Racism, xenophobia, protectionism constitute threat to multilateral efforts at addressing global challenges – Muhammad-Bande

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Amb. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande
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By Lizzy Okoji

Abuja – Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President, United Nations General Assembly says racism, xenophobia, resurgent nationalism, as well as tendencies toward protectionism in Africa and other parts of the world are a threat multilateral efforts at addressing global challenges.

Muhammad-Bande made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja when he paid his first official visit to Nigeria since he was elected President of UNGA.

Multilateral efforts are processes of organising relations between groups of three or more states. Multilateral efforts comprise certain qualitative elements or principles such as indivisibility of interests among participants, a commitment to diffuse reciprocity, and a system of dispute settlement intended to enforce a particular mode of behaviour.

These elements and principles shape the character of the multilateral efforts or arrangement.

According to him, no country of community Is self-sufficient, hence the need to strife for peace and unity.

He said that the striving for meaningful development required countries in Africa to work closely to collectively address the challenges and concerns of the continent.

He added that it was for that reason no African country remained silent on racism and xenophobia.

“All African countries have condemned racism. No African country is silent on racism. After all, the struggle against apartheid was not a South African struggle, but a struggle of Africans and its friends and those who believe in humanity and that is one.

“The situation surrounding South Africa has already been resolved.

“It is not even an issue between South Africa and Nigeria.

“It involves other African countries and the mistake in that situation has been well-understood and resolved.

“The visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to South Africa shows the whole idea that going forward, it is simply and collectively to address common concerns on the continent.

“Nationalism that is arising out of certain statuses of society where some people feel overwhelmed by others again, these are counter to global norms.

“And the few countries that are pushed in that direction again are still part of the international community that affirms universal rights.

 “I cannot say that any community can by itself be self-sufficient,” Muhammad-Bande said.

On the issue of irregular migration, which is a challenge not only in African but in other parts of the world, the UNGA president said that the UN adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at an international conference held in Dec. 2018, in Marrakech, Morroco after it was endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

The conference was convened under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly.

It was held pursuant to resolution 71/1 of  Sept. 19 2016, entitled “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants,” which decided to launch a process of intergovernmental negotiations leading to the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration.

He said that the Compact was to cover all dimensions of migration and to ensure migration was done in a safe and regular manner.

According to him, the document is very rich and it seeks to address the concerns of migration.

Muhammad-Bande added that the first positive development contained in the document was the recognition of migration as a positive thing.

The president of the General Assembly, however, explained that migration could be on the negative when carried out in an irregular manner and through dangerous and deadly routes.

Muhammad-Bande said that the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration was a hard negotiation for stakeholders “but there is an opportunity to see how well it will be implemented.”

He said that the document would be reviewed after four years to assess the successes recorded and the challenges still existing for further action to be taken.

He noted that the adoption of a compact is derived from the fact that “there is a problem and the way to deal with a problem is to see collectively whether there is a way to address that problem.”


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