|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
30th & 31st Meetings (AM & PM)
Assembly President Calls for ‘True Spirit of Partnership’ Among All Nations
To Secure Peace, Stability, Sustainable Development in Africa
During Annual Consideration of Africa’s Development Needs, Speakers Urge
Rich Countries to Deliver on Promises, Urge ‘Equality of Opportunities’ for Africa
In the wake of the General Assembly’s renewed commitment to galvanizing political momentum towards implementation of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, it was crucial for international partners to cooperate on redressing the ills of the world’s most strife-ridden continent, said delegates gathered today for their annual joint debate on development in Africa.
Grappling with armed conflicts, trade barriers and life threatening diseases whose impacts were made worse by climate change and lingering food and financial crises, Africa needed developed nations to deliver on long-promised aid commitments and for African Governments to guide the continent’s recovery with “flawless” and “unyielding” leadership, speakers told the Assembly.
General Assembly President Joseph Deiss of Switzerland said the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) — the innovative, home-grown plan adopted in 2001 to drive the political and socio-economic transformation of the continent — had helped increase managerial efficiency. Yet, greater cooperation was needed to meet its recommendations to devote more resources to agriculture, women’s empowerment and developing a dynamic private sector to meet benchmarks set for Africa.
“I believe that it is important to stress that these recommendations call for a true spirit of partnership since they are addressed both to development partners and to African countries,” he said, stressing greater unity of effort would be needed as activities of the United Nations would focus increasingly on social justice.
Speaking on behalf of the African Group, the representative of Malawi said 2010 “has been a remarkable year for the African Union and its NEPAD programme.” The Partnership would plan how to mobilize resources for priority programmes and projects in Africa, while its role in research would make it possible to achieve food security and agricultural development in the next five years, he said.
Yet Africa’s scenario was worsened by the global economic crisis, increasing food prices and the impacts of climate change, he said, noting that no African countries were on track to meet their Millennium Goals by 2015. Therefore, he called for the international community to focus on Africa — the only region where poverty was on the rise.
Belgium’s representative, speaking on behalf of the European Union, the world’s largest donor, hailed “impressive” gains in peace, political governance and economic growth, but agreed Africa was heavily affected by food insecurity and climate change. The upcoming Africa-European Union summit in Libya, on 29-30 November, would add fresh impetus for future cooperation. “Our aim is to support Africa’s own political and economic integration agenda,” he said, through regional trade and political partnership.
Among the many speakers calling for an end to punitive trade preferences and a speedy conclusion to the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization trade talks, the representative of Ghana said that full support for a universal, rules-based and non-discriminatory trading system would help Africa integrate into the global economy. He urged “aid for trade” measures to increase African countries’ competitiveness. “ Africa has the desire to move away from aid dependency in the future”, he said, which could be done by trading its way out of poverty.
Many spoke of urgent need to establish mechanisms to monitor the commitments made regarding the development of Africa, noting that the most glaring gap continued to be the $16 billion shortfall on pledges towards attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, made by the leaders of the Group of 8 (G-8) during their 2005 Gleneagles summit. Other’s noted that momentum generated by the Assembly’s summit-level review of the status of the implementation of the Goals, held form 20 to 22 September, to jump-start initiatives aimed at ensuring sustainable development in Africa.
China’s representative echoed those sentiments, calling on all developed nations to raise their assistance commitments to 0.7 per cent of their gross national income, open their markets to their African counterparts and reduce or waive debts. In that regard, he said there needed to be greater respect for sentiments of African countries by removing conditions on aid, increasing the transparency of assistance and redressing the power imbalance between donors and recipients.
To address African problems, the “profit-at-all-cost” philosophy that supported the international system must be eliminated, Cuba’s representative said. Africa needed firm international support. The United Nations must provide an integrated approach to challenges of peace, security and development. “We do not demand paternalism for Africa but equality of opportunities,” he said. That was what was required for Africa and other developing nations as they faced today’s challenges.
When the debate turned to progress in implementing the 2001-2010 Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, the speakers stressed the need to step up efforts to eradicate that preventable disease, which killed nearly 1 million people, mainly in Africa, every year. Significant progress had been made combating malaria through increased mosquito net use, but large financial gaps remained, despite commitments to malaria control having increased five-fold over the 2003-2009 period. The reduction of malaria cases and deaths through bed nets and treatment programs demonstrated that “we know what is needed to combat this disease,” said a Senator from Australia, who urged that efforts to that end continued.
The representative to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said it had committed more than $5 billion in 82 countries, investing in universal coverage of insecticide treated mosquito nets. Available funds would purchase an estimated 250 million bed nets, a significant step forward to addressing the most vulnerable populations.
He went on to say that with better financing, an increasing number of countries were reporting reductions of more than 50 per cent in malaria deaths. That worldwide progress was also due to better leadership in malaria affected countries and more support from the World Health Organization. Donors had committed $11.7 billion to the Fund for 2011-2013, she said, and pressure must be maintained by ensuring the availability of drugs and supporting effective malaria interventions.
In other business today, the Assembly, acting on the recommendation of its General Committee, decided to include on its agenda an item entitled “Follow-up to the High-level Meeting held on 24 September 2010 — Revitalizing the Work of the Conference on Disarmament and Taking Forward Multilateral Disarmament Negotiations”. It decided to allocate that item to the plenary and the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) on the understanding that in the plenary, the Assembly would hold debate on that item and the First Committee would consider any proposals on it.
Also addressing the Assembly today were representatives of Yemen (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China), Guyana (on behalf of Caribbean Community, CARICOM), Indonesia (on behalf of Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN), Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Algeria, Israel, India, Morocco, Senegal, Russian Federation, United States, Tunisia, Cameroon, Nigeria, Canada, Japan, Mozambique, Sudan, Zambia, Republic of Korea, Ethiopia, Lebanon, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Speaking as Observers were representatives of Holy See and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 18 October, to consider Sport for Peace and Development.
The General Assembly met today to hold its annual joint debate on development in Africa, including progress on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the 2001-2010 Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa.
Before the Assembly was the Secretary-General’s eighth consolidated report on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD): implementation and international support (document A/65/167), which coincided with various progress reports on the Millennium Development Goals with special focus on Africa. It highlights policy measures taken by African countries and organizations to implement the Partnership, including the areas of: infrastructure, agriculture and food security, health, education and training, environment and tourism, information and communications technology, science and technology, empowerment of women and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
It also describes the international community’s support for Africa, notably in the areas of official development assistance (ODA), debt relief, foreign direct investment (FDI), trade and South-South cooperation. As for the United Nations’ role, the report discusses the strengthening of the Regional Consultation Mechanism of the United Nations agencies working in Africa, as well as the Millennium Villages Project, a community-led development initiative that reaches more than half a million people across 10 sub-Saharan African countries.
The report concludes that there had been good progress implementing the Partnership, moving forward the APRM and increasing development assistance to the continent. But at the same time, it is clear that development partners had to increase financial and technical assistance to reach the Millennium Goals. Trade agreements should make African’s needs a priority and incorporate development mechanisms.
NEPAD was entering a new phase following the establishment of its Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), the report says, and the time is ripe for all stakeholders to develop an effective continent-wide communications and outreach strategy to enhance awareness of the Partnership’s goals. African countries should also provide regional economic communities the necessary financial and human resources, while increasing spending on agriculture and rural development to 10 per cent of public expenditure to reduce poverty and food insecurity.
African countries and their development partners must also support women, who play a key role in the agriculture sector, and increase their participation in decision-making processes. For their part, development partners should fulfil existing commitments to improve effectiveness of assistance and take bold steps to ensure successful conclusion of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, the report says.
Also before the Assembly was the Secretary–General’s report on the 2001-2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa (document A/65/210), prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO), which highlights progress made in meeting malaria-related goals by this year. The report addresses policies and strategies for malaria control, financing, programme implementation, impact of programmes and elimination of malaria.
It says that although a large increase in funding over the past decade had resulted in a dramatic scale-up of malaria interventions that led to measurable reductions in the malaria burden, funding totalling $1.5 billion in 2009 still fell short of the $5 billion required annually for worldwide impact. In 2008, there were an estimated 243 million cases of malaria, with 85 per cent in Africa, the report says. Of those cases, some 863,000 died, with about 91 per cent of the deaths in the African region.
Yet the report notes that in countries where malaria control interventions have been scaled up, not only have rates of malaria cases, hospitalizations and deaths dropped dramatically, but the overall child mortality rates were also in steep decline. Malaria control scale-up in 35 African countries saved approximately 560,000 lives between 2000 and 2009, with more than three quarters of that number saved since 2006.
The report notes that large quantities of external assistance for malaria control appeared to be having an effect; countries receiving more than $7 in external assistance per at-risk person between 2000 and 2007 were more likely to report a reduction in cases that countries receiving $6 or less.
