President Cyril Ramaphosa will participate virtually in the high-level General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76) starting on Tuesday, the Presidency has said.

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The UNGA76, which will run until September 27 is being held under the theme: “Building resilience through hope – to recover from Covid-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations. The Presidency said due to challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and the scale of the event, the General Debate and High-Level Meetings of UNGA76 will be held in a hybrid format combining in-person and virtual participation.

“The overarching issues that are expected to be dominant and of relevance to South Africa during UNGA76 include recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic; discussions on the UN Secretary-General’s report entitled “Our Common Agenda,” following the 75th anniversary of the United Nations; and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said acting Presidency spokesperson Tyrone Seale.

He said other issues on the agenda include climate change and the upcoming Conference on Climate Change (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in November 2021; reform of the United Nations, and peace and security matters.

President Ramaphosa will deliver a pre-recorded video statement at the General Debate on 23 September 2021 at approximately 15h00 South African time,” said Seale.

“During the General Debate, heads of the delegation are expected to state the positions of their governments on topical issues that the United Nations is seized with, pertaining to the three pillars of the work of the UN system, namely, peace and security, human rights, and development.

The General Debate will also provide member states with an opportunity to raise matters relating to priorities and concerns that are of a national, regional, and global nature. Seale said Ramaphosa will also deliver a pre-recorded video statement at the Opening Plenary Meeting of the High-Level Meeting on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), which will take place on Wednesday.

The theme for that session on Wednesday is: “Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent.” President Ramaphosa will deliver a pre-recorded statement marking 20 years since South Africa hosted the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban,” said Seale.

At that conference hosted in South Africa, the United Nations member states adopted a landmark plan for combating the listed scourges.

The 2001 declaration embodies the commitments of the international community to address the legacy of the past, as well as contemporary forms and manifestations of racism and racial discrimination, including the acknowledgement that slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity,” said Seale.

As an outcome of this week’s High-Level Meeting, Seale said member states will adopt a political declaration aimed at mobilising political will at the national, regional, and international levels for the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and its follow-up processes.