|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-first General Assembly
28th & 29th Meetings (AM & PM)
AFRICA WARNS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IT WILL STAY TRAPPED IN LIFE-AND-DEATH STRUGGLE
IF DONORS FAIL TO DELIVER ON PROMISED AID PLEDGES TO LIFT LAGGING DEVELOPMENT
Defeating Malaria, Preventing Conflict Also Focus of Day-Long Meeting
Gathered in New York to discuss an African-led economic recovery and development plan, officials from that troubled continent today warned the General Assembly that, while the rest of the world seemed to be slowly but surely pulling itself out of debt and poverty, the people of Africa would -- if donors failed to deliver on their long-promised aid pledges -- remain trapped in a life-and-death struggle to overcome decades of lagging development and underinvestment.
In two meetings devoted to a review of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) -– the United Nations-backed strategy that pledges better governance in return for increased donor support –- delegations stressed that, as 2005, the so-called “Year for Africa”, had drawn to a close, the African people now faced a lean season: no real partnership between Africa and the international community had materialized, and the “Group of 8” most industrialized nations had yet to fulfil their promises to boost aid and write off debts in Africa.
Expressing hope and frustration in equal measure, speakers welcomed and supported the Partnership’s aims and objectives, particularly the African Peer Review Mechanism and the progress many African countries were making towards the Millennium Development Goals, but time and again, they stressed that their countries’ meagre gains would quickly erode without predictable aid flows, and fair access to global markets. They sought help in devising lasting post-conflict strategies, and in battling the ravages of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
The Assembly’s debate also featured a review of the activities undertaken and progress made in meeting the goals of the 2001-2010 Decade to Roll Back Malaria, with delegations from malaria-endemic countries painting a distressing picture of the ravages of the disease, which kills some 3,000 African children every day. Beyond the human toll, some speakers underlined malaria’s crippling economic impact, which Djibouti’s representative said cost African economies some $12 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) each year. He said nearly 40 per cent of Africa’s health funding was devoted to treating malaria, and was among those stressing that more time, energy and resources should be devoted to Africa’s battle to defeat that scourge.
Speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, the Gambia’s representative said that, after five years, it was high time to evaluate the status of the Partnership and take the necessary steps to add much-needed impetus towards its implementation. “What is needed is support from our development partners,” he said, adding that: “NEPAD is all about partnership, and unless our partners translate their pledges into real development assistance, the momentum towards implementation will stagnate.” He regretted that much of the observed increase in official development assistance (ODA) continued to be in the form of emergency aid, debt relief and technical assistance, which did not necessarily lead to significant financial transfers to developing countries.
“It has become clear that, despite all the actions and commitments by African countries, the main constraint to development remains the lack of adequate resources,” said the representative of South Africa, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China. And, while stressing that Africa’s development, through the NEPAD, should, above all, remain African driven and African owned, he called on developed countries and the wider international community to launch, in 2007, concrete programmes of action aimed at full implementation of the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration and the 2005 World Summit. Both had urged targeted efforts to boost Africa’s development.
Algeria’s representative picked up that thread, stressing that the Partnership should not be just a “political talking point”; world Governments should join the initiative and live up to prior pledges that could generate concrete results, including resuscitating the stalled Doha development round of international trade talks, with a view to ensuring that Africa’s goods received fair play in the world marketplace. Achieving that particular objective would decrease the continent’s dependence on international assistance, which was critical at a time when official development assistance (ODA) still seemed to be lagging and many development strategies did not actually promote independence, or development, for that matter.
Abubakar Tanko, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said that Africa’s leaders remained resolute in their commitment to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other infectious diseases, promote peace and achieve sustainable development. However, Nigeria firmly believed that resolving conflicts, namely in the Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and other troubled spots, merited the leaders’ best efforts, and wished to coordinate with other African countries, as well as international partners, to achieve that goal. Nowhere was cooperation more urgent than in the area of small arms and light weapons, whose proliferation and widespread use contributed to the persistence of many of those conflicts, he added.
Focusing on the Secretary-General’s report, Egypt’s representative said that a lack of sustainable development, and not poor governance, was the main cause of conflict in Africa. Egypt reiterated the need to give national ownership to peacebuilding activities, and called for the strengthening of institutional cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and other subregional organizations. Next time, the report should examine how issues such as illicit small arms trafficking, youth unemployment and the illegal exploitation of natural resources in conflict zones continued to impact conflict prevention and peacebuilding, he added.
Opening the debate, General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa said that, while the relevant report noted steady progress in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts in Africa and in building and consolidating peace on the continent, it also stressed that increased and more concerted action was needed to keep simmering tensions from boiling over into full blown crises, as well as to ensure that hard-won peace in countries emerging from conflict became irreversible. She also agreed that peace accords must involve a broader spectrum of stakeholders and go beyond political and security issues, by taking into account critical economic concerns at the earliest stages.
She concurred with the Secretary-General that achieving a conflict-free Africa by 2010 would require greater political will and increased technical and financial assistance to African countries, regional organizations and civil society. While the adoption of the NEPAD had heralded an era of new hope for the continent, greater efforts were required to effectively address challenges hindering progress such as youth unemployment, the devastating social, economic and political impacts of HIV/AIDS, the illicit exploitation of natural resources and massive flows of illegal small arms. “We need to tackle systematically in a coherent manner these obstacles to achieve tangible and sustainable results”, she said.
In other business today, the Assembly, acting on the recommendations of its Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary), adopted without a vote a draft resolution of the scale of assessments for the apportionment of the expenses of the United Nations. By that text, it agreed that the failure of the Central African Republic, Comoros, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Somalia and Tajikistan to pay the full minimum amount necessary to avoid the application of Charter Article 19 was due to conditions beyond their control, and decided that those States should be permitted to vote in the Assembly until the end of the sixty-first session.
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of Finland, speaking on behalf of the European Union; Grenada, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); Philippines, speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN); India; Algeria; Rwanda; Russian Federation; Tunisia; Kuwait; and Senegal.
Speaking in the afternoon were delegates of Cuba, Japan, Ghana, Peru, United Republic of Tanzania, Canada, Morocco, Brazil, Myanmar, Togo, Ethiopia, Sudan, Zambia, Jamaica, Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Pakistan and Nepal.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow when it is expected to conclude its joint debate on the Roll Back Malaria Decade and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
The General Assembly met today to hold a joint debate on the 2001-2010 Decade to Roll Back Malaria and on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD): progress in implementation and international support, causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.
The Assembly was also expected to take up a report of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) related to the scale of assessments. By that budgetary Committee report (document A/61/512), the Assembly would decide that the Central African Republic, the Comoros, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Somalia, Tajikistan and Sao Tome and Principe should be permitted to vote in the Assembly until the end of the sixty-first session.
Also before the Assembly is a note of the Secretary-General transmitting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report on the 2001-2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa (document A/61/218 and corr.1), which highlights the progress made in meeting the 2010 malaria goals since last year. Funding shortages, lack of technical expertise, weak health systems and inadequate planning have slowed progress, according to the report. Launched in 1998 by the WHO, the Decade Partnership includes the World Bank, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), malaria-endemic countries, and a host of other private and public organizations. The Partnership seeks to reduce malaria mortality by 50 per cent by 2010, and by 75 per cent by 2015.
