EJS Speaks To UK Parliament -Says UK Can Mobilize Consensus on World’s Challenges

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MONROVIA: Amid the paralyzing impact of the novel coronavirus, which has grounded both powerful and weak nations, coupled with rising militancy in protest to systemic racism, smart governments are initiating informed conversations that would produce sensible solutions to the prevailing predicaments. The United Kingdom, which once ruled most part of the world as an empire, is still keenly concerned about addressing contemporary disconnect amongst nations and peoples amid growing socioeconomic, cultural and political upheavals. Its Parliament, arguably the oldest in the world, has been hearing a mix of public views on how to address creeping challenges, including COVID-19, poverty, racism and inequality. Amongst the pool of experts asked to contribute to the conversation was Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (EJS) who, in a statement to the Parliament, particularly held the feet of the government and people of that country to ensuring the building of consensus amongst nations to solve the raging problems of the world. The Analyst reports.

Speaking engagements for former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf are not receding at all, as many nations and organizations continue to seek her counsel on intractable challenges facing the world. The latest commitment was brought about at the United Kingdom Parliament Tv, which has been sampling experts’ views on issues of racism triggering widespread protests around the world, COVID-19, trade amongst others.

In a statement, the former Liberian President drew attention to the immense human tragedies brought on by the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic and its effect on the global economy to the global protests against systemic racism.
According to her these have presented a huge new and urgent demand for change in our world, a demand to which the UK, an established world power, and Africa, the Continent of the young and home to 16 percent of the world’s population, must respond.

Madam Sirleaf revealed that at the multilateral level, “we have seen the workings of the United Nations Security Council and other global institutions become increasingly ineffective because of entrenched resistance to change.”

This condition, she said, is further exacerbated by the rising tensions between the United States and China played out in our global institutions including the World Health Organization.

She added: “The truth is that the threats we now face to global health as well as the maintenance of international peace and security are new, and will require our responses to be global, reformative and innovative. Accordingly, the United Kingdom can play a vital role in amassing the weight of its global influence toward building the needed international consensus required to address the presenting global challenges.”

The former President told the UK Parliament that there is no doubt that despite the myriad challenges Africa is faced with, the continent is willing to engage with the UK in willing partnerships to address our common problems.

“The African Continent understands that we cannot live peacefully, or hope to achieve our developmental goals in the face of perils to international peace, terrorism, imbalance in trade and increasing disregard for international law,” stressed Madam Sirleaf. “And so, the real question is: Can Africa find a willing partner in the UK? Can the UK and Africa’s partnership prioritize both the interests of the United Kingdom, and Africa?”

“Unfortunately, while Africa has and continues to be a reliable global partner, many of its bilateral and multilateral partnerships have left too many African countries poorer, exploited, and with weakened educational, security and health systems. Too often, the structural conditions of the partnerships have so weighed against Africa that, rather than achieving a sense of development, independence and self-sufficiency, African countries are left with mountains of debt, increasing needs, as well as wallowing in poverty traps and growing dependency.”

Madam Sirleaf intimated that the truth remains that “we cannot excuse the tendency of Africa’s partners to either ignore Africa’s emerging realities or impose conditions that do not guarantee meeting Africa’s priorities. The African Continent is sensitive to this reality in forging new partnerships.”

She called on the UK to demonstrate this awareness in partnership with Africa by supporting the E-zul-wini Consensus.

“It is long overdue that Africa is permanently represented on the Security Council of the United Nations,” she noted. “This overdue quest is not driven by a desire to exercise the power to veto. It is a search for increased leverage and deserved credibility by which Africa is repositioned to end its wars, threats of terrorism on its shores, hold itself more accountable for its peace and development, and bring its collective experiences to bear in its added contributions to the maintenance of international peace and security.”

She said Africa’s interest is in building new, bold, people-centered and far-reaching partnerships that are committed to enabling the achievement of our developmental goals, ending conflicts and lifting our people from poverty.

The former Liberian leader lamented: “This, too, is why we encourage investments in Africa’s Development Bank, as well as support for the African Union and other regional bodies, so as to spur regional integration and Africa’s infrastructural development. Increasingly, our Continent has expanded the space for democracy, the peaceful transition of power, and democratic governance. We have continued to move away from military adventurism and dictatorship. However, it must also be said that democratic governance, and democracy itself, are being threatened globally by a growing wave of terrorism, wars, the existence of weak democratic institutions, and especially of recent, the lack of enviable examples from the West, and the opportunistic use of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic to disengage, and accentuate unilateralism and authoritarianism over multilateralism and democratic practices.”