15 November 2010
Deputy Secretary-General
DSG/SM/533
AFR/2060

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General Urges Central Role for Regional Coordination

 

Mechanism Africa in Support of Region’s Race to Millennium Goals

 


Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks to the eleventh session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism Africa, in Addis Ababa, today, 14 November:


I am delighted to be back with you in Addis Ababa for this Regional Coordination Mechanism meeting.


Last year, at our tenth session, I was impressed by the high-level participation of United Nations agencies and organizations.  Today I am happy again to note that all of you — including United Nations agencies, the African Union Commission, NEPAD [New Partnership for Africa’s Development] Planning and Coordination Agency, and the Regional Economic Commissions — continue to show such strong commitment to the cause of African development.  Thank you and welcome to you all.


I am also grateful for the close partnership between the United Nations family and the African Union Commission.  In 2002, the United Nations General Assembly mandated the entire United Nations system to support the African Union’s NEPAD programme.  This expression of support was followed in 2006 by a more ambitious declaration on a Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union and the continent’s regional economic communities.  And now, this year, the Secretary-General has established a high-level liaison office at the African Union.


I thank my brother, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, for his competent stewardship of the African Union and for his leadership in developing a strong partnership with the United Nations in pursuit of Africa’s peace, security, development and human rights.  I also thank my brother Ibrahim Mayaki [Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency] for his support in fostering efforts to help achieve Africa’s blueprint for development.  Let me also thank the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Abdoulie Janneh, under whose leadership the Regional Coordination Mechanism has taken a central role in ensuring that United Nations activities are aligned with the African States’ priorities and the African Union’s programmes.


I am happy to note that the joint Regional Coordination Mechanism Africa Secretariat, made up of the African Union Commission and the ECA, is operational.  I am also happy to note progress in efforts to establish a subregional coordination mechanism for Eastern and Southern Africa and in Central Africa.


This session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism is taking place at a momentous period for Africa.  The broad impacts of climate change and the multiple crises, including the global financial crisis, the food and energy crises, continue to hamper development efforts in Africa and threaten to scale back hard-won development gains.  In spite of these challenging trends, Africa’s economic performance rebounded and has remained steadfast, with growth projected to be 4.8 per cent in 2010, driven mainly by recovery in mineral exports, ODA (official development assistance) inflows, strong Government expenditure on infrastructure development, and remittances.


At the recent Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, world leaders noted the remarkable achievements that have been made, especially in terms of reducing poverty and expanding education and access to clean water.  And they sent a clear message:  if we step up our efforts, the Millennium Development Goals remain achievable by 2015, including in the least developed countries.


However, the Summit also stressed that more concerted efforts are needed, particularly in Africa.  The outcome document set out some of the key challenges:  addressing climate change, reducing inequalities, advancing the well-being of vulnerable groups, and continuing to implement the Brussels Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries, thirty-three of which are in Africa.


We are all aware that climate change poses serious risks, not only to the environment but to Africa’s growth prospects, to social and economic development, to rural livelihoods and even to peace and security in general.  As we look to Cancun, I welcome the efforts — already under way — of the African Union Commission, ECA and African Development Bank, supported by United Nations system agencies and development partners, to address this spectrum of issues, including through last month’s Africa Development Forum here in Addis.


The consensus statement at the end of the Forum recognized not just the threat but also the opportunities that climate change can provide in spurring the integration of climate-resilient strategies into development planning, and in generating movement towards a green economy.


Now that preparations are under way for the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, we have another opportunity to press for the implementation of Agenda 21 and to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development.  The Regional Coordination Mechanism in Africa has a profound interest in making the most of this process.  I urge the Regional Coordination Mechanism to take advantage of the presence here today of colleagues from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, to articulate how to facilitate substantive preparations of African States, and contribute to a successful outcome in Rio.


Beyond the Rio+20 process, my sense is that the Regional Coordination Mechanism Africa should continue to play a central role in supporting Africa’s efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals.  At the margins of the Millennium Development Goals Summit in New York, the African Group discussed ways to do this.  But to qualify for this role, there must be better and increased coordination at all levels.  There must also be a focus and active cooperation at this eleventh session — to strengthen the Secretariat and to improve cluster management.  We also need to focus on more efficient strategies to meet the capacity-building needs of the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency and the Regional Economic Commissions.  This is a crucial task for the Regional Coordination Mechanism to undertake during these two days.


The Declaration for the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union stipulated that the Programme should be reviewed at three-year intervals.  The tenth session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism mandated the ECA, the United Nations Liaison Office with the African Union and the African Union Commission to undertake the review and to ensure the involvement and ownership of all stakeholders in the process.  The review has been successfully completed and I look forward to our discussion of the draft report later this afternoon.


In that respect, I call on you all to take a final look at the report and its recommendations in order to provide specific, practical and action-oriented inputs.  These should include measures aimed at aligning activities of the United Nations system in the context of Regional Coordination Mechanism Africa and its clusters.


I thank Mr. Janneh and his colleagues for the successful outcome of the review process and for ECA’s continued efforts in coordinating United Nations support to Africa’s development priorities and programmes.


In closing, let us all remember Africa’s boundless potential and its amazing human and material wealth.  The continent’s people need neither pity nor charity, but rather the tools, institutions, stability and freedom to create incomes and jobs.  International solidarity and a level playing field — especially in global trade — will go a long way towards helping the continent realize its noble objectives for its people, its prosperity and its stability.  The United Nations will remain Africa’s close partner, including through the valuable work of the Regional Coordination Mechanism.


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For information media • not an official record