To reach those goals, the report concludes that malaria-endemic countries must use improved and timely malaria data, which would help national and international bodies to better monitor performance of health policies by developing a body of information on best practices. It also recommends that countries encourage collaboration among all governmental entities that deal with malaria-fighting policies, ensuring that one ministry does not undo what another has done. The report also calls on affected countries to waive tariffs and taxes on products and medicines needed to fight the disease, including insecticide treated nets, and to fight the counterfeit drug trade in developing countries.
International bilateral and multilateral funding partners should not develop parallel policies that compete with technical policies and strategies developed by the WHO, the report says. It also calls on international funding institutions to increase research and development funds, stating that malaria’s impact on the world’s population in terms of resources is roughly 10 times the current amount slated worldwide for malaria research and development.
Also before the Assembly is the progress report of the Secretary-General on implementation of the recommendations contained in his report on the causes of conflict and promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document A/61/213), which draws attention to recent efforts towards conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities. The report also provides policy recommendations to support the transition from war to peace and conflict prevention.
The reports says that, while prospects for peace in a number of African countries have improved during the year, root causes like extreme poverty, gross inequalities and weak State capacity continue to cause conflict. These root causes are exacerbated by other factors such as external support for repressive regimes, exclusionary Government policies and small arms proliferation. Religion, ethnicity and economic conditions also mobilize people to engage in violent action while forsaking civil responsibility.
Greater efforts are required to effectively address youth unemployment, the impact of HIV/AIDS crisis, the illicit exploitation of natural resources and the illegal flows of small arms, according to the report. Cooperation between the United Nations and African regional organizations is vital to strengthening African peace support and early warning capacity.
Unconstitutional developments even in countries with a good track record undermine past democratic achievements, and the report urges African States and regional organizations to stand alert to these problems and send a clear message that these actions would not be acceptable to the international community. Similarly, it calls for better training for journalists in order to discourage hate media and promote responsible journalism.
The report also calls for regional alertness and urges all actors including States, African regional organizations, the Bretton Woods institutions and development partners to assist African countries emerging from conflict to introduce better economic and employment opportunities to prevent a relapse into conflict.
Another report before the Assembly is the Secretary-General’s fourth consolidated report on progress in implementation and international support (document A/61/212*), which coincides with the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the NEPAD. The report states that progress made in 2005, in terms of both regional efforts to implement the Partnership and in international commitments in support of Africa, had provided a new momentum of action for Africa’s development. A major task was to consolidate the momentum by delivering on commitments.
On the African side, the report says, leaders should take steps to address a range of institutional and partnership issues including integrating the Partnership into African Union structures and processes providing greater support for the private sector and promoting more outreach to civil society. Development partners should undertake timely and effective delivery of their pledges. Also essential was the diversification of Africa’s economic and export structures.
The Assembly also has before it a note of the Secretary-General transmitting a report by the Joint Inspection Unit on further measures to strengthen the United Nations system support to the New Partnership (document A/61/69). That report states that there is an urgent need for institutional arrangements for managing the Partnership process within the existing structures of the African Union Commission. The report calls for the initiation of a strategic dialogue through annual consultations between the United Nations and the Commission. It also makes recommendations for streamlining and coordinating regional and subregional mechanisms.
In addition, a note of the Secretary-General transmits the report of the United Nations system support to the NEPAD (document A/61/69 and add.1). That report identifies among other things the main hindrances to effective collaboration of United Nations agencies in their support of the Partnership. The Executive Board also offers useful insights and nuances into the issues examined by the Unit.
General Assembly President
Opening the debate, General Assembly President Sheikha HAYA RASHED AL KHALIFA of Bahrain said the NEPAD marked the first time that an African development framework had emerged as a rallying point for the international community’s support for the continent. It was an Africa owned and led process, which reflected Africa’s leaders’ common vision and shared commitment to eradicating poverty and to placing their countries both individually and collectively on the path to sustainable growth and development. Adoption of the NEPAD five years ago had sparked hope for a new era of socio-economic revival for Africa -– a multi-stakeholder partnership for a region that was still striving to overcome years of conflict, political instability, disease and poor economic performance. Much had been achieved since, but more needed to be done to translate the Partnership’s vision into concrete measures.
She said that the Secretary-General’s latest reported encouraging progress in key NEPAD priority areas ranged from infrastructure enhancement to information and communication technology improvements to increased access to education, health care and science and technology. The report also noted success in areas such as science and technology, gender mainstreaming and the NEPAD-mandated African Peer Review process, but stressed the importance of taking further policy measures to accelerate NEPAD’s implementation, particularly the Peer Review Mechanism.
On the 2001-2010 International Decade to Roll Back Malaria, she said that the WHO had identified malaria as a major killer of children and poor people in all countries -– threatening the lives of some 3 billion people of 107 nations and territories –- with some 500 million people each year suffering from acute malaria. That resulted in more than 1 million deaths, 86 per cent of which occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Sheikha Haya was saddened to further report that some 3,000 children, mostly African, died of the disease every day. While global efforts to combat the disease had faced some obstacles at the beginning of the decade, the WHO’s international strategy launched earlier this year had provided a stronger and more cohesive response to the challenges that faced malaria-endemic States. The launching of WHO’s guidelines for malaria treatment had also been another hopeful sign, she added.
Turning next to the final topic on the Assembly’s agenda today -- the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa -- she said that, while the Secretary-General’s relevant report noted steady progress in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts in Africa and in building and consolidating peace on the continent, it also stressed that increased and more concerted action was needed to keep simmering tensions from boiling over into full blown crises, as well as to ensure that hard-won peace in countries emerging from conflict became irreversible. She agreed that peace accords must involve a broader spectrum of stakeholders and go beyond political and security issues by taking into account critical economic concerns at the earliest stages.
Further, peace agreements that committed all signatories to genuinely and transparently addressing vital matters, such as natural resource and revenue management mechanisms, poverty reduction and anti-corruption strategies would lead to peace dividends that were more sustainable. Those would also reduce the likelihood of a return to conflict. She was convinced that the Peacebuilding Commission would ensure that countries did not face a shortfall in assistance in that regard. The report also underlined the relationship between conflict and natural resources, the impact of youth unemployment on conflict and the challenges of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration -– all issues requiring sustained engagement.
She concurred with the Secretary-General that achieving a conflict-free Africa by 2010 would require greater political will and increased technical and financial assistance to African countries, regional organizations and civil society. While the adoption of the NEPAD had heralded an era of new hope for the continent, greater efforts were required to effectively address challenges hindering progress such as youth unemployment, the devastating social, economic and political impacts of HIV/AIDS, the illicit exploitation of natural resources and massive flows of illegal small arms. “We need to tackle systematically in a coherent manner these obstacles to achieve tangible and sustainable results”, she said.