But the report cautions that resistance to artemisinins has been found in Asia, and there is a high risk it would eventually spread westward to Africa and beyond without a strong global effort to halt the marketing and use of oral artemisinin alone, the primary contributor to that resistance. The global community also needs to increase support for national drug regulatory authorities as poor quality and counterfeit medicines had become widespread and could also potentially fuel anti-malarial drug resistance.
The report concludes that for permanent successful action against malaria, the capacity of African health ministries to deliver effective malaria control must be increased. It urges that funding be tightly linked to true capacity building, including long-term technical assistance and extensive training of staff at all health system levels while Governments of malaria-hit countries invested in necessary human resources to guarantee long-term success.
The Secretary-General’s report on a monitoring mechanism to review commitments towards Africa’s development needs (document A/65/165), discusses the rationale of both African countries and their development partners for the creation of a mechanism to encourage the implementation of commitments and promote mutual accountability. It outlines the nature, scope, priorities and institutional arrangements for an improved monitoring mechanism that aims to make existing processes more inclusive. “Its value added is based on greater inclusiveness, leveraging on the political authority and legitimacy of the General Assembly and its universal membership,” the report notes.
In that context, the Assembly was encouraged to consider the creation of a review process, under the aegis of itself or the Economic and Social Council, as a sub-segment of the Development Cooperation Forum fully dedicated to Africa, which would review every two years the commitments made to Africa. Each review meeting could be organized to include a formal review at the intergovernmental level; a review of technical specialists involved with existing monitoring mechanisms and a dialogue among relevant stakeholders interested in the implementation of such commitments.
The report also says that broad participation in the review meetings by major regional and subregional institutions - including the Commission of the African Union, African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), among others that managed key monitoring mechanisms – should be ensured, and the Secretary-General should be requested to submit, either to the Assembly or the Forum, a report on the fulfilment of commitments. The Assembly also should require that the preparation of that report and all additional documentation be programmed in the budget of the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa.
Assembly delegations were also set to take up Implementation of the recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document A/65/152) in which the United Nations Chief reviews progress made implementing recommendations contained in a previous report (document A/52/871-S/1998/318).
The second section of this report provides an overview of major peace and security developments in Africa over the past decade, including the development concerns that Africa and the international community are addressing in order to restore, maintain and promote peace and rebuild post-conflict countries. In sections III and VI, the report outlined the causes of conflict and reviews the necessary mobilization of resources and partners.
The report observes that the emergence of new actors, such as Brazil, China, India and Turkey expanded Africa’s opportunities and resources, but that did not diminish the responsibility of traditional donors to deliver on promises. It concluded that the United Nations system must also acknowledge its own limitations, forging appropriate partnerships so that regional actors lead peace, relief and development efforts. There must be a more systematic appreciation for the political economy of armed conflicts, especially those lined to natural resources, and the social and gender-based dimensions of violence.
Today’s fast-changing environment prompted the United Nations to reassess many assumptions of past decades. Engagement in Africa had to be aligned with the visions of the African people, and the report says the United Nations would revisit the effectiveness of its approaches and further consult with partners to meet remaining challenges and take advantage of new opportunities.
Introductory Remarks by Assembly President
JOSEPH DEISS, President of the General Assembly, said the debate today would be devoted to several topics of importance to Africa, and he hoped that the discussion, along with the reports prepared by the Secretariat, would form part of the follow-up to the Assembly’s recent summit-level review of the status of implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. The aims of the Global Malaria Action Plan affected nearly all the Goals. “The issue is critical: every year, almost 1 million people fall victim to malaria, mainly in Africa, and this is simply unacceptable,” he said. It was therefore important to support efforts of the Roll Back Malaria partnership and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which were good examples of coordination among active institutions.
NEPAD, established in 2001, had made progress towards increased managerial efficiency, he said. But the Secretary-General’s report stressed that in order to meet the Millennium Goals, more resources needed to be devoted to certain areas, particularly agriculture, as well as the need to empower women and establish a business climate more favourable to developing a dynamic private sector. “I believe that it is important to stress that these recommendations call for a true spirit of partnership since they are addressed both to development partners and to African countries,” he said.
The same spirit of partnership was found in the proposal for an improved monitoring mechanism of commitments for Africa’s development, which would be essential for accountability working towards the Goals’ 2015 deadline. He invited delegates to share views on various options; Resolution 63/1 called for establishment of an improved review mechanism during the sixty-fifth session, and it was his hope real progress would be made in that regard. The report on the causes of conflict and promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa also stressed that partnerships would be important during the decades to come as the activities of the United Nations focus increasingly on social justice.
PIERRE CHARLIER (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said Africa had shown “impressive” gains in the areas of peace, political governance and economic growth, however it remained heavily affected by the challenges of food security and climate change. The upcoming Africa-European Union summit in Libya, on 29-30 November, would add fresh impetus for future cooperation. Noting that the premise of that partnership was the continent’s responsibility for its own development, he said that was also the core principle of the African Union and NEPAD.
International support must aim to help African institutions and countries develop their capacities to promote continental, regional and national projects. “Our aim is to support Africa’s own political and economic integration agenda,” he said, through regional trade and political partnership. The European Union recognized the value of the African Union and NEPAD programmes in defining continental projects and as monitors of commitments. Promotion of democratic and transparent systems of government, and respect for human rights, were key components of the joint Africa-European Union Strategy, he said. Within that partnership, the European Union would soon launch, with its partners, a joint platform for dialogue on governance to strengthen discussion of key issues regarding democratic governance and human rights, and he drew attention to the situation of women in that context, whose rights were fundamental for peacebuilding and economic growth.
He went on to say that the European Union reaffirmed its commitment to reaching a 0.7 per cent ODA target by 2015 and continued to work on improving coherence among its policies in the areas of resource mobilization. As for trade, he said a successful conclusion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks remained a priority. Turning to health, he said malaria, alongside HIV/AIDS, had inflicted a heavy burden on Africa. Significant progress had been made in combating malaria, with countries like Rwanda and Zambia showing impressive results with mosquito net use, a WHO report noted that significant financial gaps remained, despite commitments to malaria control having increased five-fold over the 2003-2009 period.
As the world’s largest donor, the European Union would lead global efforts to sustain financial pledges in that area. He welcomed the $11.7 billion raised through the Global Fund Replenishment Conference for the next three years. Combating malaria through strengthened national health systems was among the most effective ways to alleviate poverty and he urged investing in the health work force to speed progress towards reaching Millennium Goal 4 (child health) among others. The European Union was committed to supporting African nations in their quest for peace, democratic governance and sustainable development, partnerships that also addressed the root causes of conflict.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said 2010 had been a “remarkable” year for the African Union and its NEPAD programme, with extensive efforts made to integrate the Partnership into the African Union’s structures and processes. That exercise had culminated in the decision to formally establish the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency as a “technical body” of the African Union. In their Thirty Fourth Ministerial Declaration, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group recognized Africa’s special needs and called for timely implementation of all commitments to enable African countries to achieve the Millennium Goals by 2015. Today, Africa was the only continent not on tract to do that, as the global financial crisis had negatively impacted its countries’ economies.
The situation called for strengthening the global partnership for development and “vigorous” implementation of all commitments without delay. Inadequate resources were widely considered the main constraint on African development. To eradicate poverty and hunger in Africa, urgent action by developed nations was needed. For their part, African countries had taken steps to implement NEPAD by developing sectoral policy frameworks and establishing spending targets in priority areas. Through NEPAD, countries had fundamentally changed the development paradigm, with the narrow approach of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers having expanded to include a holistic take on development. He strongly called for the delivery of commitments outlined in the 2005 World Summit outcome, including the doubling of aid to Africa.
Indeed, resources must be mobilized for African States, the regional economic communities and the African Union to support efforts to achieve the Goals within the framework of national development programmes, he said, reiterating the urgent need to establish a monitoring mechanism to follow-up on all commitments related to Africa’s development. Unsustainable debt must be written off. For African nations to achieve the annual 7 to 8 per cent growth rate needed to halve poverty by 2015, increased ODA was imperative. As for the environment, he recognized the importance of addressing, in a mutually supportive manner, the three dimensions of sustainable development, and called for measures to help African countries fight land degradation and drought. Various United Nations agencies played a critical role in supporting NEPAD in the areas of agriculture, trade and market access, and he called on the Organization to mainstream the Partnership’s aims into its normative and operational activities.
GEORGE TALBOT (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said the people of his region were linked to their brothers and sisters in Africa by age-old bonds of history and culture and by common struggles and shared aspirations. Africa, “the ancient home of man,” was now emerging as a new frontier of development and human progress, and its nearly 1 billion people deserved the opportunity to fully realize the aspirations they shared with all humanity. In that regard, he said CARIRCOM’s support for the New Partnership was guided by a fundamental respect for Africa’s ownership and leadership of its own development process, and was a key principle for development effectiveness.
