HIS EXCELLENCY DR.
JOAO BERTNARDO DE MIRANDA
at the World Summit for Sustainable Development
YOUR EXCELLENCY MR. THABO MBEKI, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
YOUR EXCELLENCY MR. KOFI ANNAN, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
Allow me to begin by congratulating you Mr. President, in the name of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and the Government of the Republic of Angola, on your election to the Presidency of this World Summit.
I equally salute the President of the preparatory committee Mr. Emil Salim, who conducted in a wise and efficient way the negotiation process whose compromises this magnanimous event is going to adopt, and that already translate the success of our work.
The holding of this summit on African soil, in the beautiful city of Johannesburg, is a testimony to the importance that the countries of the continent ascribe to the matter of sustainable development, particularly at the time when its three components, namely the economical development, the social development and the protection of the environment, still are very far from reaching satisfactory levels.
With effect, Africa continues to be the poorest region of the world, in spite of the enormous natural resources at its disposal, registering accentuated distortions, namely high levels of poverty; low levels of agricultural production which contribute to the low quality of life of the rural population; high rates of illiteracy; inefficient access to drinking water and basic sanitation, on top of being the zone of the planet mostly affected by epidemics, sicknesses and natural calamities that are the basis of the high rates of mortality.
While this picture persists, it will be impossible for the African continent to partake, on the same equal footing, with other regions in the sustainable development process and benefit in a more just and equal form, from the scientific and technological advances of humanity, which necessarily means the transfer of technology and assistance in the implementation of the projects.
These projects should fall upon the eradication of poverty and other social ills that affect the continent's population; for the alteration of the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption; and for the protection of the rational management of the basic natural resources of the economic and social development
In this sense, it is of fundamental importance the reinforcement of the international co-operation and imperative the establishment of copartnerships between the industrialised and developing countries and between these and the economic and financial groups.
The African Governments, through NEPAD, already gave a very important step within the framework of international co-operation, with the view of overtaking the asymmetries in their development It is now for the industrial countries and international financial institutions, through concrete actions and in the basis of just and nondiscriminatory criteria, to demonstrate that they are in fact engaged and involved with the progress of the continent
Angola defends that the sustainable development cannot be confined only to the sphere of responsibility of governments, it, must be understood as a process of ample and active participation of the population and local communities, specially with regard to the definition of goals and priorities of the policies of development
My Government is giving important steps in this regard, through the implementation of a program of macro-economic reforms, whose fundamental objective is he stabilisation of the economy and the relief of poverty and the creation of jobs and the lifting, in a brief future, of the level and quality of life of the population.
With regard to the protection of the environment, Angola has given significant steps along the last decade, having approved legislation destined to rationalise the utility and management of its natural resources, in particular the mines, fishing resources and oil industry. Presently my Government is proceeding with a ample popular consultation regarding a new Land Law Project, Statutes of the Territory and Agricultural Development.
Other efforts in this field include the elaboration of a National Environmental and Conservation of the Bio-Diversity Strategy Management Program, over and above to the Education and Environmental Consciousness, which took place in copartnership with the civil society.
Finally, I would like to reiterate the support of Angola to the plan of action and political declaration to be today approved, in the hope that same will be the fundamental instrument for the resolution of many of the problems that mainly affect the developing countries.