DUMISANI KUMALO (South Africa), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said the main challenge for Africa’s development was the implementation of a truly global partnership for which the lack of resources was the main constraint. With the NEPAD, African leaders had changed the development paradigm, NEPAD’S policies and priorities were now an internationally approved framework for Africa’s development. Narrow approaches had now been expanded to include a comprehensive and holistic, and African-owned approach to development. Moreover, most African countries now had their own national development strategies.
While the support for the NEPAD from international partners was welcome, he said that must be done if Africa was to realize the levels of support the Partnership required. Resources must be mobilized for African States in order for the regional economic communities and for the African Union to achieve the Millennium Development Goals within the frameworks of national development programmes and in line with implementation of the NEPAD programme. Innovative approaches had been developed in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa and others for funding and implementing of the NEPAD’s priorities.
He said he was pleased that the United Nations agencies had been organized into cluster along the lines of the NEPAD’s priority areas, so as to better coordinate efforts. Agencies had been most helpful in the areas of agriculture, trade and market access, infrastructure development and science and technology. But, the United Nations system should mainstream the NEPAD into all of its normative and operational activities.
The African Union had made substantial progress in conflict prevention, he said. A key change had been the Union’s strong lead in resolving conflicts and building peace. That African ownership of resolving African conflicts had produced remarkable results. Among the many mechanisms that the Union had created towards that goal included the Peace and Security Council, whose decisions were binding on all Union Members.
Speaking on behalf of the European Union, TAISTO HUIMASALO ( Finland) said that one of the most significant results of the NEPAD was the African Peer Review Mechanism. So far, 25 countries had acceded to that tool, however, the need still existed for countries to mainstream its commitments into their national plans. The completion of the Peer Review by some pioneer countries showed a strong commitment by the African Governments to move forward with that element of the NEPAD. Still, the European Union believed that a wider and deeper awareness should be raised among the business community both inside the continent and beyond on the existing opportunities and economic dividends of the NEPAD.
He said that the European Union continued to strengthen its relations with Africa within the framework of the Union’s comprehensive strategy on Africa, which identified good and effective governance as a prerequisite for development. In addition to good governance, sound development required adherence to human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law as well as commitment to strong and effective institutions. Most importantly, without peace there could be no lasting development. Key in that regard was assistance in developing the African Union’s African Peace and Security Architecture, including the African Stand-by Force.
In sub-Saharan Africa, many peace agreements had been secured after close cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, he noted. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Union looked forward to the orderly and peaceful conclusion of the electoral process. It was deeply concerned, however, about the constant deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur and condemned the continuing violations of the ceasefire, particularly the violence directed at the civilian population and providers of humanitarian assistance. The Union supported the efforts of the United Nations and its partners in planning the transition from the African Union mission to a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur. It strongly urged the Sudanese Government to give its consent to the deployment of the United Nations operation. It underlined its deep concern at the potential negative impact of a continuing conflict in Darfur on the rest of the Sudan and in the wider region.
He said that health was at the core of development. It was a key element in reducing poverty and in promoting human security. The Abuja commitment of African leaders, aimed at increasing health sector financing, was a clear recognition of that fact. After many years of impressive gains in human health worldwide, countries were still unable to cope with the burden of disease posed on their health systems owing to weaknesses in national health systems, unpredictable and uneven funding and the dire lack of skilled human resources. Without skilled and motivated health personnel, any health sector intervention was bound to fail. The Union was presently preparing an action plan to address the “crisis in human resources for health”. The global efforts to Roll Back Malaria highlighted many of the key weaknesses and possibilities for the health sector, and it particularly concerned Africa with a disproportional effect on poor people there.
RUTH ELIZABETH ROUSE ( Grenada), on behalf of the Caribbean Community, fully aligned herself with the statement delivered by the South African representative on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. She welcomed the progress made in key areas by the NEPAD, particularly in infrastructure development and cooperation with the African Development Bank. She applauded the establishment of the NEPAD “e-Schools” initiative with the “e-Africa Commission” and called for continued cooperation among the various sectors in order to realize that important NEPAD objective.
She also welcomed the initiatives taken by the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries and nations of the South to deliver the promises made with respect to Africa’s continued development. She totally agreed that partnership was key to NEPAD’s implementation. The NEPAD had become known worldwide and apart from the United Nations system, several other international and private sector organizations had been able to identify with it, which augured well for its future. She had also taken note of progress in the area of education, environmental sustainability, agricultural initiatives, scientific and technological advancement, the strengthening of health systems, gender mainstreaming and civil society participation, among others.
Encouraging acceleration of those programmes’ implementation, she said she was well aware of the several constraints and mitigating factors. Recent developments with respect to international trade, growing security concerns and new political and economic realities continued to plague all regions of the world. For Africa, those challenges had proven particularly daunting. The international community had a significant role to play and a promise to keep in support of African leaders’ common vision and shared commitment to eradicating poverty on the continent. She, therefore, underscored the need for Africa to be given the necessary resources including through increasing official development assistance (ODA) and technical assistance, in support of the NEPAD.
LESLIE B. GATAN (Philippines), speaking on behalf of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reviewed the Secretary-General’s report, which had said underscored progress in African development and in the reduction of regional conflict. Much needed to be done to anticipate and prevent violent outbreaks, which would only hinder development and implementation of the NEPAD.
Stating that the NEPAD was playing a vital role in transforming the political culture of Member States, he emphasized that regional and international technical and financial assistance would be required to ensure the political agenda was realized. There were a series of cooperation agreements that were taking place in Africa. Those included the Non-Aligned Movement Centre for South-South Technical Cooperation in Jakarta and the new Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership. The Non-Aligned Movement Centre had implemented 28 programmes designed to make developing economies more broad-based, efficient and resilient. ASEAN countries had also sought to strengthen trade as well as people-to-people links.
MABEL REBELLO ( India) said that the success of the New Partnership depended on an agenda led and developed by African Member States. India was heartened by the trend of significant increases in ODA to Africa, in both 2004 and 2005, although much of the 2005 increases had been debt write-offs. She urged that the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative of donour countries include additional resources to international financial institutions to ensure that debt forgiveness did not erode their financial capacity. Initiatives such as “Aid for Trade” should not substitute efforts to improve market access for African exports. India was engaged in a series of bilateral initiatives throughout the continent, including e-connectivity, infrastructure, pharmaceutical and health care among others.
She acknowledged that India was one of the oldest and largest contributors of United Nations peacekeeping missions, having participated in almost every major operation since the inception of peacekeeping in the 1950s. Her country had troops in several United Nations missions throughout the African continent. It would soon dispatch the first Female Formed Police Unit to Liberia at the end of the year. On the issue of malaria, India’s efforts would focus on prevention and elimination of the disease in developing countries.
MOHAMED SOFIANE BERRAH ( Algeria) said that dealing with the root causes of conflicts and doing more to prevent fighting and its relapse must be the thrust of the international community’s work in Africa. The world community must follow the political will of African leaders, particularly through the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes and address the links between conflict and development, protection of human rights and promotion of the rule of law. He stressed, in that regard the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism, as well as other elements of NEPAD, which affirmed the political will of Africa to take back the solution of its own problems and bring itself out of marginalization.