CARICOM recognized the story of Africa as one of increasing promise, despite its great challenges, he said. Yet despite such promise, that continent faced the greatest risks in the developing world and should remain a key focus for development efforts over the next five years. Furthermore, the quest for durable peace required the most patient and active engagement. He said CARICOM was heartened that more African countries had emerged, or were emerging, from conflict, but noted that recovery in some regions remained fragile and risked relapse.
For its part, the CARICOM’s collaboration with Africa was strong, and found expression in the political, economic, social, environmental and cultural domains, and in forums such as the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group, Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the “Group of 77”, Non-Aligned Movement and in the United Nations. Turning to HIV/AIDS, he noted that Africa and the Caribbean had the highest rates of HIV infections globally. That unwelcome reality nevertheless provided an opportunity. For its part, the Pan-Caribbean Partnership to Combat HIB/AIDS had been identified by Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) as a best practice in regard to a regional response to the pandemic.
In addition, CARICOM strongly supported and encouraged the African “Green Revolution,” he said, and urged the international community to continue to support relevant initiatives to that end to ensure that Africa can produce enough food to feed its people in the next five years. Regarding climate change, he called for a “scaling-up” of international action and financing to Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific and other countries on the frontline of the challenge. In closing, he said the observance of the 2001 International Year for People of African Descent would contribute to the paradigm shift that engendered greater Afro-optimism and the President of Malawi’s term, “ Africa of the New Beginning.”
HASAN KLEIB (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted that throughout the decades, the relationships among ASEAN and African countries were consolidated and enhanced in the spirit of solidarity, close cooperation, and mutual respect. Through cooperation, he added, both continents had experienced significant changes and developments for the benefit of its peoples. ASEAN strongly supported the implementation of NEPAD as an important tool to address poverty and underdevelopment, and one that provided a collective vision and a strategic socio-economic development framework for Africa. It was Africa’s “home grown effort” to implement a comprehensive and holistic approach to development, he said.
Nevertheless, he noted the observations in the Secretary-General’s report, which showed that African countries faced the greatest challenges in meeting their Millennium Goals. In that regard, he reaffirmed ASEAN’s commitment to strengthen its cooperation and collaboration with Africa, and called for international action and development plans to support Africa’s progress. He went on to say that ASEAN had been doing its utmost to promote South-South Cooperation with African partners. Key strategic areas, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme,(CAADP) would significantly contribute to the continent’s development and integration, most notably, in areas of eradicating hunger, agricultural development, and mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
Still, in its effort to implement NEPAD and achieve its Millennium Goals, Africa faced a daunting task. In addition to maintaining peace, security and a politically stable environment, it must consolidate development strategies, strengthen leadership, and mobilize resources, among other efforts. In that regard, he said the recent integration of NEPAD into the African Union, and the establishment of NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency made a significant mark on its implementation. However, in order to meet its objectives, NEPAD and the Planning Agency needed adequate human and financial resources. Developed partners therefore must meet commitments in the following areas: increase ODA flow to Africa, especially the promises made by the “Group of 8” (G-8) Summits in Gleneagles (2005) and Canada (2010) to double aid to Africa by 2010, and mobilize an additional $5 billion over the next five years; facilitate foreign FDI to Africa, particularly infrastructure and agriculture; and promote trade with Africa by implementing “Aid for Trade programmes and commitments.”
Further efforts should be made to reach an agreement on the Doha round of the World Trade Organization talks, especially on agricultural market access and reduction of agricultural subsidies. In closing, he said ASEAN fully supported the conclusions and recommendations of the Secretary-General in his reports regarding the implementation of NEPAD, and supported a review process to monitor commitments to Africa’s development.
MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said that the adverse impacts of the financial and economic crisis on the developing world, particularly in Africa, had negatively affected the efforts of African countries to achieve internationally agreed development goals. At the same time, the crisis had revealed the resolve of Africa to address the repercussions of the crisis through adjusting its economic and governance structures. He observed that NEPAD had been among the main vehicles for enhancing such structures, and through it, African countries had taken large strides in various developmental aspects, in particular in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture and food security, health, education, and information and communication technology. In that context, he believed that there was an urgent need that the continent’s development partners fulfilled their ODA and other aid commitments made within the different forums to support development in Africa.
He said despite significant improvement Africa had achieved in the areas of peace and security, development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, many challenges still existed, including intra-State conflicts,, unconstitutional changes of Government, election related violence, illicit trafficking in small arms and drugs, all of which posed threats that undermined Africa’s endeavours towards stability and development. To address those challenges, Egypt believed that a comprehensive approach needed to be put in place by the United Nations, the African Union and African subregional organizations. By the same token, it was important that all pledges to support development efforts were fully honoured.
Noting that the cooperation between the African Union and the United Nations had always been crucial in addressing many of the continent’s peace and security challenges, he said the two organizations’ joint efforts to deal with the situations in Kenya and Zimbabwe in the past, and the current situations in Guinea and Niger, as well as other forms of cooperation like the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), were all examples of the fruits of that partnership. Furthermore, the work of the Peacebuilding Commission to support the four African countries on its agenda underlined the importance of joint work towards peacebuilding in the post-conflict situations. In that regard, Egypt attached great importance to enhancing the annual consultative mechanism between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, he said.
On the efforts to roll back malaria, he asserted that since the Millennium Summit had launched the Roll Back Malaria Decade in developing countries, global efforts succeeded in eliminating the disease in nearly half of the malaria infected countries. However, the continuing proliferation of the disease in more than 50 per cent of those countries, underscored the need for continued support and to ensure the sustainability of funding in order reduce mortality rates by half in 2010, as well as addressing the spread of the disease in Africa, where infection rates had reached alarming levels of 91 per cent. He underlined the need to support the efforts to revamp the infrastructure of economic, education and health systems in developing countries as well as a serious need for transferring the necessary technical knowledge to support those efforts and ensure the early diagnosis, treatment and prevention from the disease through the participation of all sectors of society. It was also imperative in that regard to resolve the trade-related aspects of the intellectual property rights of existing malaria medications and vaccines currently in circulation or being developed, he added.
WANG MIN ( China) said that since NEPAD’s launch nine years ago, African countries had achieved great progress in areas including infrastructure, agriculture and health, however, the impacts of crises in finance, food and energy meant that Africa faced an uphill task in realizing the Millennium Goals by 2015. Development was the basis for attaining peace in Africa and international support should be increased to help African nations implement the Partnership and, thus, promote stability and prosperity. In that context, he urged promptly delivering on pledges for assistance, underscoring that ODA still fell far short of targets. Developed nations should raise their commitments to 0.7 per cent of their gross national income, open their markets to their African counterparts and reduce or waive debts. African countries’ right to self-determination must be respected.
In that regard, he said the global community should show greater respect for the sentiments of African countries by removing conditions on aid, increasing the transparency of assistance and redressing the power imbalance between donors and recipients. South-South cooperation also must be expanded, though which financial and trading exchanges, built on equality and mutual benefit, had been seen. The role of international bodies should also be strengthened and it was imperative to deepen the United Nations’ partnership with the African Union, African Development Bank and regional economic communities. International financial institutions should also step up their support to African nations. As for promoting peace, the international community should vigorously support African countries in solving their disputes through peaceful consultations and support for regional organizations, and never hinder the peaceful resolution of “hotspot” issues.
For its part, China had been committed to peace and development in Africa, he said, citing the 2000 establishment of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum. In recent years, China had implemented various measures in its Africa-related assistance, notably a series of policies, announced last November, that included $10 billion in preferential loans, waivers for unpaid interest-free loans that had expired in 2009, and the progressive granting of duty-free treatment for 95 per cent of products produced by African least developed countries with diplomatic ties to China. Fully supporting the call for more global control of malaria, he said from 2010-2012, China would continue to provide its 30 malaria prevention and control centres in Africa with anti-malaria supplies and invite experts in recipient countries to train in China. Finally, he called on States and United Nations entities, including the Security Council, to make more proactive contributions to the maintenance of peace and security in Africa.
BASO SANGQU ( South Africa), said among NEPAD’s significant achievements was its identification and processing of priority action areas. Moreover, it provided a framework for regional and continental transport, energy, water, and information and communications technology. He commended international financial institutions, among others, that had pledged to increase their financial commitments to Africa by at least $15 billion in the next two to three years, and increase lending for infrastructure. However, he was concerned that Africa spent $45 billion annually on infrastructure needs that totalled $93 billion, meaning it was critical to secure support for a $48 billion funding gap.
