate crisis as we strive to reach a target of 64 percent reduction in carbon emission. 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.
President Weah underscored the theme of this year’s debate, “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on The 2030 Agenda and Its SDGs Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability For All.” He called for development assistance to align with SDG projects and voiced support for the Secretary-General’s agenda to accelerate existing agreements and promote global solidarity.
The President also discussed the challenges posed by non-state armed actors, nuclear threats, and extreme climate conditions. He emphasized the importance of accountability and mutual understanding in reaching the 2030 vision and highlighted Liberia’s commitment to the SDGs, aligning them with their National Development Plan.
He assured that his government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Development and Prosperity is aligned with Vision 2030. According to him, the Pro-Poor Agenda represents his government’s resolve to to achieve peace and prosperity, while addressing the structural impediments to economic growth and national development.
In terms of economic growth, President Weah acknowledged global economic slowdown but pointed out Liberia’s progress in areas such as health, education, gender equality, and infrastructure development. He expressed gratitude for the UN’s attention to global health and reiterated Liberia’s commitment to providing basic services to its population, which comprises a significant youth demographic.
Infrastructure development, particularly in roads and energy, was a focal point of the President’s address. He supported Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ proposed SDG stimulus plan and called for increased funding to boost sustainable development, address debt issues, and provide contingency financing to countries in need.
Said Pres. Weah: “The slowdown in global economic growth continues to be a challenge. Over the past 12 months, Liberia has made progress in areas, ranging from health to education, gender equality, and infrastructural development. We are proud of our achievements in reducing maternal mortality rates, increasing gender parity in school enrollment, and elevating our overall health and well-being.
“Liberia appreciates the fact that this august body has once again directed its attention to issues of global health, as demonstrated by the number of high-level meetings to keep this critical issue on our collective agenda.”
President Weah stressed the importance of unity, resilience, and ambition, calling for collaboration between governments, non-governmental stakeholders, and other partners to achieve a brighter future. He emphasized that global challenges could only be overcome through collaboration and unity among nations and stakeholders.