African PrepCom Looks for Action to Promote Sustainable Development
Nairobi, 18 October 2001 Next year's World Summit on Sustainable
Development must lead to definitive and tangible results, including more
resources to finance sustainable development, according to an African
ministerial-level meeting to prepare for the Summit.
For a continent where life expectancy is falling in many places, and where
literacy rates and access to health care remain low, the meeting's
participants, which included members of African civil society, agreed that they
were committed to a partnership for the implementation of the Summit's
Regional preparatory meetings for the Summit, which will take place in
Johannesburg, South Africa next September, have also been held for the Europe
and North America, Latin America and the Caribbean and West Asia regions, and
one for Asia and the Pacific is scheduled for late November.
The Ministerial Statement for the regional meeting that was adopted in Nairobi
strongly endorsed the New African Initiative, which has received international
support, as the framework for sustainable development in Africa. The
initiative, which is based on a pledge by African leaders to deal affirmatively
with poverty eradication, is "anchored in a determination of Africans to
extricate themselves and the continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and
exclusion in a globalizing world."
Sekou Toure, Director of the UN Environment Programme's Regional Office for
Africa, said, "The positive outcome of this conference is a major
achievement which indicates the continent's readiness to play a constructive
role during next year's Summit in South Africa and to make this new century
Emphasizing efforts aimed at reducing the pervasive poverty on the continent,
the African countries called for removing obstacles to development on the
international level, such as debt, barriers that bar exports from developing
countries, and an end to conditionalities attached to loans by the World Bank
or International Monetary Fund. At the domestic level, they called for
promoting industrial growth through small and medium sized enterprises,
micro-credit financing, agricultural development, and greater access to energy,
water and sanitation
To ensure food security, the PrepCom underscored the need to double African
agricultural production within five years, but cautioned that the continent
should not become a "dumping ground" for subsidized food products
from developed countries or for genetically modified foods.
The Ministerial Statement called on next year's Summit to agree on a
"Johannesburg Vision," which would reflect a global consensus on the
eradication of poverty and global inequality. "The World Summit on
Sustainable Development provides a unique platform for the realization of this
vision and must adopt a results-oriented Johannesburg Programme of Action with
clear timeframes and specific targets."
In urging that the Summit should be used as an opportunity to reinvigorate
action to promote sustainable development, the African ministers proposed that
the Summit adopt, as a theme, "People, planet, prosperity."
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24 August 2006