Under NEPAD, Africa had come together to formulate CAADP through which several countries had benefited from G-8 funding pledged in 2009. Also, the APRM had 29 members, with one more about to join. Thus far, 13 of the Mechanism’s member states had opened themselves for review. He supported recommendations to fully integrate the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency into African Union Commission structures, as well as the Secretary-General’s call to provide support to African-led development strategies. The African Union Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development Programme had proven itself as a progressive peacebuilding and development mechanism that should be supported and sustained. The United Nations must urgently continue its support to the African Union, in line with the recommendations of the “Prodi Report,” on joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping operations.
For its part, South Africa had, since 1994, been active in conflict resolution on the continent and, to that end, had played a significant role in post-conflict reconstruction and capacity building in Burundi, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among others. Its commitment also had been seen in the African Union and UN-ECA’s engagement in peacemaking. To address the challenges of inequitable income distribution within countries, high unemployment, especially among youth, and increased use of Africa as a transit point for drug trafficking, work must be undertaken with States to build governance institutions continent-wide. On malaria, he saluted the launch of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and called for international provision of technical assistance and improved evaluation systems to track changes. He also encouraged producers of long-lasting insecticide treated nets to transfer technology to developing nations.
LESLIE K. CHRISTIAN (Ghana), recalling “remarkable” achievements in NEPAD’s implementation, cited the embrace of good governance, adoption of political pluralism, holding of regular and fair elections and adoption of the APRM by many countries as a testament to the political leadership and “deepened democratic ethos” in Africa. Further, African gross domestic product (GDP) between 2002 and 2007 had grown annually by 6 per cent, the highest rate in more than 30 years. Other achievements had been made in health and education.
Despite such progress, he said African health systems were under-funded and ill-equipped. Armed conflict and drug trafficking persisted and the economic crisis had reduced export prices and remittances, and depreciated local currencies. Moreover, ODA was $14 billion short of Gleneagles commitments. Emphasizing the importance of such assistance to Africa, he said total resource flows were also less diversified than in other developing areas. The sharp downturn in domestic revenue, combined with falling exports and lost access to international capital markets underscored the need for international resources. Africa did not need renewed pledges but delivery on commitments.
Pointing a way forward, he said Africa could be “resourced” by implementing measures to curtail illicit financial flows, enhancing disclosure and promoting transparency in financial information. Strengthening national and multinational efforts was crucial to addressing that issue. Other measures should be taken to prevent the transfer abroad of stolen assets. “ Africa has the desire to move away from aid dependency in the future,” he said, which could be done by trading its way out of poverty. Full support for a universal, rules-based and non-discriminatory trading system would help Africa integrate into the global economy and he urged “aid for trade” measures to increase African countries’ competitiveness. On malaria, he urged a holistic, long-term approach to development and adopting proactive strategies. Africa’s development required shared responsibilities.
PEDRO NÚÑEZ MOSQUERA ( Cuba) said independence and African heritage were inextricably linked to Cuban nationality. Over 1.5 million enslaved Africans had arrived on the island and Cubans were proud to have inherited Africa’s “culture of resistance.” Cuba had always been at Africa’s side, from support for its anti-colonialist struggles to cooperation on economic and social development projects. Over 381,000 soldiers had fought to defend the sovereignty of African nations for almost three decades. As in the past, Cuba would continue to contribute its human capital and experience with African countries. Some 1,120 Cuban doctors and health care technicians were working in 12 African countries. More than 2,200 young people from 45 African nations were studying in Cuban universities.
“ Cuba has always been with Africa, and Africa with Cuba,” he continued, noting that in more than 50 years of the unjust blockade imposed against Cuba, African Governments had demanded - on 18 occasions - the right of Cubans to determine their destiny. It was imperative to change the current international order where powerful multinationals strived to control mineral resources on the continent, he said. To address African problems, the “profit-at-all-cost” philosophy that supported the international system must be eliminated. Cuba would continue supporting the African Union and all regional coordination mechanisms. Africa needed firm international support. The United Nations must provide an integrated approach to challenges of peace, security and development. “We do not demand paternalism for Africa but equality of opportunities,” he said. That was what was required for Africa and other developing nations as they faced today’s challenges.
MIKE MWANYULA (Malawi), speaking on behalf of the African Group, said the year 2010 “has been a remarkable year for the African Union and its NEPAD programme.” It would be recalled, he added, that the extensive efforts to integrate the Partnership into the African Union had culminated in the decision of the fourteenth African Union Summit to formally establish the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency as a “technical body” of the African Union. As mandated by the African Union Assembly decision, the NEPAD Agency’s roles as a planning unit aimed to facilitate and implement regional and continental programs and mobilize resources to implement Africa’s priority programmes and projects. Furthermore, he explained, its role in conducting and coordinating research and knowledge management would make it possible to achieve food security and agricultural development in the next five years.
He went on to say that African countries had taken large steps toward implementing the Partnership, with key projects carried out in various sectors, including infrastructure, CAADP, education and training, environment, information and communications technologies, science and technology. Progress had also been made regarding the APRM. Nevertheless, Africa’s scenario was worsened by the global economic crisis, increasing food prices and the impacts of climate change, he said, noting that no African countries were on track to meet their Millennium Goals by 2015. Therefore, he called for the international community to focus on Africa — the only region where poverty was on the rise — and urged for renewed commitments to support its needs.
In particular, he continued, development partners should deliver on their aid commitments, in line with the observations in the Secretary-General’s relevant report. Since 2004, Africa had received between 32 and 35 per cent of the total increase in ODA, which was well below the 50 per cent increase committed to by the G-8 at Gleneagles. Arica was likely to get only about $12 billion of the $25 billion increase presented at that summit. Turning to climate change, he said while Africa produced only 4 per cent of total global carbon emissions, it was the most vulnerable to its heat-trapping influences and least equipped to deal with the environmental impact. Changes in weather patterns had a direct bearing on water availability, agricultural output as well as food security.
Continuing, he said that as climate change intensified, adaptation had become increasingly challenging. As a result, the continent continued to witness desertification, deforestation, dust storms, pollution and loss of ecosystems from rapid urbanization. Most notably, Africa was currently losing large swathes of forest every year. Investments in Africa’s infrastructure services were also vital, he said, noting that 60 per cent of the rural populations were poor and unable to access health care and education. Furthermore, he stressed that agricultural productivity and profitably was essential to ensuring economic development in the rural continent.
While 90 percent of Africa’s food supply was produced by small farmers in rural areas, that group was among the 50 per cent of the populations, including the landless and urban poor, which lacked food security. Malnutrition devastated children and stunted their potential, which led to a cycle of deprivation and hunger, he said. Therefore, sustained agricultural growth to eradicate poverty and hunger remained a high priority, as foreseen by Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Programme. In closing, the African Group reiterated the urgent need to establish mechanisms to monitor the commitments made regarding the development of Africa, he said, noting that the process should remain under the guidance of the General Assembly.
KERRY O’BRIEN, a Senator in Australia, emphasizing the important role NEPAD played in addressing the critical challenges facing the African continent, said that his country would be doubling its Overseas Development Assistance to Africa over the next three years. On current obligations, Australia’s budget would be doubled by 2015 as a commitment to all stakeholders in Africa’s continued efforts. Furthermore, his country’s four-year $100 million food security initiative, under the CAADP was being incorporated as part of the mechanism in implementing the G‑8’s L’Aquila principles.
Continuing, he said that Australia would be focusing on strengthening its partnership with the African Union, commencing with the signing of a memorandum of understanding last month with the African Union Commission. His country would be working closely with the Commission as part of its $140 million program supporting maternal and child health in Eastern Africa. Echoing Australian Foreign Minister Rudd’s call during the recent Millennium Development Goals Summit that all donor Member States must honour commitments made, he supported the Secretary-General’s suggestion for an improved monitoring mechanism to ensure accountability and enhance the sense of partnership between donor and recipient Member States.
The Roll Back Malaria Decade, he said, reflected some progress made in combating a disease that fuelled the cycle of poverty and afflicted the poor and most vulnerable. The reduction of malaria cases and deaths through bed nets and treatment programs demonstrated that “we know what is needed to combat this disease,” he said, and urged that efforts to that end continued. Turning to the Global Fund for HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, he said Australia would be committing some $210 million to that mechanism over the next three years, demonstrating its commitment to supporting global efforts to build on successes of the past decade and to reverse the incidence of malaria worldwide. Australia’s bilateral programmes complemented its support to the Fund, and played a leading role in reducing the malaria burden in the Asia and Pacific region, where 62 percent of malaria cases outside Africa occurred
MARIA TERESA MESQUITA PESSÔA ( Brazil) stated that Africa was a priority for Brazilian foreign policy, underscored by the nation’s presence in 36 African capitals and the frequent visits of President Lula da Silva to the continent. NEPAD was attributed a high priority as an African-owned and driven initiative. That was reflected, she said, in the wide range of technical cooperation projects carried out in partnership with various African countries. Indeed, in 2009, Brazilian cooperation projects in Africa represented 51 per cent of the nation’s total investment in developing nations. Currently, she noted there were 117 such projects, addressing such areas as education, agriculture and livestock husbandry, science, energy and health.