At the same time, he said that everyone should recognize that the continent still suffered from underinvestment, massive flows of refugees and poor access to Western markets. Africa would need greater help from the wider international community to address those challenges. Africa wanted to move away from dependence on global assistance, and it, therefore, favoured increased access of its goods to world markets, as well as enhanced foreign investment. ODA seemed to be lagging, and many development strategies did not actually promote independence, or development for that matter.
The NEPAD had evinced a true partnership among African countries to come together to address socio-economic challenges and to make the continent conflict-free by 2010, he said, calling for strengthened partnerships with the United Nations. The NEPAD also called for partnerships with industrialized countries and global institutions, based on the principle of shared responsibility. Still, NEPAD should not be just a “political talking point”; world Governments should join the initiative, with the view to living up to prior aid pledges and generating concrete results, including ensuring 0.7 per cent ODA. African goods received fair play in the international market place, he stressed.
JOSEPH NSENGIMANA ( Rwanda) said his country had been one of the first to submit to the scrutiny of peers under the Partnership’s African Peer Review Mechanism, which was based on the principle that peace, security and good governance were firm foundations for sustainable development. The mechanism entailed a collective political commitment to implementing best governance practices and submitting to a review by peers based on those standards. The review had allowed Rwanda to benchmark national governance initiatives against international standards, and it had provided a forum to broaden national dialogue. The process also gave post-conflict countries a rare opportunity to initiate reforms.
He said his country had presented its experience as a Peer Review pioneer at the sixth African Governance Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. The programme of action that had resulted from the Review was already being implemented, but partners and friends could help accelerate implementation. Likewise, the imperative to integrate African economies had been well articulated by the Partnership and facilitated by its infrastructure programmes. Unfortunately, those well-meaning initiatives remained on the drawing board five years later because the inability of African countries to mobilize the domestic resources to finance them had been compounded by the fact that development partners’ political commitments had not translated into concrete disbursements.
NIKOLAY V.CHULKOV, (Russian Federation) noted with satisfaction the recent progress towards settling conflicts in Africa, particularly those in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Much needed to be done to achieve definitive stabilization in the continent and his Government supported efforts to settle regional conflicts in compliance with the norms and principles of United Nations peacekeeping. Close cooperation should be achieved between the United Nations and African regional institutions.
Through his country’s efforts, African issues of peace and development were now included in the agenda of the G-8 industrialized countries, he said. At his Government’s initiative, the G-8 had paid attention this year to infectious disease, education and energy security. A major area of Russian assistance to Africa had been the alleviation of the debt burden, in the framework of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). This year, his country intended to additionally write off bilateral liabilities of African countries of more than $700 million, and would be contributing $30 million to the Global Village Energy Partnership fund for energy security development in the continent. On malaria and other infectious diseases, his Government would contribute $20 million to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, he announced.
ALI HACHANI (Tunisia) aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, he said that, although the African continent faced great difficulty in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, it was also a continent “on the move”. Africa was taking greater responsibility and deploying efforts to understand its position and “find a way out”. The new Partnership constituted help in that direction, however, despite the firm will of many countries, its implementation still required greater mobilization of the international community.
He said that the Secretary-General’s report was both optimistic and contradictory; there was new impetus to promote African development, but in order to promote sustainable development, the international community needed to honour its commitments to the NEPAD. Any plans for recovery of the African continent must deal with economic growth, human development and political stability. These ideas were included in the NEPAD vision, which this delegation shared, however, in order for the goals to be realized, financial and technical resources needed to be targeted. It remained important to strengthen national and regional development and also to coordinate between the NEPAD and the private sector. Additionally, the management of conflict and post-conflict, and peace in Africa remained an important concern. Africa had the greatest density of conflict and post-conflict situations worldwide, and better cooperation was needed, therefore, between the African Union and the United Nations to bolster African peacebuilding and stability.
JASEM AL NAJEM ( Kuwait) said that Africa’s attempt to overcome the vicious circle of eliminating the burden of indebtedness, on the one hand, and ensuring the financial resources for its development goals, on the other hand, was one of the most significant challenges facing the continent today. Some highly-indebted African countries benefited from writing off bilateral debts, announced by some donor countries; the decision taken by the G-8 countries to cancel 100 per cent of the debts of mostly low-income African countries in the amount of some $40 billion was a positive step. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development had contributed to alleviating the foreign debt burden of 14 African nations in the framework of the HIPC Debt Initiative.
He said that the solution to the indebtedness problem would not be practical or effective, however, if it was not associated with the means to provide the necessary development assistance. Kuwait was abiding by all its international obligations in that regard. The Kuwait Fund had contributed to many development institutions in Africa, among them, the African Development Fund. The Fund had also contributed to many rehabilitation programmes, especially to the success of the first programme to fight river blindness, by contributing more than $100 million to 11 African countries. The Fund had also contributed to the Foundation for Tropical Diseases as well as to the International Development Law Institute.
Kuwait also spared no efforts to ensure the stability of world oil markets, in order to maintain the pace of economic development and growth for the entire international community, he said. His country had efficiently contributed through the Organization of Oil of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund to many development projects in developing countries; 119 countries received assistance from that Fund, among them, 46 African nations. African countries had exerted significant efforts to satisfy previous demands of the international community for assuming the major role in achieving their stability. That had encouraged donor countries and the private sectors to offer the necessary economic and technical support to the continent. It was time for the international community to take more decisive steps to encourage the African continent and support its efforts through an increase in the amount of technical, political and financial support, in line with the continent’s own significant efforts.
KHALED ALY ELBAKLY ( Egypt) agreed that international support for Africa had not reached the level needed to empower the NEPAD. He urged all parties to fulfil all commitments made during the 2005 World Summit. His Government asked for implementation of a comprehensive programme for agricultural development in Africa as required under NEPAD and it called for improved access for African exports to the markets of developed nations. Egypt would place its training institute, scientific and technological research facilities at the disposal of African countries.
Reviewing the Secretary-General’s report, he said that governance was not the main cause of conflict in Africa, but rather a lack of sustainable development. His Government wished to reemphasize the need to give national ownership to peacebuilding activities, and called for the strengthening of institutional cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union and other subregional organizations. He urged that next time the report examine how issues such as illicit small arms trafficking, youth unemployment and the illegal exploitation of natural resources in conflict zones continued to impact conflict prevention and peacebuilding. He praised the report’s recommendations to stop malaria, however. Egypt had successfully eliminated that pandemic and was ready to share its knowledge, which included the establishment of a Cairo-based African regional centre to fight malaria and other infectious diseases, as had been approved at the Abuja African Union summit of 2005.
