Our aspirations are just, but whilst notions of justice give strength to aspirations, we can only fulfill our aspirations when we act, when we come together, when we are aware that the shift in the global power structures that we demand would not be given to us on a silver platter.
I am honoured to state that my colleague heads of state, being experienced players in the field of power politics have always demonstrated this awareness. Our presence here today is a testament of this awareness, and a demonstration of our willingness to put more into this fight of a generation. Africa demands United Nations Security Council reforms not only to redress the injustice of being the only continent without a permanent representation in that topmost global decision making body, but mainly because we also believe it shall be good for the world, it shall make the council more democratic, give it greater legitimacy, and fully recognize the reality of a resurgent Africa that wishes to lend its strength and longstanding wisdom and values to the peoples of the world.
The Security Council is definitely poorer without Africa’s representation in its permanent membership category and its associated rights. We want to kick that poverty out of the Security Council by our presence, we want to introduce and consolidate greater democracy in the Security Council, we want the Council to become truly reflective of the aspirations of all the continents of the world. Our representation in the Security Council will make it a better decision making body for America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.
I repeat, our aspirations are not only about redressing historic injustices, they are about making the council stronger, more democratic and more legitimate; it is about enabling the council to withstand the tests that a globalized and very interconnected world would present to it; it is about making the council take up issues before they become too late to resolve, it is about making the council more proactive, and acting with greater wisdom and strength in meeting the challenges of our world.
Africa has firsthand knowledge of these challenges, from terrorism, to armed conflict, to refugee crises, to human and drug trafficking, piracy, climate change and many more. None of these challenges can be truly resolved without permanent seats for our continent at the United Nations Security Council. That is the truth; that is the reality. A wiser world should therefore pay heed to Africa’s aspiration. We must be part of the solution for any solution to be sustained; there are no two ways about it. Imposition of solutions on us is a non-starter.
We have looked at the positions of other countries outside Africa; we have studied the proposals of other regional bodies. We believe they are all agreed on the need for Africa’s increased and strengthened representation in the Security Council. That is a common ground. But we differ on the extent of the strength and the depth of our representation. We do not demand permanent representation for the sake of permanent representation. We seek effective permanent representation, for that is the only type of representation that will bring about the type of voice, strength, democracy, legitimacy and resilience that the globalized world warrants. That is our position: representation that counts, representation that matters, representation that is effective.
I commend our collective dedication to the achievement of this noble objective. I am convinced and inspired by our collective resolve, and that of reform - minded nations across the world that support not only our aspiration but also the need to create a just and fair world through equitable representation at the United Nations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
In this new year, we must continue to relentlessly promote, advance and canvass for the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration as the most viable option[s] in ensuring that the United Nations is truly equitably representative in the 21st century and beyond.
In the last two days, our Foreign Ministers and Senior Officials held preparatory meetings to assist us in the work we have at hand today. In compliance with the Oyo Conclusions, today’s summit will focus on an assessment of the outreach meetings with the five permanent Members of the Security Council by our Foreign Ministers, deliberations at on-going intergovernmental negotiations in New York, efforts made by us during interactions with partners at multilateral and bilateral meetings and coming up with a strategy on the way forward.
The Windhoek C-10 is therefore another milestone in our resolve and commitment to relentlessly pursue the objectives of the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.
I want to thank Member States and interest groups who continue to unequivocally support the Common African Position. Let me congratulate Ms. Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg on her appointment as Chair of the IGN and to also thank her for accepting our invitation.
Your Excellences, Distinguished Guests, I am profoundly grateful to the Government and People of Namibia, in particular to my brother and colleague, His Excellency Hange Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia for graciously agreeing to host this Summit in this beautiful city of Windhoek. Let me take this opportunity on behalf of my delegation to express my sincere thanks to Your Excellency and to the People of Namibia for the warm reception and wonderful hospitality accorded us.
May our deliberations here today provide us firm footing on the stepping stones to achieve the Ezulwini objectives on Security Council reform.
It is now my honor to declare open this C-10 summit.
I thank you for your kind attention and I wish us all a happy and successful 2016.