“Sometimes all you need is just a statement. But I remember the current Ethiopian President visited Malawi at the instruction of the then Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to help bring about peace,”
By Arnold Mnelemba – Contributor
Former Malawi President Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda has emphasised the need for senior female employees working with the United Nations (UN) to be empathic and offer swift response when the vulnerable and the underprivileged are under attack.
Dr. Banda said this at Senior African Women UN Leaders Retreat for the year 2022 held under the theme “Leveraging women’s leadership to achieve transformative change” which was converged by the UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed at Radisson Arboretum, Nairobi, Kenya.
The retreat brought together senior former and sitting women leaders including the former Malawi leader Dr. Joyce Banda, President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde, former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Vice President of Gambia Fotoumata Tambajang and former Chair of African Union (AU) Commission Nkosazana Dlamin-Zuma.
JB as she is fondly known, said workers at the UN have got a great role to play in safeguarding and protecting the rights of all mankind including the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
She commended the Ethiopian President for the role she played when she was a Regional Director of the United Nations when she helped bring peace in Malawi during the July 20 protests in 2011.
“Sometimes all you need is just a statement. But I remember the current Ethiopian President visited Malawi at the instruction of the then Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to help bring about peace,” said Banda.
The Former Malawi leader was speaking at the retreat whose key objective was to bring the vast learning and leadership of past leaders to setting the scene for the current set of African women leaders to reflect and propose solutions to current needs on the continent across the three pillars of peace, development, and human rights as well as discussing and agreeing on opportunities to work together across current roles, mandates and budget.
The women were meeting at a time when despite calls, declarations and resolutions, global inequality has continued to prevail. Above all, this is taking place against the backdrop of an existential global crisis, a climate emergency that places in peril the future of the planet on which human survival depends.
The senior women leaders also discussed the greater inclusion that lies at the heart of transformed approaches and new thinking taking into consideration the context of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063.
UN Senior African Women Leaders can become powerful agents of change that promote an Africa whose development is people-driven, an Africa that leaves no one behind.
United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed said this is the first time in history when the largest number of African women in positions of leadership in the United Nations, growing numbers of women among the African Permanent Representatives to the UN, and the greatest numbers of women in key positions of leadership in the African Union and as ministers of African countries.
She said despite the ceiling and additional obstacles for women of colour, there is a significant and growing cohort of African women leaders – leaders who because of their personal experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives are uniquely positioned to contribute to the shift in course and new vision needed to recast the 2015 agreements – Agenda 2030, the Paris Agreement, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
The shift in representation she said has contributed to a perceptible shift in institutional culture, tone, issues and approaches. Mahommed said more is needed for it to become a powerful tool that leads Africa to leapfrog toward sustainable development. A new narrative is required.
“A new discourse that places the focus of attention in building inclusive and transparent institutions and policy frameworks that empower Africa to own its present and its future,” said Mahommed.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed development gains and forced governments to divert funds from medium and long-term development programmes to short term emergency expenditures hence the need for innovative means of financing.
Mahommed said this situation has particularly impacted African countries, where shrinking fiscal space and increased financial demands are straining capacity and resources to ensure the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.
While in Kenya, the Former Malawi also held meetings some board members of Human Capital Africa (HCA) discussing education and a team of medical doctors through iHope link where they discussed a possibility of bringing to Malawi an impactful and lasting healthcare to communities in need through state-of-art medical treatment and health education.
The Author, Arnold Mnelemba an Executive Assistant in the office of the Former President.