ABUBAKAR TANKO, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said that African leaders remained resolute in their commitment and efforts to resolve conflicts, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, promote peace and achieve sustainable development in the continent. However, Nigeria firmly believed that resolving the conflicts in the Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and other troubled spots merited the best efforts, and it wished to coordinate with other countries in the region as well as international partners to achieve those goals. Nowhere was cooperation more urgent than in the area of small arms and light weapons, whose proliferation and widespread use had contributed to the persistence of conflicts. He called on other Member States to adopt the Economic Community of West African States Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons.
He noted that in order to truly implement the projects outlined by the NEPAD, concrete assistance must be provided to African countries. Nigeria had instituted a comprehensive strategy for realizing its own development goals, anchored on four key strategies: to reform the way its Government and institutions worked; develop the private sector as the driving force for growth; and implement a social charter and re-orient the country’s value system. In addition to facilitating development objections, he called for market access for African goods and services, removal of agricultural subsidies, foreign direct assistance and debt cancellation or relief. The acceleration of the Bali Strategic Plan for Capacity-Building, adequate support for the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, and the incorporation of the Millennium Villages Project into the work of the UNDP would also further progress.
PAUL BADJI ( Senegal) said that the past failure of countless development initiatives had led African leaders to elaborate the NEPAD. While everyone had expressed support for the Partnership and the early success it had generated, it was necessary to admit nonetheless, that the African continent still faced myriad challenges and that the long-promised support for development assistance, help in combating diseases, access to international markets and reduction of debt burdens had yet to emerge. If the international community really wanted to see all of Africa implement the Partnership’s objectives, then donors would have to live up to their pledges of support. International assistance, however, did not absolve each individual African nation form working to secure its own development, promote good governance and ensure fundamental rights.
On the impact of conflicts on development in Africa, he said that, beyond recognized root causes such as poverty and underdevelopment, fighting on the continent was often sparked over the struggle to acquire power and how to manage it as well as over the distribution of wealth. It was vital, therefore, to put in place mechanisms that would guarantee, among other things, free and fair elections -– one way to ensure fairer distribution of power and wealth. Welcoming the solid developments that had flowed from successful elections in Liberia, Senegal hoped that countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, the Sudan and Somalia, among others, could see similar progress.
Senegal was also pleased that the Secretary-General had decided to dispatch a mission to forge a more structured relationship between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, he said. The aim of the 10-year plan being proposed by the mission would be to explore ways to boost African capacities towards ensuring good governance and the promotion of fundamental rights. Turning to the international fight against malaria and other deadly diseases, which continued to devastate African communities and nations, he said the international community needed to do more to support African efforts, through the Global Fund, as well to support the implementation of such quick-impact projects as had been underlined in the outcome of the 2005 World Summit. Finally, he hoped that the international community would spare no effort to ensure that the NEPAD would lay the groundwork for sustainable socio-economic growth and development in Africa.
ILEANA NUÑEZ MORDOCHE ( Cuba) said that trade liberalization had cost the African countries some $272 billion in the past 20 years, an amount that could have paid off the continent’s debt. Moreover, the liberalization had provoked a serious deterioration in terms of trade and increased the flight of capital, the largest in the world in regional terms. With 11 per cent of the world’s population and the largest natural reserves in the world, Africa contributed only 1 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), and its participation in world trade was barely at 2 per cent. Meanwhile, the developed country commitment to a $50 billion dollar annual increase in assistance to fulfil the Millennium Development Goals by 2010 had not been met.
Further, she said, while some sources indicated that the flow of foreign direct investment had increased in some countries, there was a clear decrease in others and most of the increase had been derived from the exploitation of natural resources. It was time for the international community to “go from stating their concerns to implementing solutions and meeting their commitments”, she said. The people of Africa did not need to be reminded of their problems and suffering. They did not need alms; they needed resources and concrete action.
JIRO KODERA ( Japan) said his Government had pledged to support the broader implementation of the NEPAD through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process and would maintain that stance as it prepared for the next TICAD round in 2008. One of the events held in the run-up to TICAD VI had been the Japan-NEPAD policy dialogue held this past March, at which four of the Partnership’s eight priorities had been highlighted as needing immediate support: infrastructure; agriculture; improving market access through the promotion of trade, investment and private sector development; and developing human resources through support for education and public health. Out of that exercise, Japan had decided, among other things, to extend assistance to the Mali-Senegal South Corridor, as a “short term action plan”.
He went on to say that almost half of all post-conflict countries in Africa tended to relapse into fighting within a few years or fell off the international community’s radar. With that in mind, ensuring the consolidation of peace was one of the main objectives of the TICAD process. It had emerged, therefore, as the focus of a relevant conference convened in Ethiopia this past March where Japan had clearly expressed the view that security, political governance and transition, community reconstruction and socio-economic development should be addressed in a comprehensive and well-coordinated manner.
The expected ODA for Africa -- expected to increase to some $25 billion per year following the commitments made by the G-8 industrialized countries and others in 2005 -– must be used effectively targeted towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for Africa as well as the promotion of NEPAD’s objectives. It was important that all relevant projects be appropriately linked to each African country’s national development strategy or Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) to ensure coordination among development partners.
On efforts to combat malaria, he said that more needed to be done to increase access to key commodities. Japan, therefore, supported such initiatives as the distribution of 10 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to African countries by 2007. Japan had also been a major contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
ROBLE OLHAYE ( Djibouti) said that more and more Africans were beginning to recognize the benefits of coordinated regional and national development strategies. That new development would be particularly important in the effort to launch an African common market in the coming decade. The NEPAD would be an important focal point in that effort. At the same time, Africa was aware that developed countries had not fully lived up to their promises to support the NEPAD and wider African development plans by opening their markets to African goods, and providing more predictable aid flows, among other things. Meanwhile, countries in Latin American and Caribbean, and Asian regions were beginning to devote more resources to Africa’s development. The United Nations, however, should work more closely with Africa on raising NEPAD’s global profile, and African countries should continue coming together to address common problems including debt relief and poverty eradication.
On the impact of conflict on Africa’s development, he agreed with the Secretary-General’s assessment that root causes needed to be explored, and he called for more and better information-gathering and statistics-keeping mechanisms. Efforts should also be made to enhance and develop early warning systems and boost African mediation and negotiating strategies to help avoid impending crises. Some help might come from the newly established Peacebuilding Commission, which aimed to keep the world’s focus on fragile countries after conflict had ended and peace agreements had been signed.
He said that malaria had only just begun to receive international attention and much remained to be done to achieve globally agreed goals to turn back the disease by the targets set for 2010 and 2015. Most people were aware of the devastating statistics of the deadly disease, which killed thousands of children in Africa every year, but few had ever considered its economic impacts, which cost African economies some $12 billion in GDP each year. Some 40 per cent of Africa’s health funds were devoted to battling the effects of malaria so it was clear that the impact of the disease on Africa was “deadly, costly and prolonged”. He called on the international community to devote more time, energy and resources towards helping Africa combat the scourge.
NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana) said that African countries had made progress in many areas since the NEPAD had identified priorities including in infrastructure, information and communication technology, health, education, environment, agriculture, science and technology, gender mainstreaming, civil society involvement in government and application of the Peer Review Mechanism. It was encouraging that 25 countries had acceded to the Mechanism and others were urged to join.