She underscored NEPAD’s focus on agriculture as a means to eradicate poverty and generate wealth, noting that the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation - a State-owned company - had recently installed an office in Accra, Ghana, to increase the productivity of the African savannah. Furthermore, the Brazilian Cooperation Agency offered a programme open to all African countries to further public agricultural policies, agricultural research and training of local producers. Within the framework of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha Development Round, Brazil had unilaterally granted duty-free and quota-free access for exports from least developed countries, two-thirds of which were in Africa. Brazil had also worked with countries such as Ghana and Senegal to develop their national capacity to produce bioenergy.
NEPAD, she continued, rightfully recognized the close links between health, poverty, marginalization and environmental degradation. Therefore, Brazilian cooperation initiatives also targeted developing African capacities in the area of health through, for example, the development of a pharmaceutical facility for antiretroviral drugs and the improvement of national health systems. The Government was also “deeply committed” to the international fight against malaria, manifested in its active participation in the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the international health initiative UNITAID and the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis. In that regard, she said it was imperative to ensure universal access to free or affordable medicines. Lastly, in order to further prevent and control malaria infections, Brazil had launched the National Program of Malaria Control that aimed to reduce by 50 per cent the number of malaria cases in 47 of the nation’s highest infected municipalities.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) underscored NEPAD’s importance in promoting a new approach for cooperation and development in Africa, saying that Africa had committed to effective leadership and ownership of its destiny. Policies had centred on questions such as macroeconomic stability, promoting human development and fighting pandemics. Indeed, Africa was increasingly being considered a new space for investment and economic growth, due in part to its significant natural resources and progress made in governance over monetary and budget policies. It would no longer be outside international decision-making and could no longer suffer the consequences of such marginalization.
He said the Partnership’s integration into African Union structures would encourage development partners to honour their commitments to assist NEPAD. Moreover, the adoption of the APRM to consolidate good governance was in the “plus column” of major accomplishments. Thirty countries had joined and 14 were being considered. Algeria had been among the first to submit to Peer Review, showing its will to maintain good governance in all areas. Africa had shown honourable results in priority areas, while agriculture, infrastructures and information and communication technologies were being given ongoing attention. Investment needs for infrastructure had hit $93 billion annually, with African nations only able to put forward $45 billion.
In other areas, he said malaria affected millions of Africa, most of them women and children, and Algeria welcomed the launch of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, whose success depended on the degree of implementation among African countries. Also, the Action Plan for Information and Communication Technologies in Africa was supported at the Kampala African Union Summit in 2010. More broadly, support for African countries was insufficient. Resumption of sustained economic growth depended on strengthened partnership, whereby African reforms would be matched by assistance, especially those for facilitating market access to developed countries and compliance with pledges ODA. Other measures would encourage FDI in African countries and debt cancellation for the poorest nations.
MERON REUBEN ( Israel) said his county had longstanding ties to Africa, and its Foreign Minister had recently visited a number of African countries as part of a drive to deepen Israel’s commitment to development on the continent. Israel placed significant focus on the Millennium Goals and its development agency, MASHAV, worked closely with many African partners on areas such as sustainable development, public health, food security, education and gender equity. With an arid climate similar to many regions in Africa, Israel provided significant expertise in agriculture through a number of partnerships. One venture, known as Techno-Agricultural Innovation for Poverty Alleviation, trained farmers to use simple, inexpensive techniques to maximize output, he said.
Israel also recently launched a partnership with Germany and Ethiopia to assist Ethiopian farmers to adopt advanced agricultural practices to ensure sustainable development and improve food security. That collaboration highlighted the value of diversified partnerships, which Israel had been working to further expand in areas where they could have the greatest impact against hunger and poverty through ensuring better production and safer land use. Israel was also engaged in a number of efforts to empower women, he said, promoting women’s entrepreneurship in small-scale agriculture as well as teacher training programmes.
Israel also worked to empower women by improving prenatal and neonatal care in Ghana through a concept known as Tipat Chalav, which meant “drop of milk” in Hebrew. The model, which used community-based clinics staffed primarily by public health nurses, produced dramatic improvements in health. In the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, Israel trained healthcare professionals to treat HIV and managed educational programmes to promote sexual health among adolescents, he said. To further devote attention to the development of Africa, Israel would mark International Development Day by organizing a roundtable discussion on its challenges.
CHARAN DAS MAHANT ( India) said that despite positive developments, serious challenges remained to be addressed before the African continent could achieve sustainable peace and prosperity. Most African countries remained off-track towards the Millennium Development Goals as conflict, poverty, lack of adequate nutrition and other malaises continued to shackle their tremendous potential. It was universally acknowledged that resolute action was needed from within Africa but also by outside development partners. “In spite of the commitments and initiatives, there is a gap between promise and delivery by the international community that needs to be addressed on a priority basis,” he said.
He went on to stress the urgent need to fulfil commitments made by the G-8 at the 2005 Gleneagles Summit. “The picture on the ground is not inspiring,” he said. “Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa is estimated to have reached $44 billion in 2009. This leaves a shortfall of $16 billion relative to the Gleneagles target set in 2005.” India’s links with Africa were anchored in a history of contact across the Indian Ocean and strengthened through common anti-colonial struggle and post-colonial nation-building. The links had evolved into a sustainable and enduring partnership that covered infrastructure development, capacity-building, agriculture, health and food security, development of small and medium enterprises and information and communication technology.
India had so far extended over $3 billion concession-based lines of credit to countries in Africa and would extend additional credit lines of some $5.4 billion over the next five years, he said. India also gave tariff-free market access to 34 least developed countries in Africa and mounted the Pan African E-network project to provide 53 countries tele-education and tele-medicine. India was also a steady contributor to African peacekeeping efforts; among its 7,000 peacekeepers serving in the continent was its first all-female police unit, serving a pioneering role in Liberia with outreach to vulnerable sections of society. India and Africa were joined in a quest for development, he said, with a blueprint for more engagement adopted at the landmark India-Africa Forum Summit held in Delhi in 2008.
TARIK IZIRAREN (Morocco), aligning with the Group of 77 developing nations and China, as well as the African Group, said that in the wake of various crises, African countries had been unable to mobilize resources to undertake reforms. Commitments from development partners had also dropped significantly at a time when African countries were in great need, which meant their progress towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals had been impacted. Moreover, average economic growth rates in 2008 and 2009, which had reached respectively 4.5 per cent and 1.6 per cent, were largely below the 7 per cent needed to attain the Goals. Neither ODA nor FDI had reached levels required to meet needs. To address that situation, Morocco had proposed that the Assembly organize a high-level meeting on investment in Africa.
In other areas, he said any delay in concluding the Doha Round of trade negotiations only penalized African economies. While, improving market access was a necessary condition, stopping there would be insufficient. Support was needed to boost African productive and trade capacities. Also, agriculture, which represented 50 per cent of Africa’s exports and 21 per cent of its GDP, was vulnerable to climate change. A projected 50 per cent drop in rain-fed agriculture could lead to tensions in a majority of African countries and funding was needed for adaptation.
Commitments should be honoured, he said, urging a focus on diversifying instruments for international assistance. The King of Morocco, in his speech at the recent Millennium Development Goal Summit, emphasized that human development was at heart of Morocco’s South-South cooperation. Human development was a thrust of its cooperation with African partners, especially in implementing goals related to drinking water, food security, combating locusts, transport and housing. Further, more than 9,000 foreign students were studying in Morocco. Also, Morocco had decided to open its markets to exports of least developed countries free of customs and excise duties. Morocco also had forgiven bilateral debt on several occasions.
MAMADOU NDIAYE, Director of the Cabinet, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Senegal said NEPAD, which was based on an African culture of development, offered a new approach for Africa’s relationship with the world. That partnership involved Africa - which took prime responsibility for its development - and the international community, which could help the continent free itself from the trap of underdevelopment. For its part, Africa had made progress on many fronts, notably in eliminating hotspots and addressing issues related to democracy, human rights and promotion of women’s rights. In many areas, however, the picture was sombre, aggravated by recent crises that had kept Africa mired in hardship in its search for development. Of grave concern was poverty, which impacted some two-fifths of Africa’s population, and malaria, which caused nine of 10 deaths on the continent.
To those obstacles was added the familiar litany of ills, he said, citing famine, unemployment, agricultural subsidies, unbearable debt burdens and abrupt fluctuations of oil prices among them. By respecting promises, the international community could help Africa. African infrastructure needs would cost $95 billion annually, and African countries would be able to provide only $45 billion, showing that the results of partnerships took time to rise to the level of stated ambitions. He hailed Secretary-General’s recommendations for Africa to strengthen regional economic communities and the APRM, as well as increase agriculture public spending to 10 per cent, in line with the Maputo Declaration.
