By Ismael Kasooha
The President of the United Nations General Assembly Dennis Francis has said the UN will support Uganda during its chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Uganda assumed the chairmanship of the second largest grouping after the UN during its 19th summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala on 19 January 2024.
H.E. President Yoweri Museveni, who will chair NAM until 2027, received the instruments of the office from H.E. Jeyhun Aziz oglu Bayramov, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Azerbaijan, on behalf of President Ilham Aliyev, who has been the chair.
“Uganda will have a critical role because you are now taking on the chairmanship and I can commit to you that my presidency and my team are fully ready to support you and to encourage any work or initiative Uganda wishes to take forward,” Francis said during a meeting with the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja on the sidelines of the NAM summit on Friday.
He lauded Uganda for its development efforts and congratulated the country upon hosting this global summit.
The UN General Assembly President told the Prime Minister that the UN was preparing to hold the “Sustainability Week” in April in New York. The event, Francis said, will focus on major issues, including transportation, tourism, Infrastructure, energy, and debt sustainability.
“The objective of that week of dialogue is to incentivize progress on SDG number one as well as create content for the summit of the future,” he added. “So I will be very grateful for the active participation of Uganda,”
Uganda hosted NAM between 15 and 20 January 2024. Thereafter, it hosted the G77 and China from 21 to 23 January.
Nabbanja told the UN General Assembly President that Uganda had made progress in various areas over the years, including reducing maternal and infant mortality rates. She added that Uganda was also implementing various programmes to improve the quality of life for Ugandans.
However, the Prime Minister said the country was grappling with climate change effects like floods and landslides that had already killed many lives in various parts of the country. Nabbanja also said that developing countries were hit by climate change disasters yet their contribution to the global greenhouse gas emissions was minimal.
She urged the UN to help developing countries access the Loss and Damage Fund to deal with climate change disasters and strengthen mitigation efforts.
“We need your help so that some of the debts that we have are cancelled to spur development in the country,” Nabbanja added. “We have suffered a significant loss in terms of infrastructure as some of the roads built with loans have been washed away by floods as a result of weather and environmental changes,”
The Prime Minister also met with the Vice President of Turkey H.E Cevdet Yilmaz and Jalil Abbas Jilani, the Foreign Affairs Minister from Pakistan during the NAM Summit. She discussed with the two leaders the investment opportunities in trade, health, and education, among others, in Uganda.