Expressing appreciation for international actions to provide debt relief and calling for steps to improve the trade environment, he pressed for a curb on international recruitment of African health professionals whose migration threatened human resource development on the continent. Further, owing to a change in the nature of the violence that plagued the continent for a range of reasons, a timely response was imperative to avert the escalation of tension into violent conflict. There, the critical concern was not the lack of early warning, but rather follow-up to the early warning with early and effective action. Whether the response was in the form of diplomatic effort, peacekeeping deployment or humanitarian intervention, the sooner action was taken the better.
In addition, he said, it was well known that international arms merchants and their local collaborators had no interest in stopping conflicts, but in prolonging them. From that perspective, the Dutch Government deserved commendation for the decision to prosecute a Dutch businessman for his role in the Liberian conflict. That had been a demonstration of political will to transform knowledge and commitment into the practical action that the world sometimes lacked.
CRISPIN GREY-JOHNSON (Gambia), speaking on behalf of the Group of African States, said that, five years on, it was high time to evaluate the NEPAD’s progress and take the necessary steps to add a much needed impetus to the Partnership. “We must do so with full understanding that the NEPAD is an African-owned framework. What is needed is support from our development partners”, he said, reiterating the Secretary-General’s call to the developed world to deliver on its pledges. “The NEPAD is all about partnership and unless our partners translate their pledges into real development assistance, the momentum towards implementation will stagnate”, he added.
Indeed it was regrettable that much of the observed increase in ODA continued to be in the form of emergency aid, debt relief and technical assistance, which did not necessarily lead to significant financial transfers to developing countries, he said. It was imperative for Africa’s development partners to conform to the framework approved by the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development to allocate at least half the global increase in ODA to Africa by 2006. Still more needed to be done to free African countries of the crippling debt burden that had undermined development efforts for decades.
He went on to say that the news was not all bad and the Secretary-General’s relevant report had noted perceptible progress in some of the NEPAD priority areas including infrastructure, information and communications technology, health and the environment, among others. While the African Peer Review Mechanism was a clear demonstration of Africa’s determination to improve governance, challenges still remained to consolidate democracy and good governance across the continent.
Turning to the causes of conflict in Africa, he welcomed the African Union’s pledge to work with African Heads of State and Government towards a conflict-free Africa by 2010. That strategy had evinced a clear recognition on that part of Africa’s leadership that unless pressing peace and security matters were addressed, it would be difficult to realize the continent’s development agenda. The establishment of the African Union Peace and Security Council had been another demonstration of political will and he welcomed the efforts of the United Nations to collaborate with the African Union to enhance its Council’s peacekeeping capacity.
LUIS ENRIQUE CHÁVEZ (Peru), associating himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that only comprehensive peace agreement would achieve economic security in Africa. Without peace and security, factors that were exacerbated by poverty, Governments would not allow stable economies to flourish. Sub-Saharan Africa had been abandoned by foreign investment and become impoverished and indebted with a growing social exclusion. Stability could only be achieved when the international community ensured that sufficient support was provided to enable Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In order for Africa to be integrated into the global economy, the international community should reduce those countries’ debts and pay fair prices for commodities. As previous speakers had stressed, it must also allow African exports access to global markets.
Another ongoing problem in Africa was the post-conflict challenges to establish democratic Governments and viable economies. Concluding disarmament process was another task. Without a preventive approach towards conflict, implemented by the United Nations, the international community and subregional groups, there stood a chance that fragile countries would relapse in conflict. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was undergoing a second round of elections, but there was lack of funds to provide basic services and armed groups were “running rampant”. But, the country needed fair and viable elections in order to extend good governance. Côte D’Ivoire had not made substantial progress in disarmament and in the Sudan, despite numerous peace agreements, violence in Darfur persisted. With the implementation of the Peacebuilding Commission, the international community must fund and organize major conferences to help reconstruct the social fabric of many African States, he stressed.
SEIF IDDI (United Republic of Tanzania) said that Africa bore an overwhelming proportion of the malaria burden, not only from the number of people killed by the disease, but also by the economic loss. It must redouble efforts to meet the targets of the Abuja Declaration as well as the Millennium Development Goals. In that regard, his country was in the final phases of the implementation of a five-year malaria medium term strategic plan, including changing over to more effective malaria treatments to deal with increasing parasite resistance. Further, the country had increased the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets among vulnerable groups, including children and pregnant women. He called upon the WHO, the Malaria Partnership, development partners and drug companies to look for new ways of subsidizing the cost of ACT drugs to the private sector.
He said that prevention of malaria should also encompass an early warning system and rapid deployment of assistance. Among the biggest problems that remained were sustaining the momentum of global funding, recruitment and retention of health personnel in rural areas where they were need most. Behavioural changes of the population were also needed to assist in embracing preventative measures. His country, in seeing new ways to combat malaria, was now developing a new malaria strategic plan. Included in it were programmes such as indoor residual spraying, rapid diagnostic tests, and monitoring and evaluation systems. Additionally, his country remained concerned about the proliferation of counterfeit anti-malarial drugs and he welcomed the efforts of those who worked to curb distribution.
JOHN McNEE ( Canada) said that the international community could be satisfied that after five years, significant progress had been made towards putting the principles of the NEPAD into practice and achieving some solid results. In the area of peace and security, which the NEPAD had recognized as a condition for development, important strides had been made. Progress was being made towards consolidating peace and stability in the Great Lakes region, and the recent ceasefire signed between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) had also been encouraging. Hopefully, that deal would mark the first substantive step for the peace talks in Juba leading to the end of the conflict.
Regarding governance, he said there had been positive developments in many countries including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which on July had held the first general elections in its troubled history. The wider international community would be closely watching the second round of that country’s presidential elections later this month. It was vital that all the Congolese parties and the people of that country support and respect the democratic process and that the elected officials used their office for the betterment of the lives of all the people there. He also noted the recent successful multi-party elections that had been held in other African countries including the United Republic of Tanzania, Liberia and Zambia.
Not surprisingly, the progress in conflict resolution, improved governance and commitment to poverty reduction in many African countries was beginning to show positive results in terms of economic growth. Giving a few examples, he noted, among others, that Africa’s economy had grown by nearly 5 per cent in 2005 and was projected to grow by almost 6 per cent this year. Also not surprisingly, many of the countries that were achieving sustained growth were those whose Governments had embraced and implemented the NEPAD principles of good economic and political governance.
“Yet we all know the significant challenges that remain in achieving the Millennium Development Goals”, he said, going on to highlight several key projects that his Government was implementing in partnership with African countries including in the field of peace and security. Canada had provided some $320 million to support the Sudan since 2004 for, among other things, humanitarian reconstruction and peace-building efforts. It had also contributed some $190 million in support of the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS).
