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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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Opening Remarks at the Joint Debate: New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Progress in Implementation and International Support [63 (a) and (b)]; 2001-2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa [47]

New York, 20 October 2009

Excellencies,

This important debate is a clear demonstration of the special place accorded to Africa in the work of the General Assembly, an agenda which spans from matters related to peace and security to social and economic development.    

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), established in 2001, provided a new dynamism and vision to the African agenda for peace and development. It signified Africa’s willingness, capacity, and determination to assume full control of its destiny. The entire international community has welcomed NEPAD as an African-owned and African-driven, political, economic, and social development blueprint for the continent’s future. The African Peer Review Mechanism has been widely acclaimed as a positive and innovative approach to the promotion of good governance. Thirty African countries have acceded to this mechanism, of which 12 have been peer-reviewed.

In September last year, the high level plenary meeting of the General Assembly adopted a declaration which not only recalled its full commitment to achieve Africa’s development needs but also required a mechanism to ensure that Member States continue addressing those challenges, taking into account that a stronger Africa required as well a stronger United Nations System.

It is necessary to strengthen the engagement and to consider the best ways to advance NEPAD, the continental comprehensive programme based on the consolidation of democracy and good governance through the implementation of eight priority areas of work namely Infrastructure, Political, Economic & Corporate Governance; Agriculture; Education; Health; Science & Technology; Market Access and Tourism; and Environment.

Particular attention to Africa is vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including those set out in the Millennium Declaration. This is essential to put the Continent back firmly on the world’s development agenda and on the path to irreversible and sustainable development.

It is encouraging that there has been progress in implementing the various components of the updated NEPAD infrastructure programme, namely the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), with focus on the energy, transport, water and sanitation, and ICT. On the environment front, African Ministers of Environment have adopted a common platform for the global climate change negotiations leading to Copenhagen in December 2009.

Good progress has also been achieved in the preparatory phase of the Climate for Development in Africa programme led by the African Union Commission in collaboration with the Economic Commission for African and the African Development Bank, including the establishment of an Africa Climate Policy Center as the policy arm of the programme.

I welcome the efforts undertaken in pursuance of the African Leader’s initiative called Malaria Alliance, to protect all those at risk from malaria with life-saving interventions by the end of 2010. It is extremely unfortunate and unacceptable that Malaria kills almost one million Africans every year and affects over 200 million more, mostly pregnant women and children under five years of age.  

The international community must provide enhanced support for the agenda proposed by NEPAD in order to face poverty, disease, the food crisis, climate change, and the financial and economic crisis which have undermined Africa’s efforts to achieve the development goals, specially the Millennium Development Goals. These crises threaten the livelihoods, well-being and development opportunities of millions of people, exacerbate political and social tensions and hamper the capacity of States to deliver basic services to their citizens.

With a sense of urgency and backed by concrete actions, it is fundamental to create an environment conducive to investment and long-term economic growth in Africa.

Africa’s efforts must be complemented with substantial commitment from the international community, a better understanding of the special needs of Africa, and greater coherence in policies and programmes. The international community must redouble its efforts to ensure full, effective and timely implementation of the commitments made for Africa’s development. I believe the September 2010 high level meeting will be an important occasion to review and re-energize the pursuit of the development objectives, including particularly in Africa, and I would therefore encourage all Member States to work for its success. And I hope that this debate would provide useful input and insight for that process.

Thank you.

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