Nana’s Substandard UN Speech Dodges US Exit From ‘Paris Climate Change Accord’

…As Prez Mahama stands tall for advocating Palestinian nationhood in similar speeches

As was expected, President Nana AKufo-Addo is getting a lot of flak over the substandard nature of his maiden address to the United Nations last Thursday, September 21.

Comparison of Nana’s speech, to a rich heritage of Presidential addresses from Ghana, including those by his predecessor, John Dramani Mahama, who one-time boldly advocated Palestine’s right to nationhood, has left Akufo-Addo eclipsed as a black sheep.

Among others, President Akufo-Addo’s maiden address on that important international platform, failed to tackle the elephant in the room, tiptoeing around the topical issue of the US’ withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Accord on Climate Change.

Donald Trump’s decision in June, this year, to withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris Accord, in spite of the fact that the US is the second highest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, only after China, was met with global criticism.

From his own small corner, even former President Mahama had joined in direct criticism of the US President, who has started the four-year withdrawal process which, by 2020, will ultimately join the US to only two other countries in the world – Syria and Nicaragua – which have rejected the non-binding agreement.

Along with the rest of the world, nature itself seems to have gotten on to the case of Donald Trump over the withdrawal, as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit the US ,leaving in their wake an estimated $240billion in damages along with loss of lives.

However, when President Akufo-Addo got the attention of the whole world, via the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, he did not even mention the words “climate change,” let alone chide President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Accord, which seeks to rally the world into taking action to save the planet before it is too late.

The closest President Akufo-Addo came to addressing the US’s rascality over climate change was his use of floods as a commonality to all nations across the globe, in relation to the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“And, every day, something happens to bring home to us, the inhabitants of this planet, that we are in it together. There is no better dramatic indication of this truth than the images that have recently dominated our television screens of devastation caused by floods in Houston Texas, in Dhaka Bangladesh, in Mumbai India, in Palpa Nepal, in Dominica, Puerto Rico, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Martin, all in the Caribbean, and in Niamey Niger.

“One of the most modern cities in the richest, most powerful nation on our earth was suffering the same fate as Niamey in the Sahel region of Africa, one of the poorest parts of the world. At the height of the raging waters, one thing has become clear: it does not matter if you are in the richest or poorest part of the world, the awesome power of nature was on display, and we, humans, came across as the same sad creatures at the mercy of nature.

“As I watched and listened, along with the rest of the world, it occurred to me that, all put together, the SDGs are, indeed, a worthwhile set of goals for the world. They bear repeating: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions and topped up with partnerships for the goals. We should work hard to achieve these goals. The world will be a much better place,” President Akufo-Addo had said.

The tiptoe around the issue of climate change and the US’ withdrawal from the Paris Accord has since left President Akufo-Addo’s maiden address to the UN General Assembly in the estimation of many as cowardly and substandard.

It has also been judged as a departure from a rich heritage of addresses from Ghana, including an address by first President Kwame Nkrumah in 1960, which was greeted with an hour-long standing ovation.

Comparatively, even former President Mahama, has from his own small corner, fought the perceived reckless bully tactics by President Donald Trump than the incumbent Akufo-Addo.

From his Twitter handle, President Mahama had launched out at Donald Trump, calling him uninformed about the urgent and present dangers of climate change, and his withdrawal of the US from the Paris Accord, misguided, immediately President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the US in June.

“Unbelievable! A very sad day for global cooperation. Trump’s decision on climate change comes from a truly uninformed position. The NDC’s agreed at COP21 were voluntary and reached by consensus. Like a flag of changing direction with the wind, the world becomes a truly unpredictable place when such global treaties can be reversed by the electoral decisions of one nation. The rest of the world will forge on with the Paris agreement. We owe it to our children and future generations. The US has just abdicated its leadership on a matter of critical global importance,” President Mahama had stated in a post.

In a series of other tweets, he had added that, “We all worked hard to reach the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. US contributes 20% of CO2 pollution in the atmosphere. #ClimateAction.

“From Ghana, Former President JA Kufuor was one of the eminent coordinators at the COP21. #ClimateChangeIsReal.

“Sacrificing global interest to pander to a narrow domestic political base is eroding US leadership of the world. #ClimateAction.”

Seen to have been a very courageous leader, President Mahama had at one time used his addresses at the UN to advocate that Palestine also had a right to exist as a nation.

It is against the background of such a track record of bold advocacy from Ghana at the UN that President Akufo-Addo went on the same international platform to talk about Ghana’s implementation of Free Senior High School education under his Presidency, while the US leads the world to brink of man-made Armageddon.

According to the President, 90,000 new students have had access to SHS admission due to FSHS, even though he did not state the source of that statistic.

Meanwhile, the disappointment over the President’s address has left communicators of the ruling party panicky. Conversation threads from most Whatsapp Platforms belonging to NPP Communicators are replete with disappointments in the President’s Speech writers, while suggestions for strategies to do damage control over the substandard speech are being sought.



Source: Fiifi Samuels

The Republic News Online

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