ABDERRAZZAK LAASSEL ( Morocco) said that the NEPAD was a blueprint for African development and an Africa-own initiative that would not succeed without international cooperation and partners. Morocco was committed to development, which led to human-centred societies. Its South-South cooperation efforts were aimed at strengthening governmental infrastructures with civil society at their centre through the Morocco Institute for International Cooperation, which carried out training programmes in such areas as cloud-seeding and artificial rain in sub-Saharan countries. The Institute also carried out tripartite cooperative measures with other countries and United Nations agencies, including on initiatives to protect the environment.
He urged the international community to become more involved in the NEPAD. The G-8 had been urged to step up efforts to increase financing for NEPAD projects and their implementation. The developed world had also been asked to brainstorm and come up with creative approaches to financing so that funding sources were forthcoming and predictable. In short, implementation of the NEPAD objectives depended on the involvement and interaction of all of the international community.
RONALDO MOTA SARDENBERG ( Brazil) said that the international community’s commitment to support Africa and the NEPAD was closely associated with two major issues: the implementation of pledges made by donors; and the benefits African countries could derive from economic and trade negotiations. He added a third issue, namely, negotiations with the United Nations system on items related to the development agenda. Every effort must be made to effectively deliver on commitments undertaken in bilateral and multilateral efforts related to the NEPAD.
Furthermore, he said, as part of the internationally recognized goals to defeat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis remained an integral part of the multilateral agenda. Brazil had reiterated its commitment to that effort by co-sponsoring last year’s launch of the International Drug Purchase Facility aimed at promoting universal access to the medicines that combated those diseases. He associated his delegation with the remarks made by the Secretary-General in his second report and placed special emphasis on the elaboration of the 10-year capacity-building plan for the African Union and the strengthening of women’s participation in the peace processes.
U KYAW TINT SWE (Myanmar), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as on behalf of the European Union, noted that, while encouraged by progress made in the implementation of NEPAD, in particular the e-school initiative and Global Alliance for Health, the international community must fulfil its pledges to Africa in order for it to achieve further progress. Debt reduction was imperative to maintain constructive dialogue between African Governments and their development partners.
He said that malaria was a global problem, which threatened at least 3 billion people in 107 countries, including Myanmar. His country had enacted a National Strategic Plan for Malaria Prevention and Control, for 2006-2010, in order to facilitate the prompt treatment of malaria and make an effort to eradicate the disease. Furthermore, an external review team compromised of both international and national experts evaluated the programme, and they reported that malaria rates had fallen. His country would endeavour to reduce the malaria morbidity and mortality rate by at least 50 per cent over the coming five years and by 75 per cent by 2015, as agreed.
Those targeted dates were fast approaching, however, and the significant gap between the targets and what had been achieved so far clearly underscored the challenge that lay ahead. In order to attain the goal, concerted national efforts complemented by development partners’ fulfilments of funds pledged to control malaria.
KATI OHARA KORGA ( Togo) said the NEPAD was the first programme of its type drawn up for Africans by Africans, and implementation of the continent’s shared vision on the path to end marginalization and abject poverty was based on two pillars: Africa’s own efforts and those of its development partners. Indeed, without the support of the wider international community, Africa’s chances of fully implementing the ambitious Partnership would be severely hampered. The reports of the Secretary-General noted that the exercise had gotten off to a promising start, particularly the launching of home-grown poverty eradication initiatives and perceptible “up tics” in foreign investment and ODA.
At the same time, he said that it was clear that the international community must recommit itself to the NEPAD most importantly by financing it directly, promoting more foreign direct investment, and, among other ways, cancelling the debt of all African countries. The United Nations should play an important role in coordinating those measures, and African countries for their part should recommit themselves to combating corruption, promoting good governance and human rights, and ending all conflicts by 2010. He called again on the international community to live up to its pledges, particularly the G-8 to ensure the implementation of the NEPAD -– an important and vital “human experiment” -- towards improving livelihoods and ending marginalization throughout Africa.
MULUGETA ZEWDIE ( Ethiopia) said his delegation appreciated the United Nations unstinting efforts particularly through the WHO to help African countries combat preventable diseases like malaria. Indeed, the WHO had “come to the rescue” when it had launched a decade-long strategy just when the time its Roll Back Malaria Partnership initiative was failing because it lacked technical support and an effective monitoring system. The new strategy was starting to achieve some success, and he took the opportunity provided by today’s debate to call on all concerned to “throw his support behind the WHO” so that its relevant initiatives could be further strengthened. Chiefly, the International Decade to Roll Back Malaria would need cohesive, coordinated global support, or else it would fall to the same fate as the previous WHO programme.
Ethiopia was one of the most malaria-endemic countries in Africa, he continued, noting that, in 2003, just over six million cases had been reported. Even after major initiatives had been undertaken, namely community-led epidemic control programmes, augmented by the distribution of treated mosquito nets, some three million people were at risk. Indeed, in 2004-2005, malaria had been reported as the top cause of mortality and morbidity in the country. The disease was also seriously impacting Ethiopia’s socio-economic development efforts and, since the major transmission season coincided with the peak harvesting period, malaria was affecting everything from job attendance to school enrolment. The Government was working strenuously to pre-empt a major outbreak, following Ethiopia’s rainy season, and had elaborated a plan to ensure the speedy distribution of personnel, drugs and other equipment to tackle the issue.
Turning to the state of the five-year-old NEPAD, he said that, while Ethiopia had been encouraged by the fact that Africa’s development partners had shown a commitment to that development framework in general, at the regional and local levels, where, for the Horn Africa, at least, agriculture was vitally important to poverty eradication, there had been little impact. Indeed, while Ethiopia had several important agriculture-based development projects underway, the international community’s help was required to assist the Government in seeing them through. Overall, Ethiopia firmly believed that the objectives of the NEPAD could only be achieved with a true partnership between Africa, its development partners and multilateral institutions.
ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM (Sudan), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that unilateral sanctions imposed on his country since the 1990s seriously hampered the Government’s efforts to address the root causes of conflicts, to provide the peace dividend for the people, to eradicate poverty, achieve sustainable development and the internationally agreed internally agreed development goals. Those were stumbling blocks in the country’s road to attract much needed foreign direct investment and official development aid. The country also did not benefit from international debt relief initiatives, despite its huge debt burden, its sound economic policies, and its efforts to achieve peace and development -- all because of conditionalities and selectivity.
He said that supporting the AMIS had been and still constituted an essential element in the Sudan’s policy to improve the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur. The success of the AMIS was vital for any future African peacekeeping operation in the continent. The Secretary-General’s report had highlighted the importance of mediation and preventive diplomacy in Africa. The Sudan had been very active in that field. Recently, Khartoum hosted two rounds of talks between the Somali Transitional Government and the Union of Islamic Courts, with the third round to be held soon, while the Government of southern Sudan hosted the negotiations between the Ugandan Government and the LRA. Those efforts indicated that the Sudan, despite its domestic difficulties, was actively engaged in solving Africa’s problems.
