TIMELY AND NECESSARY MEASURES

Nigeria 2020 | DIPLOMACY | INTERVIEW

Soft loans for women and youth, access to free primary education, and investing in teacher education are three of the most important ways of pulling people out of poverty.

Along with Argentina and Ecuador, Nigeria is the only country that has twice had a national elected as president of the General Assembly. What does the UN expect from the Nigerian government in order to carry out its missions more effectively?
Nigeria is a strong believer in collaboration and multilateralism. Since joining the UN in 1960, Nigeria has worked constructively with other member states toward the achievement of the organization's goals. It has served many times on the Security Council and is an active member of numerous committees, including the special committee on peacekeeping operations. Today, Nigeria is among the most notable troop-contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions and has continuously demonstrated a readiness to contribute to international peace and security. In terms of the UN's expectations, the Nigerian government will continue in the same vein both within the international community as well as within the UN itself. Like other countries, Nigeria has high expectations of the UN. The organization needs to address a trust deficit in order to deepen partnerships and position multilateralism as the best way to confront the many challenges facing the international community. It needs to redouble efforts to bridge gaps and act for the common good of the people it serves, particularly as we prepare for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the organization.

The UN has played a key role in mitigating the effects of conflict in Nigeria. What is the assessment of the situation today, and what are the UN's strategies to fight these threats?
The Nigerian government and its military have done a lot in the fight against insurgency and terrorism and have attained considerable gains. However, terrorist and criminal acts have led to the loss of life, considerable destruction of the northeastern part of the country and the Lake Chad area, as well as massive displacement of Nigerians both within and into neighboring countries. The UN's involvement in mitigating these effects is based on decisions made by the UN Security Council to support the states concerned in addressing the impact and threat on peace and security, including the political, socioeconomic, and humanitarian aspects. The UN also carries out field missions to strengthen support for affected countries. There is still a need to strengthen the UN Resident Coordinators to ensure the appropriate skills and capabilities needed have a maximum impact on the ground. The hope is that the 2020 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture will enable the necessary environment to allow for more effective mitigation of the effects of crisis resilience.

In 2020, the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary. What are the primary goals for your presidency of the General Assembly?
As we look forward to the 75th anniversary of the founding of the organization, it is important to acknowledge not only the challenges that confront us, but also the opportunity for the UN as a multilateral institution to highlight its key role in tackling complex global problems. In my role as president of the 74th session, I will give special focus to promoting peace and security, with special emphasis on conflict prevention. Strengthening global action to tackle climate change is integral to the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and will naturally receive my attention. I shall also give high priority to accentuating inclusion, human rights, and the empowerment of youth and women, respectively. Above all, my presidency will adopt measures to strengthen partnerships, especially those for the purpose of advancing Sustainable Development Goals, particularly poverty eradication, hunger, and quality education.

How can Nigeria best improve the welfare of its people?
By providing soft loans for women and youth to start small-scale businesses, access to free primary education, and investing in teacher education, we can eradicate poverty, reach zero hunger, and implement quality education.