President Jacob Zuma has arrived in New York in the US to attend the General Debate of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).

The session is being held under the theme: “The Sustainable Development Goals: A universal push to transform our world.” The Presidency said the General Debate presented an opportunity for member states to take stock of the effectiveness of the UN‚ and it was expected that member states would use the debate to chart a way forward to improve the organisation’s efficiency and relevance by making it more democratic‚ responsive and transparent.

Deliberations are expected to focus on UN reform‚ including the revitalisation of the UNGA; improvement of the work of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and most importantly‚ the substantive reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to expand its membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories‚ the Presidency said.

“This will also be the final General Debate for the current Secretary-General‚ Mr Ban Ki Moon‚ whose term ends on 31 December this year. The process of appointing his successor is underway and expected to feature in discussions at the General Debate.

“South Africa will use the opportunity to communicate progress made towards achieving Africa’s development including the industrialization and regional integration drives‚ with the aim of achieving a better life for South Africans and all in the continent‚” said Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga.

“South Africa will also continue to raise concern regarding the strength of the institutions of global governance‚ including the United Nations‚ specifically the Security Council‚ and to advocate for the urgent reform of these institutions with the aim of correcting the historical injustice against Africa‚ reflected in their outdated structures‚” Ngqulunga said.

He added that Zuma would also participate in several high-level meetings on the margins of the debate.