Malaria remained a major public health and economic problem in most developing countries including the Sudan, which had set up a strategy to combat the disease, he said. Unfortunately, the strategies had not produced the expected results owing to insufficient financial resources. Regarding the NEPAD, the progress made thus far particularly through the African Peer Review Mechanism had been welcome, but additional collective actions were needed from the international community. A comprehensive plan of action was also crucial to integrate African economies into the world market. While he welcomed the efforts of his development partners in relieving the debt of African countries, that work had not yet been completed. African debt continued to seriously burden their economies and, if not cancelled, would rob the NEPAD of one of its important ingredients towards addressing the overall economic situation on the African continent.
TENS KAPOMA ( Zambia) said that malaria control had been a priority for his Government since 2000, and it had been implementing the Roll Back Malaria strategy since then. Two proposals had been approved by the Global Fund and numerous measures had been instituted with regard to treatment, readiness, response, information and monitoring. Major remaining challenges included the poor deployment and monitoring of artemisinin-based combination therapy, instead of choroquine as the first line treatment, inadequate coordination of delivery systems for insecticide-treated nets, limited infrastructure and commodities for delivery of control and preventative interventions, poor performance by an unmotivated work force and inefficient procurement and supply systems.
To address those challenges, he urged, the international community could assist with funding to improve diagnosis of malarial cases, as well as to provide and distribute insecticide-treated nets. Technical assistance was also needed with regard to operational research and efforts evolve environmentally friendly alternatives to chemical-based interventions. Technical and financial assistance was also needed for local manufacture of insecticides and insecticide-treated nets.
RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as with the statement made on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), commended the continuing progress made by the New Partnership, however, in order for that to continue, the pledges made by the international community must be met. Of particular importance was the provision of official development assistance (ODA), where much of the increases in aid continued to take the form of emergency aid, debt relief, and technical assistance. However, that did not necessarily translate into financial aid per se to developing countries. Efforts to improve the quality of aid, moreover, had yet to effectively address the adverse effects of tied aid on development efforts.
He said that, despite global economic growth for 2005 and 2006, rising global imbalances and uncertainty regarding energy prices could negatively impact and constrain efforts of African leaders to promote growth. In order to combat that, greater progress needed to be made in the Doha trade negotiations, especially towards improving Africa’s access to markets. To achieve greater implementation of NEPAD, there needed to be ongoing coordination between the United Nations agencies and the African Union Commission. Implementing peacebuilding programmes and projects in Africa also remained essential, especially since post-conflict societies faced such distinctive challenges as economic recovery and risk reduction. His country endorsed the call for the Bretton Woods institutions and development partners to fully engage and commit to that important process.
CHO HYUN ( Republic of Korea) commended African countries’ strenuous efforts to implement the NEPAD and said his delegation was pleased to note the significant progress that had been achieved during the past five years including in areas such as infrastructure, health, education and information and communications technology, among others. Nevertheless, he called for more concrete and practical actions to strengthen the impetus for even broader implementation of the Partnership particularly towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. He extended his call to African countries, which he said should also seize the opportunity generated by the Assembly’s annual debate to raise the Partnership’s profile. Towards that goal, he agreed with the Secretary-General that Africa needed to better address institutional partnership issues, boost private sector support and integrate African Union mechanisms and structures.
In 2006, the Republic of Korea launched an initiative for Africa’s development, which had so far focused on providing assistance in the fields of human resource development, information and communications technology and architecture, he said. The initiative would be implemented in such as way as to reinforce Africa’s ownership of related development projects. The Republic of Korea planned to cooperate with African regional institutions, the African Union and the NEPAD secretariat to boost sustainable growth and development. His Government was also planning to host the first Korea-Africa Forum in Seoul, from 7 to 10 November. The Republic of Korea was confident that the event would provide valuable opportunities for constructive dialogue on Africa’s development agenda.
LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam), aligning himself with the statement made on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as well as the statement made on behalf of the ASEAN, said that, despite remarkable progress made by the Partnership in some areas such as the efforts to defeat hunger and poverty, and HIV/AIDS, the African continent continued to face numerous complex issues. In recognition of that, the international community should honour its commitments by increasing development assistance, and harmonizing and simplifying aid procedures.
He said his country welcomed the agreement reached last year by the G-8 industrialized nations to cancel debts for the 18 poorest countries. Viet Nam also valued the steps taken by the European Union to doubling its aid to more than $80 billion by 2010. In recent years, the scope of cooperation between Viet Nam and African countries had been expanded bilaterally in areas ranging from agriculture, industry, science and technology, among others. Trade relations were driven by a dynamic of mutual interest. In addition, Viet Nam’s trade volume with Africa grew from $15 million to $300 million between 1991 and 2005. Strengthening all sides of relations with Africa remained a cornerstone of Viet Nam’s foreign policy, and it would continue to explore ways and means to further contribute to NEPAD’s successful implementation.
ASAD KHAN ( Pakistan) said years of discussion and lessons learned from conflict prevention, peacemaking and peacekeeping had led to the establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission. His country was a member of the Commission, which today was holding its first country-specific meeting on Sierra Leone. Addressing the multifarious root causes of conflict was a fundamental objective, vital for preventing relapse into conflict and for recovery in post-conflict situations. The indispensable United Nations tool of peacekeeping was vital for restoring peace and stability in conflict situations. It had proved its usefulness in Africa. Pakistan’s support for the mechanism was demonstrated by its role of a leading troop contributor. Currently, it was participating in six of the seven peacekeeping operations on the African continent with a contribution of more than 9,000 personnel.
Continuing, he highlighted NEPAD’s accomplishments in its first five years and said it had generated a new momentum of action for Africa’s development by designing sectoral policy frameworks, implementing programmes and projects, and establishing targets for expenditure in sectoral priority areas, including in infrastructure, health, education, agriculture and environment, among others. To put Africa on the fast development track, the international community and the NEPAD should bolster investment, expand trade by allowing greater market access for African imports and build both capacity and human resources on the continent. Those were the three pillars for a strategic partnership between Africa and the rest of the world.
For its part, Pakistan provided bilateral assistance to Africa in the economic, social, technical and military spheres, in the context of South-South cooperation. The Special Technical Assistance Programme for Africa, in operation since 1986, had trained hundreds of young African professionals in the public and private sectors in such fields as public administration, management, banking, customs, accounting and diplomacy. The scope of the programme would be enhanced in the years ahead, he said.
ANANDA DHUNGANA ( Nepal) welcomed Africa’s goal of achieving a conflict-free continent by 2010. Conflict prevention and peace consolidation would benefit from coordinated, sustained and integrated efforts involving the United Nations system, States, regional organizations and subregional ones, as well as the international and regional financial institutions. Progress was already being made in preventing and resolving conflict and in building peace in Africa. The Secretary-General’s recommendations for conflict prevention, improving governance, early warning systems, mediation, preventive diplomacy and negotiation should be given careful attention and be adequately funded.
Saying he supported the priority being given to durable peace and sustainable development in Africa, he stressed that sustained peace, stability and development on the continent were in the interest of mankind as a whole. Despite daunting challenges, the solidarity of the international community would complement the efforts of friendly countries and the people of Africa towards peace, progress and prosperity.
* *** *For information media • not an official record