GFDD/FUNGLODE hosts Global Roundtable at the United Nations General Assembly

April 19, 2011

On April 16, GFDD/FUNGLODE convened its fourth Global Roundtable at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in close association with the UN Association of the DR (UNA-DR), who was organizing its fifth New York Model United Nations taking place April 16 – 21, 2011.
The Roundtable presented the Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations, His Excellency
Jean-Francis R. Zinsou, who also serves as co-facilitator for the consultations on the organization of United Nations Conference of Youth in 2011.  This special session focused on important youth initiatives at the UN, with an emphasis on encouraging young people to dedicate themselves to taking positive steps towards achieving many of the youth-related UN Millennium Development Goals.
The Ambassador first spoke about Benin, one of the strongest
democracies in the African continent, and a nation fully committed to the MDG”s.  Benin, like the DR, represents one of the pilot countries in the UN MDG program.
Two months ago, Benin”s President Boni Yayi was re-elected in a landslide victory for a second term in office.  He immediately announced a number of popular measures including free and compulsory basic education including the establishment of 6,000 new classrooms creating
employment for 20,000 teachers. He also introduced free maternal child health benefits, such as malaria treatment.
To stimulate the economy and take positive steps to eradicate poverty, President Yayi also introduced micro-credit initiatives. He has placed emphasis on the importance of stability and a sound legal system as a foundational framework for development and for attracting foreign investment, particularly in the growth area of ICTs and
Benin’s tourism industry.
Benin recently opened up to the outside world with the launch of a satellite TV station broadcasting Benin’s national programs in the Americas. Not only has this allowed Benin nationals living outside the country to have more access to information about their homeland, but it is also expected that this new access will be beneficial both in terms of trade and economic development.
Following the discussion, Ambassador Zinsou, in his capacity as co-facilitator on the Conference On Youth, then took questions from young individuals representing the Dominican Model United Nations.  He explained that one of the major achievements of the UN has been to bring youth-related issues to the forefront in addition to the considerable progress made in the areas of health and education. With reference to the future, he highlighted the challenges presented by climate
change, natural disasters and the effect both have on young people in Benin and around the world.
The UN Conference on Youth takes place in June, 2011.
About the Roundtable

GFDD Global Roundtable is a new initiative providing a valuable forum for discussion, analysis, and exchange of ideas from distinguished members of the international community in an effort to spread the
news, knowledge and understanding of other countries, global issues and work of different United Nations bodies to its audience in the Dominican Republic, the US and around the world. It is made possible with the partnership with South-South News.