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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
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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 outcomes.

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 'Africa's 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