Opening remarks as a Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee of the
Whole for the Final Review and Appraisal of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990's
by Mr. Jan Kavan, President of the 57th Session of the General Assembly
25 September, 2002

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we will start our discussion on a very important topic that was given a high priority for the 57th Session of the General Assembly - development in Africa.

One week ago we participated in the high-level plenary meeting on how the United Nations system may contribute to and support the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). With over 80 speakers addressing the General Assembly, we have heard many views and concerns. Several questions and issues which were mentioned, still need to be resolved. For me personally, our deliberations of 16 September, including the informal panel of 5 distinguished panelists from countries that initiated NEPAD, was an invaluable experience, and a source of reflection on the difficult issues the African continent is facing.

During this meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee we will be sharing our views on the Report of the Secretary-General on the Independent Evaluation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development in Africa in the 1990's (UN-NADAF). The report of the Secretary-General on the evaluation of UN-NADAF highlights some of the key lessons from the New Agenda. The first of these emphasizes the need for both the African countries and the international community to honour their respective commitments. The report also illustrates that more vigorous approach and actions will need to be pursued, both by African countries and the international community, for the successful implementation of NEPAD.

We have also just heard a summary of the panel discussion that took place yesterday and dealt with the Independent evaluation of the implentation of the UN-NADAF by the 12-member Eminent Personalities commission appointed by the Secretary-General.

Both reports focused their attention on the lessons that may and should be learned from 10 years of implementation of UN-NADAF. Many of the original objectives had not been attained. Problems that were identified during the implementation of UN-NADAF, in spite of many corrective measures taken, remained unresolved. Now, with the emerging NEPAD initiative, special attention should be given to ways and means to incorporate those lessons into the future policies and actions.

Our previous deliberations underscored the unique role of the United Nations system in terms of strengthened advocacy for Africa's development, ensuring that Africa remains high on the global agenda, promoting peace and development on the continent, as well as mobilizing support and resources for the implementation of NEPAD priorities. Priorities that include poverty reduction, development of human resources, and meeting the Millennium Development Goals in a sustainable way.

While ensuring African ownership of their development efforts and processes, enhanced coordination and collaboration among the United Nations agencies working in Africa as well as the need to harmonize bilateral and United Nations activities at the national level, must be further strengthened.

We cannot neglect the lessons learned from the UN-NADAF. They are a very important input in ensuring the success of the New Partnership for Africa's Development initiative and formulating the international community's approach to tackle the complicated issues of the African continent.

Thank you.

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