He also welcomed return of Guinea-Bissau to constitutional order and the democratization in Guinea, to which he pledged unswerving support as it prepared for a second round of presidential elections. He was pleased at upcoming elections in Côte d’Ivoire, confident that the country would show its ability to “outdo itself” in its commitment to peace. He expressed the same desire for peace in Niger, Somalia and Sudan.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said the search for solutions to ensure sustainable development in Africa was one of the key challenges taken up at the Millennium Development Goal review in September, underscoring serious delays in implementing Goals related to child mortality, health and sanitation. Among the challenges to achieving the Goals was the implementation of NEAPD, an instrument that reflected Africa’s desire to determine its future by taking main responsibility for, among other things, combating corruption and using funds effectively for development.
An important role fell to the United Nations and while he was pleased to note progress, resource mobilization, however, was a problem. Assistance did not match commitments made. For its part, the Russian Federation had written off some $20 billion in debt. Exchange opportunities were being provided, as seen in “debt for aid” efforts underway with Ethiopia and several other nations. His Government had contributed $50 million to a programme that supported developing nations, including those in the sub-Saharan region, to overcome the financial crisis, while other regional countries were receiving targeted assistance. The Russian Federation’s financial participation continued in G-8 and World Bank programmes, among others, dealing with health, education and overcoming poverty.
Further, exports from least developed countries were not assessed custom import tariffs, he explained, and 4,500 Africans were studying in Russian institutions. Socio-economic progress also could be promoted through partnership with Russian companies, notably related to oil and gas, mineral deposits and high-technology astrophysics. His Government also attached significance to achieving goals in the Decade to Roll Back Malaria and had set aside $4 million for a World Bank programme in that context. Citing progress, he said international efforts meant that in Zambia, malaria was no longer the main reason for infant mortality. The Russian Federation planned to contribute $60 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, brining its total support to $310 million. In closing, he said his country valued its multifaceted ties with Africa, recently confirmed by the President who emphasized the diversification of cooperation.
RICK BARTON (United States) said that through the Global Health Initiative and its contributions to the Global Fund, the United States would continue to lead in the fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis by focusing on health systems and meeting challenges, including child and maternal health. President Obama’s Malaria Initiative, a core part of the Global Health Initiative, aimed to achieve Africa-wide impact by reducing malaria’s burden on at-risk populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2005, that initiative had helped scale-up malaria prevention and treatment measures across 15 countries by funding the purchase of more than 57 million life-saving anti-malarial treatments. In 2009 alone, the initiative reached 50 million people with preventive measures or lifesaving drugs. Many of those countries were now reporting significant reductions in under-five mortality, amid strong evidence that those efforts had been a major factor in those reductions.
In the last year, the United States increased its aid to Africa by 9 per cent to $7.5 billion, he said. The focus must be on results. The United Nations had an important role to play in helping Africa achieve the Millennium Goals, with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), among others, helping to build institutions to bring about stability and democratic governance. While the United States welcomed efforts to improve monitoring mechanisms for Africa’s development, and their focus on results, he urged ensuring there was true value-added among new and existing mechanisms. A key for Africa to meet the Goals was to create conditions for sustained and broad-based economic growth so countries could break the cycle of dependence. He supported NEPAD efforts to ensure good governance and transparency, and to enhance regional and national level infrastructure food security.
The United States was working to enhance Africa’s private sector and, since 1999, had provided $12 billion in trade capacity assistance, he continued. Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, trade in the first half of 2010 totalled $33.1 billion, up 57 per cent from the same 2009 period. He went on to state that the number of African States in armed conflict had dropped dramatically, from 14 in the late 1990s to four today, but more must be done to sustain peace. State institutions must be strengthened and regional cooperation deepened. Peacekeeping must evolve into peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery must be the basis for long-term sustainable development. Africa’s economic development was the only way to achieve the Goals. The United States was deeply committed to being a constructive force in advancing progress on those and other important issues.
GHAZI JOMAA ( Tunisia) said NEPAD had been an “engine” for Africa, giving the continent voice in choosing its socio-economic policies. He welcomed the Partnership’s integration into African Union structures, saying that the NEPAD secretariat now was working as a technical body of the African Union. Indeed, Africa had made progress on several fronts, with the Secretary-General’s report noting implementation of the integrated agriculture programme for Africa in that regard. Amid global uncertainty, implementation of NEPAD and the Millennium Development Goals required “flawless leadership” on the continent and development partners to ensure objectives were met.
In that context, he reiterated the need for an oversight body, under the Assembly’s auspices, to follow up on all commitments. Underscoring the importance of addressing the deep-seeded causes of conflict, he said youth unemployment was a serious threat for African countries and the world. A recurrent phenomenon, it had taken on alarming proportions: 21 per cent of youth aged 15 to 24 were unemployed in sub-Saharan Africa; in North Africa that percentage was 25.6. The international community must help create conditions for young people to participate in Africa’s socio-economic development. For their part, development partners must redouble efforts to help Africa resolve the causes of tension: unemployment, food insecurity, a lack of water and desertification among them.
He also pointed to the need for debt relief, increased FDI and ODA, and encouragement of technology transfer. As for malaria, he said the disease had caused tremendous losses in GDP. Mindful of its devastating impacts, and that Tunisia was a developing nations, he called for organizing a Fund to rebuild resources to tackle that issue. Recalling the need for cooperation with African countries, he said Tunisia was resolved to helping create conditions for peace and sustainable development.
TOMMO MONTHE ( Cameroon) agreed that in an uncertain global recovery, implementation of NEPAD and the Millennium Goals required “unfailing leadership” from African countries and development partners alike. The African Development Bank and the UN-ECA were carrying out projects for NEPAD’s implementation. In February, the African Union had approved NEPAD’s integration into the Union’s structures, setting up the NEPAD Programming and Coordinating Agency. Efforts were underway to implement it in sectors identified by the Secretary-General’s Steering Group, including education, health, commerce, infrastructure and statistical systems.
Despite such progress, more must be done in the areas of official development assistance, debt relief and trade, he said. Africa would attain $12 billion of the $15 billion increase envisioned at Gleneagles, due to lower-than-expected contributions. On 1 July 2010, 23 African nations, including Cameroon, benefited from debt relief. As for FDI, it had dropped by more than 36 per cent in 2009, while Doha Development Round trade negotiations had progressed little on ending agricultural export subsidies. Such gaps undermined NEPAD’s implementation, but he expressed hope that the Secretary-General’s recommendations would be followed up by action. Similarly, the capacity of regional economic communities must be strengthened and agriculture given a priority focus. Greater support was needed for women, given their large role in agriculture.
Turning to the Assembly’s recent review of the Millennium Development Goals, he said a repetition of commitments revealed their increasingly uncertain nature. Africa suffered also from pandemics such as malaria. In the last 10 years, efforts to control that disease had enjoyed international financial aid and the Secretary-General had appointed a special envoy for malaria. Further, actors involved in fighting the disease had drawn up a global action plan. Paragraphs 17 through 26, 51 through 54 and 66 to 77 of the Secretary-General’s report had attracted Cameroon’s attention. In that context, he underscored the need to distribute more mosquito nets and diagnostic tests, as well as increase focus on external assistance and more respect for regulation for medicines on the market. Finally, an action plan must be developed to measure progress made in implementing commitments to Africa.
BUKUN-OLU ONEMOLA ( Nigeria) noted that the economic and development challenges facing Africa were unique. Therefore, the approaches used to resolve them must take into consideration both the local circumstances and the utilization of subregional, regional and international roles to development in charting a new path for the continent. Efforts towards attaining the targets for each of the nine areas identified by NEPAD called for African countries to build on existing progress and identify with the Partnership’s operational blueprint. In that regard, he noted that past development failures were mainly due to haphazard implementation, and not lack of framework.
Nigeria commended Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its various commitments, culminating in the signing of the first regional agriculture compact, and he expressed hope that such positive steps would be replicated in other sub-regions and in the larger African continent. A focus by international partnerships on human capacity building would prevent a culture of dependency in Africa, but would also require the support of the United Nations to help attain the ten-year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union, which would boost Africa’s ability to mobilize, manage and sustain economic development. Further, his delegation welcomed the G-8’s stance on its ODA commitments, in particular, the Muskoka Initiative on child mortality and maternal health.
