UN needs to be more responsive to global challenges: Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has challenged world leaders to play their part in ensuring that the United Nations is more responsive to global challenges.

Ramaphosa was speaking during the Nelson Mandela Peace summit at UN headquarters in New York on Monday.

The summit is part of the UN centenary commemoration of Mandela’s birth, and followed the unveiling of a statue donated by South Africa.

President Ramaphosa says world leaders can no longer ignore global challenges such as terrorism, transnational organised crime, illicit flows of finance and the growing number of refugees.

“The United Nations can only succeed to the degree that we, as global leaders, provide visionary leadership that transcends our ideological differences and narrow national interest. Through this Peace Summit, the current generation of global leadership is given an opportunity, not only to reflect on peace in the world, but to take those measures necessary to end the wars that continue to take millions of innocent lives,” he said.

Graca Machel laments loss of lives in conflict

Mandela’s widow Graca Machel also addressed the summit. She lamented the loss of lives in conflict-ridden countries such as Syria, Yemen, South Sudan and Myanmar amongst others, particularly women and children.

“It is time for every leader here to take responsibility, those who are involved in authorities plaguing our world, those who take side and those who sit in silence. As leader of this time, you have moral imperative and the ability to bring the death and destruction we witness on a daily basis to an end. History will judge you should you stagnate too long in your inaction.”