In March, Rwanda has been the epicenter of sustainable development in Africa. First the 8 Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development opened by HE Paul Kagame, President of the Republic in the presence of the Deputy Secretary-General, convened ministers, UN senior officials to discuss the best way to build forward better from COVID-19 to achieve the SDGs. Second, the DSG’s interaction with the Rwanda UNCT and the Africa Resident Coordinators and the Africa RCs’ mini-retreat (35 physically present in Kigali) to better position UN to continue partnering with Governments, private sector and CSOs in the important journey of the SDGs, leaving no one behind. Last but not least the first awarding ceremony in Africa of Gender Seal and the Private sector to recognize the important work on gender and women empowerment by prominent private and public sector institutions. History in the making. Before the ARFSD, panel discussions engage youth and women organizations and science and technology, critical elements of the required Africa’s transformation. All these events have happened in person in Rwanda because of the tremendous results of the Government and its partners, including UN, in fighting COVID-19 with a rate of 60% of fully vaccinated population. The economy is opening up and recovery is on its way!
Hosting the ARFSD was a great opportunity to showcase our UN and Government collective efforts accelerating the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and we say thank you!
All the human-interest stories that you will read are a reflection of what the Sustainable development agenda is about: reaching the last mile for the vulnerable and excluded and fostering a more equitable, peaceful, inclusive and just society; Learning self-love through peer education by UNICEF, refugee women who are building fortunes and self-reliance through UNHCR support, IOM’s interventions for strengthened social cohesion and psycho-social well-being in Rusizi and Bukavu, Young People in Rwanda committed to accelerate the implementation of population and development (ICPD25) action plan with UNFPA, UN Women "Rings the Bell" to highlight a business case for gender equality, FAO Rwanda’s twofold contribution in rural women empowerment, Irrigation, and WASH, and From tragedy to hope: Landslide survivors in Karongi District by UNDP.
We are still in the month of gender celebration. The International Women’s Day “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, calls for our collective action and shared responsibility on two of the biggest challenges of our planet: a climate resilient and friendly humanity and generation equality! COP27, the Conference on climate, will be an opportunity to reiterate our global commitment in the soil of Africa. Egypt will host in November 2022! An opportunity also for Rwanda to show its strong leadership on climate and environment action! Let us imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse and better for all. Together we can defeat the pessimism on climate and gender equality and enhance hope. Rwanda will continue to be the go-to location to find solutions on global challenges:
The upcoming Conferences: Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and the World Telecommunication Development Conference to be held in Kigali in 2022 will be opportunities for advocacy on various subject matters relevant to us all, including climate and environment, socio-economic needs, digital revolution among others.
I and the UN Family in Rwanda thank the Government, the private sector, the CSOs and all partners for our strong partnership for continuing delivering on national priorities, as we reiterated, during the last Development Partner Retreat in March, our commitment to redouble our services for the people, transforming their lives, mainly for the vulnerable ones. Let us do more, better and differently, in this exciting journey but full of challenges as COVID-19 has taught us and as the consequences of the Ukraine crisis are unfolding. More than ever, vulnerabilities, uncertainties, complexity and ambiguities remain the drivers of our context. But our agility, our creativity, our strongness, our togetherness, our dedication and professionalism, as shown by our March UNCT team building retreat, dictate only one course of action: success! This is more relevant in our country to uphold the torch of hope!
Indeed, every April, the world joins Rwanda to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. I and the UN family stand together in solidarity with all Rwandans, with all fallen colleagues and their families! Never again should be a reality here and everywhere. Remember, renew, reunite! The UN will hold its Commemoration on 12th April, 2022 and I welcome you all to join us virtually.