While NEPAD would create opportunities for Africa to “fast-track” its Millennium Goals, he called on Member States to adopt a “complementary hands-on approach” that would lead to the fulfilment of NEPAD’s purposes. Furthermore, he noted the link between durable peace and sustainable development, and called for the continued use of the continent’s Early Warning System, which aimed to prevent conflicts that impeded progress in Africa. Turning to the health burden still posed by malaria on the people of Africa, he said that despite improvements in curbing the disease, the goals of the Roll Back Malaria Decade had not been realized, and the disease remained a barrier to economic and social development in the continent. In that effort, he called for additional international donors and partners to complement existing partnerships and resources. In closing, he said while Africa’s challenges seemed daunting, they were not insurmountable, and therefore, called for the urgent redemption of the various promises of aid to the continent.
JOHN MCNEE ( Canada) said Africa was a country rich in cultures, diversity and history. Many African countries had made important progress in recent years, and significant parts of the continent were moving in the right direction. There were more free and fair elections, more prudent economic management, more reform-minded and democratic leadership. One of the most significant developments was the maturation of African institutions that were promoting regional integration and security. Africa continued to face major health, education, agricultural, environmental, peace and security challenges.
However, much remained to be done and Canada would do its part to help Africa achieve the Millennium Development Goals. He noted that Canada had met its G-8 commitment to double aid to Africa from 2003-2004 levels to $2.1 billion. Canada reaffirmed its commitment to double international assistance from 2001-2002 levels. This would bring Canada’s total international assistance to approximately $5 billion. As President of the G-8 and G-20 for 2010, Canada ensured that Africa’s voice was heard in these processes. In addition, G-8 leaders had a substantive discussion with African leaders at the Muskoka Summit on peace and security and development issues. Canada had invited the leaders of Malawi (as chair of the African Union), and Ethiopia to the G-20 Toronto Summit to help ensure a stronger voice for Africa. Private sector expansion was an important component of overall development, and thus Canada was a significant economic partner for Africa.
Canada had long been engaged with African counterparts in finding durable solutions to protracted conflicts across the continent, both through direct bilateral contacts and through engagement in support for continental and regional African institutions. He said that in Sudan, the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis continued to be of concern. Delays in the preparation for the two referendums mandated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on the future status of Southern Sudan and the Abyei region were reaching a critical stage. Since 2006, Canada had contributed over $800 million in support of peace and humanitarian objectives in Sudan. In addition, it was actively involved in efforts to bring stability and humanitarian assistance to Somalia. In conclusion, Africa achieved much success over the past few years, and was an area of great promise and potential. Through coordinated African-led commitments and partnerships, this potential must be realized.
SHIGEKI SUMI ( Japan), recalling the 2008 Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), said his country had “heard the voices of African leaders” and had taken action. Japan would, among other things, double its ODA to Africa, provide up to $4 billion in soft loans and work to double Japanese private investment in Africa over five years. In order to keep to such commitments, the Japanese Government instituted a TICAD Follow-Up Mechanism for monitoring the Yokohama Action Plan. In 2010, during the second TICAD Ministerial Meeting, in United Republic of Tanzania, Japan had pledged to expand its Millennium Goals-related assistance by approximately $1 billion beginning in 2010 and extending to the next TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting. Furthermore, a commitment was made to enhance the use of ODA loans for infrastructure projects in the amount of $2 billion over two years.
Regarding the ODA to Africa, he described some of the projects and sectors covered, including, among others, agriculture, trade, health, education, water, good governance and climate change. To address the critical issue of food security the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD), in partnership with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) toward increased production of that staple. Japan had, through two trust funds, entrusted $100 million to the World Bank for rice production organizations and the Coalition. To date, 23 African countries had benefited from those efforts.
Turning to malaria and related issues, he recalled that at the Assembly’s recent High-Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, Prime Minister Kan had announced Japan’s commitment – to commence in 2011 and continue for five years- to assist in areas of health where progress had been slow. The model, “EMBRACE” - “Ensure Mothers and Babies Regular Access to Care” - would integrate malaria prevention and control as an essential part of this programme’s implementation. He commended the Global Fund for saving some 5.7 million people’s lives, many through the provision of 122 million nets, including one developed by a Japanese company. His Government also pledged a contribution of $800 million to the Fund, also commending in 2011. All those actions, among others, demonstrated Japan’s long-term commitments and contributions to the development of Africa as a “continent of hope and opportunity.”
DANIEL ANTONIO ( Mozambique) said the “Roll Back Malaria” campaign had succeeded because it had given the disease high priority on the international health agenda and had mobilized the much needed political, educational and financial support for efforts to control, eliminate and invest in research to eradicate the disease. The initiative had brought in a pledged financial support of $1 billion a year in grants and loans. Four central features had distinguished the campaign from prior attempts to eradicate malaria: an emphasis on control rather than eradication; a focus on sub-Sahara Africa, a major risk area; a global partnership between development agencies, banks, private sector, non-governmental organizations, foundations and researchers; and a horizontal approach that promoted the strengthening of local capacities and health systems.
He said there was a pressing need for information about the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of interventions to guide policy-makers and keep the momentum going towards universal coverage. Documenting lessons learned and practices for scaling up national interventions had added value to efforts aimed at improving access and reaching targets.
He said malaria accounted for a high percentage of his country’s disease burden, with 99 per cent of the population living in malaria-prone areas and a high incidence of natural disasters that could increase malaria transmission. By using a combination of control methods aimed at vector control and disaster preparedness and response, Mozambique had reduced its malaria burden by more than 75 percent since 2006 and had reduced the death rate by 40 percent in the same period. The approach had been extended to include the Southern Africa region since malaria did not recognize national boundaries.
DAFFA-ALLA ELHAG ALI OSMAN ( Sudan), associating with the Group of 77 developing countries and China, and the African Group, said NEPAD expressed African countries’ determination to take control of their own development. However, Africa faced difficulties in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which underscored the need for follow through on development obligations. Also, meeting Africa’s needs required enhancing the global partnership for development. The role of regional organizations was also important for achieving sustainable peace, especially in post-conflict States. In that context, he called for building the capacity of African peacekeeping forces and supporting the African Union’s NEPAD programmes. Further, there was a need to expand the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative, as well as the Multilateral Debt Alleviation Initiative.
For its part, Sudan’s arrangements related to natural resources were among the elements of its peace agreements, he said. Sudan’s participation in the APRM had paved the way for government bodies to implement that mechanism with interested parties from civil society and private sector. Turning to malaria, he said 3.3 billion people had been affected by the disease, which had caused almost 1 million deaths in 2008 alone. The infection rate had reached over 7 million a year, with the negative impacts of climate change only increasing that rate. To tackle the problem, Sudan had created a specialized unit to combat malaria, which focused on intensifying monitoring of the disease. Multiple crises had limited progress in implementing NEPAD and combating malaria, as well threatened the attainment of the Goals by 2015. Clear leadership was needed by both development partners and African countries, especially vis-à-vis the international trade system and official development assistance.
MUYAMBO SIPANGULE ( Zambia) said that, as chair of the Board for the Roll Back Malaria initiative, his delegation would stress that despite the elimination of malaria in some countries, the disease still remained a major public health concern in others. The burden of malaria, he noted, was highest among the children under the age of five, pregnant women and the most vulnerable in many regions. In addition to its direct health impact, malaria caused a severe social and economic burden on individuals, households and indeed, communities at large. Thus, in Zambia, malaria control was made a priority in the basic healthcare package, the National Health Strategic Plans and the National Malaria Strategic Plan. The Zambian Government strongly believed that every citizen had a fundamental right to access effective malaria control, preventative and curative care that could be delivered as close to the home as possible.
In that regard, the Zambian Government had put in place prevention interventions, among them, the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), long lasting insecticide treated nets and treatment for pregnant women. The curative interventions relied on case management, whose primary focus was on care for those free from malaria. In 2004, Zambia revised its first line malaria treatment policy to a more effective drug, Artemisinin Lumefantrine, which was available free of charge in all public health facilities throughout the country, which resulted in a dramatic reduction of malaria cases.
To that end, he noted that the WHO’s report on the Roll Back Malaria programme estimated that in the last decade, the use of bed nets had reduced malaria cases in come countries by 50 percent. Despite the positive trend, he said Zambia remained committed to cooperating with partners to further reduce the disease. He cited late disbursement of committed funds by cooperating partners, low utilization rates of insecticide treated nets and inadequate human resources as challenges that Zambia still faced in its fight against malaria, despite the great progress it had made toward reducing the disease. Therefore, he called upon the international community to continue its assistance to Zambia in its efforts toward fighting malaria.
SHIN BOO NAM ( Republic of Korea) noted that Africa’s development was key to the promotion of peace and prosperity in the world. However, slow and uneven progress in Africa toward the achievement of its Millennium Goals required greater attention from the international community, in particular, an increase in ODA to help meet its development needs. In that regard, the Republic of Korea would honour its commitment to double its 2008 ODA to Africa by 2012. Stressing that there was no “one-size-fits-all” model for development, he emphasized that development cooperation should start by identifying the specific needs and conditions of the various African countries.
