Cameroon on global stage again!.

Philemon Yunji Yang: UN General Assembly President-elect

Cameroon has made another landmark access globally, securing the highly-coveted Presidency of the 79th General Assembly of the United Nations! The victory has been achieved through the election of the Grand Chancellor of National Orders cum former Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yunji Yang, to the office of President of the 79th General Assembly of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA.

Yang was voted Thursday during a session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, United States of America, USA. 

He gets to the sought-after office on the strength of Cameroon’s diplomacy and Africa’s ticket to provide a candidate for the position.

The former Prime Minister will take over from Trinidad and Tobago’s Dennis Francis in September this year. Yang will serve in the capacity of President of the United Nations General Assembly for one year. 

He has capped his mandate on the theme: “Unity in diversity for the advancement of peace, sustainable development and human dignity for everyone”. 

His term of office will span September 2024 to September 2025.

His election is the outcome of sustained actions for several months, that enjoyed the backing of the Head of State, President Paul Biya. 

President Biya had, before Yang’s election yesterday, made covert and overt moves, seeking to get resounding backing for Yang to serve in the high global office.

Prior to yesterday’s election, Yang had earlier arrived New York in the United States, where he held several meetings with representatives of UN member countries and marketing his global vision to revive the UN.

The informal interactive dialogue meetings were held under the Chairmanship of the President of the UN 78th General Assembly, Dennis Fracncis. 

Yang’s vision, unveiled at the meeting, was anchored on priorities which the 193 member states of the United Nations had identified.

Having pushed his message with the focus on forging values that will help in addressing the conflicts affecting the world, Yang was clear about where he wants to see the UN during his time as General Assembly President. 

His vision statement, presented to member states, talked of “…promotion of sustainable economic growth and development, following the relevant resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly”.

The respected diplomat is also looking forward to beefing up the “maintenance of international peace and security, development of Africa, promotion of human rights, effective coordination of humanitarian assistance efforts and ensuring the rule of law and promotion of international justice”.

He is gazing to work on “disarmament and drug control, crime prevention and combatting international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”.


Looking up to reignite political commitment 

Like his boss, President Paul Biya, Yang also shares in the view that there is somewhat lack of commitment and political will in getting the UN live up to its billing. 

In this perspective, he is looking forward to triggering a fresh global renaissance among countries in respect of their commitments towards the UN.

“During my tenure, I will stress the need to fast-track the measures to be taken by the General Assembly to ensure the effective implementation of mutual commitments. The means of implementation, in particular finances, science and technology, are therefore of the utmost urgency,” Yang is quoted as having said, while addressing member countries.

To also ensure effectiveness in the running of the UN, he has also promised to “hold frequent consultations and maintain contact with various regional or functional groups in order to jointly review, not only their won specific concerns or interests, but also any measures the assembly may take”.


Biya changes momentum for Yang to secure job

Despite background work to achieve what transpired yesterday, the first time President Biya openly asked for support for Yang was on January 6, 2024.

 This was while receiving New Year wishes from the diplomatic corps.

Biya had talked of Cameroon’s believe in the potential of the UN, despite attempts to weaken it, adding that such an unwavering attachment to revive the global body, “explains Cameroon’s candidacy for the Presidency of the 79th session of the United Nations General Assembly, for which I am canvassing the support of all of you”.


Cameroon overtakes South Africa

To note that in March this year, Cameroon overtook South Africa that was also pushing to put forth a candidate for the position of 79th UN General Assembly. 

The Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, AU, Commission had endorsed Yang for the top job. This was during its 44th session. 

AU Heads of State and Governments, in similar tone, later endorsed Yang during their 37th Ordinary Session, which followed that of the Executive Council of the AU Commission. 

The backing from Africa caused South Africa to withdraw from the race.



This story was first published in The Guardian Post issue No3134 of Friday June 07, 2024






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