…UN Resident Coordinator in Lesotho, Karla Hershey, rallies Basotho
Lesotho on Friday joined the rest of the globe in commemorating United Nations (UN) Day.
The Day marks the ratification of the UN Charter in 1945, and has been celebrated on 24 October every year since 1948 “to make the UN’s aims and achievements known, and gain the people’s support”.
This year’s UN Day was celebrated under the theme, Global Citizenship and Youth.
Speaking during celebrations held at Maseru Club, UN Resident Coordinator in Lesotho, Karla Robin Hershey, said this year’s commemorations come at a time the world is at a “crossroads”, with millions of people fleeing conflict in their respective countries.
“In every direction we look, it is easy to see insecurity and fear. In Lesotho, the same feeling of insecurity has cast shadows over hope. Lesotho now has the second highest prevalence of HIV worldwide (at 23 percent) and half of Basotho still live below the poverty line,” Ms Hershey said.
“But let us reject fear and embrace the challenges before us. We have good reason to do so. Assembled across this field are plenty of reasons to find hope.”
Ms Hershey outlined some of the assistance the UN has provided in Lesotho to reduce poverty and hunger.
“The UN and its partners work every day to provide more than 200 000 children in more than 2000 schools with nutritious meals.
“Last year alone, 170 000 people received direct access to food during times of food insecurity. A total of 3522 preschool teachers have been trained to use a UN-supported curriculum, and 100 percent of teachers have received at least six days of training on teaching young children,” Ms Hershey added.
On his part, Public Works and Transport Minister, Lebesa Maloi said he wanted to restate UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon’s call to dedicate this year’s commemorations to respecting the founding ideas of the intergovernmental organisation.
“Lack of political dialogue and tolerance is what is driving nations apart. We need to recommit to the total respect of the values we set for ourselves during the establishment of the UN in 1945, namely, maintenance of peace and security, development of friendly relations among nations and achievement of international cooperation in solving international problems,” Mr Maloi said.
“We owe it to the citizens of the world to restore peace and promote tolerance. Lesotho has not been an exception in this changed political landscape, which is why we have a duty to ensure this country is at peace with itself.”
Mr Maloi further noted this year’s UN Day comes “just a few months” before the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline.
The eight MDGs – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education by 2015 – are a blueprint agreed to by all countries and the world’s leading development institutions.
“I welcome the UN’s resolve to continue on the path of ensuring the MDGs are prioritised,” the minister said, adding despite “remarkable advances” in achieving the goals, extreme poverty, rampant inequality, malnutrition and vulnerability to climate change, persist in most parts of the world.