To that end, The Republic of Korea strived to gain a deeper understanding of Africa’s specific demands and priorities, and a means to meet those needs through additional dialogue channels. For example, the Korea-Africa Forum and Korea—Africa Economic Cooperation Conference had served as useful opportunities to enhance a mutually beneficial partnership in sectors such as education, agricultural and rural development and information and communications technology , he said.
He went on to say that as a country that in recent history had successfully transformed itself from a recipient to a donor country, The Republic of Korea focused on sharing its development experiences. In that regard, the Korean Government delivered on its commitment to increase the number of trainees from Africa to 5,000, in addition to 1,000 World Friends Korea volunteers to African partner countries for the period of 2009 to 2012, in effort to bolster Africa’s economic and social development. Regarding the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria, Republic of Korea, a pioneer in innovative financing for development, he said, allocated revenue through UNITAID and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). In closing, he reaffirmed The Republic of Korea’s commitment to its partnership with Africa.
ELIAS MELAKU FELEKE ( Ethiopia) noted that while Africa’s economic growth and governance were slowly changing the perceptions of the continent, the impact of violent conflicts and poverty there should not be underestimated. Regarding NEPAD, he said progress had been made in moving forward the APRM and increasing ODA to Africa. The international community had committed to promote NEPAD’s vision as an integrated socio-economic development framework, however, much remained to be done if Africa were to extricate itself from its problems and assume its rightful place in the international community, he said.
Two years ago, he recalled, the international community noted that Africa’s international trade was only 2 per cent, and underlined the important role of trade in promoting economic growth. Emphasizing the need to bolster Africa’s global partnerships, he called on the international community to include relevant trade relations and market initiatives in World Trade Organization agreements. Turning to malaria, Ethiopia’s deadliest disease, he said that despite great efforts to eradicate it, malaria remained the major cause of morbidity, mortality and illness in Africa. It affected the most productive parts of society and impeded socio-economic development. In Ethiopia, approximately 68 per cent of the population lived in malaria-prone areas, and 75 per cent of the country’s land mass was malaria infested. To that end, malaria prevention remained a priority; the 2006 to 2010 National Strategic Plan was among the intervention programmes that would help reduce malaria by 50 per cent.
To date, Ethiopia had taken great steps in reducing malaria, among them, the free distribution of 20 million insecticide-treated bed nets, long-lasting insecticide nets, rapid diagnostic tests, and Artemisinin-based combination therapies at health facilities. In addition, epidemic preparedness plans were implemented and 30,000 health extension workers were deployed at the community level. As a result, deaths had fallen 35 per cent since 1990 and outpatient cases of malaria and deaths among children had dramatically declined. Recently, Ethiopia was successful in its application for a five-year Global Fund Round. In closing, he emphasized the importance of global partnerships, and called on the international community to help build and sustain Ethiopia’s progress and efforts toward the prevention and treatment of malaria.
TOUFIC JABER ( Lebanon) aligned his delegations statement with that made earlier on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, notably the Group’s support for the creation of a monitoring mechanism to follow up on all commitments related to Africa’s development. Today’s meeting followed the Afro-Arab Summit, held in Sirte, Libya, last week, which had formulated a partnership strategy between the African and Arab regions on issues including peace and security, promotion of trade and investment, and agriculture, among others. The strategy was an example of international support inspired by NEPAD, which had seen significant progress in areas including infrastructure, agriculture, health and education. Lebanon enjoyed long-standing close ties with Africa and supported the strategy’s aims to realize durable peace and security in both regions and foster efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Closing the gap in attaining the Goals would be possible only with more international support for Africa’s development, he said, highlighting the importance of fulfilling ODA pledges, relieving debt, increasing FDI and expanding access for African exports in global markets. Still, countries could not flourish if conflict persisted, and he welcomed concrete commitments of the African Union to ensure stability, as seen in its expanded engagement in Somalia and ongoing presence in Sudan. That commitment had been enhanced by the work of the Panel of the Wise and the continental early warning system. Among the challenges ahead, he said, conflicts over natural resources, as well as desertification and frequent droughts continued to stifle Africa’s potential. He urged particular attention be given by peacekeeping missions to the protection of civilians, especially women and children. He also welcomed the launch of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.
JUSTIN N. SERUHERE (United Republic of Tanzania) aligning with the African Group, as well as the Group of 77 developing countries and China, acknowledged progress made by the island of Zanzibar in reversing the malaria epidemic and called for international engagement to further solidify such gains. Among the biggest health challenges, malaria was responsible for 24 per cent of all deaths of African children under 5 years old. It accounted for 30 to 40 per cent of outpatient visits and 10 to 15 per cent of all disease admissions in hospitals, private clinics and health-care systems continent-wide. It cost the continent $12 billion annually, slowing economic growth by up to 1.3 per cent a year. Such statistics were a great concern, especially as deaths worldwide could be reduced with political commitment, commensurate resources and more public awareness about malaria prevention.
In the area of malaria control, the Global Malaria Action Plan had been developed, and it aimed to speed and sustain malaria control efforts, eliminate the disease where possible and ensure investment in research that would create ways to eradicate the disease. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health, he urged States to render support for its implementation. He also emphasized the importance of national ownership and global partnerships in meeting the Millennium Development Goals, saying one such partnership that had seen success is the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, chaired by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, which aimed to ensure the 2010 targets of universal coverage of malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment were reached.
FRANCIS CHULLIKATT, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, emphasized that addressing the special needs of Africa required partnerships from all aspects of society. As the NEPAD programme rightly pointed out, the health and well-being of Africans would help reduce poverty and increase sustainable development. Progress seen in the last decade was due in part to considerable commitment at international, regional and country levels. Welcoming the creation of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, he recalled that malaria took the lives of nearly 1 million people each year, almost 90 per cent of whom lived in Africa. About 3.3 billion people globally were at risk.
Malaria’s most devastating affects were seen in children under five, who, if they survived a malaria episode, suffered learning impairment or brain damage. It went without saying that the focus must remain on treatment, prevention and research. Appropriate treatment should be accessible, affordable and, where necessary, free. Recalling the Abuja Declaration, which had called for the creation of mechanisms to facilitate the provision of reliable malaria information to decision-makers, he said resources must be allocated to research into cost-effective vaccines. For their part, Catholic organizations provided resources and technical skills to assist those affected by malaria but also fostered development throughout Africa.
MARWAN JILANI, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said countries such as Eritrea, Rwanda, Zambia, the United Republic of Tanzania and Sao Tome and Principe, had achieved high coverage of their populations with mosquito nets, as well as improved access to diagnostics and treatment, proving that enormous progress could be made in the fight against malaria. Programmes to combat the disease implemented by National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies focused on increasing net ownership and ensuring distribution were accompanied by extensive community education. Since 2002, the organization’s net distributions had averted more than 300,000 malaria deaths while protecting 18.2 million people against the disease.
A recent pilot project in Kenya showed that an approach using community workers to treat malaria achieved results through providing free, effective medicines to the trained local volunteers, even in remote areas, he said. Therefore, the IFRC believed the formula to beat malaria would come through empowering communities to comprehensively respond to the disease. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies would step up efforts, developing more campaigns to hang up nets and covering more affected countries, while teaming up with partners to accelerate delivery of nets to all malaria-endemic areas.
SANDII LWIN, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said that when world leaders had come together to sign the Millennium Declaration, dying from a mosquito bite was a reality in large swaths of Africa. Yet a decade later, one area of development that inspired hope was the progress made in fighting malaria. If countries continued to scale up efforts and improve even further, malaria could soon be eliminated as a public health problem. To date, the Global Fund had committed more than $5 billion in 82 countries, with resources earmarked for, among other things, universal coverage of insecticide treated mosquito nets. Available funds would enable the purchase of an estimated 250 million bed nets, a significant step forward to addressing the most vulnerable populations. Global Fund grants had supported indoor residual spraying of insecticides more than 19 million times and treated 108 million malaria cases, in line with national treatment guidelines.
Financing had impacted malaria morbidity and mortality worldwide, she said, with an increasing number of countries reporting reductions of more than 50 per cent in malaria deaths. Hospital beds were being freed, children were staying in school and women were delivering healthier babies, a reminder of the linkages among the Millennium Goals. Such progress was due in part to better leadership in malaria affected countries and more support from the WHO. However, in no other area of development had there been so direct a correlation between resources and the impact of fighting malaria at the country level. Public and private donors had committed $11.7 billion to the Fund for the 2011-2013 period, the largest ever to fight the three pandemics. At a time when so many Governments were tightening their belts, such pledges sent a powerful message about what was needed to foster sustainable development. Pressure must be maintained by ensuring the availability of drugs and supporting effective malaria interventions.
* *** *For information media • not an official record