GENERAL ASSEMBLY WELCOMES NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT AS SERIOUS COMMITMENT TO ADDRESSING CONTINENT’S ASPIRATIONS
GENERAL ASSEMBLY WELCOMES NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT AS SERIOUS COMMITMENT TO ADDRESSING CONTINENT’S ASPIRATIONS
Fifty-seventh General Assembly
11th Meeting (PM)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY WELCOMES NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT
AS SERIOUS COMMITMENT TO ADDRESSING CONTINENT’S ASPIRATIONS
Declaration on Development Partnership Adopted Unanimously
The General Assembly this afternoon unanimously adopted the United Nations Declaration on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), by which those participating in today’s high-level meeting welcomed the New Partnership as an African Union-led, owned and managed initiative and a serious commitment to addressing the aspirations of the continent.
That action came following day-long consideration of the final review and appraisal of the implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s and how to support NEPAD. The NEPAD was established by the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the African Union, at its thirty-seventh ordinary session, held in Lusaka, Zambia, from
9 to 11 July 2001.
By the Declaration, participants also welcomed the commitment of African countries to take effective and concrete measures, through the establishment of various institutional mechanisms and the development of strategies for the implementation of NEPAD. That commitment would reflect the recognition that the primary responsibility for the implementation of NEPAD rested with the African governments and peoples.
By the same terms, they affirmed that international support for the implementation of NEPAD was essential and urged the United Nations system and the international community, in particular donor countries, to assist with NEPAD's implementation.
Africa knew poverty, stressed Amara Essy, Interim President of the African Union. The reality that Africa was a rich continent with poor people had led to the creation of NEPAD. Today, NEPAD was the hope of the African Union. Without the success of NEPAD, there could be no success for the African Union. Having learned the lessons of past failures, Africa now knew what needed to be done. It was now necessary to move ahead, and Africa was awaiting the assistance it needed.
South Africa President Thabo Mbeki presented a summary of the informal panel discussion held this afternoon on the theme “The international community’s partnership with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development”. He noted that,
among other things, representatives of the bilateral donor community had reaffirmed the support of their governments to NEPAD’s implementation through committing resources, including debt reduction, increasing official development assistance, and providing market access for African goods and services.
However, he continued, they stressed the need for good governance, accountability, transparency and the rule of law in African countries. They underlined that good governance was critical to attracting investment. They also stressed the need for moving ahead with the implementation of NEPAD and called for broader international partnership in support of that effort. In that regard, the G-8 Action Plan for Africa was cited as an example of the response of the international community to the implementation of NEPAD.
He also introduced the text containing the Declaration adopted today.
Statements were also made by the Government Ministers of Argentina, Libya, Pakistan, Switzerland, Togo, Malawi, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Uganda, Fiji, Indonesia, Russian Federation, Madagascar, Mozambique, Iran, Comoros, Haiti (on behalf of CARICOM), Germany, Sweden, Kenya, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Greece, Japan and Nepal.
The representatives of Australia, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Chile, Cambodia, Thailand, Uruguay, Côte d’Ivoire, Suriname, Venezuela, Mali, Malaysia and Mexico also spoke, as did the President of the Economic and Social Council, the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs of the European Community and the observer of the International Organization of La Francophonie.
The Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 17 September, to continue its general debate.
The General Assembly this afternoon resumed its high-level meeting on support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
CARLOS RUKAUF, Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, said that for centuries African had been integrated into the world economy as a supplier of unskilled labour and raw materials. Colonialism, the postwar bipolar confrontation, the decolonization process, the end of the cold war and globalization had imparted specific dynamics which Africa successively tried to adapt, regrettably failing to obtain the expected development results.
“But we are not here today to blame the past but rather to help to overcome the structural deficiencies which have prevented development in Africa”, he said, noting that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) meant a new vision and awareness by African leaders on regional and international politics and economics.
On peace and security-related issues, he said that Argentina was aware of the efforts being made by the majority of African governments to settle their disputes peacefully, strengthen their democratic institutions, promote human rights and reform their economies. He said that Argentina, which had always been present in Africa, wanted to renew its commitment to the continent. Consistent with the approach which linked peace and security, Argentina had made contributions in peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, good governance, technical cooperation and cooperation for development.
During the last few years, the country had also strengthened its political, cultural and commercial ties with Africa, he said, adding that it was Argentina’s intention to further deepen that mutually beneficial trend towards dialogue and cooperation.
ABDURRAHMAN M. SHALGHEM, Secretary of the General People’s Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation of Libya, said Africa fully realized that the main responsibility for the implementation of NEPAD fell on the shoulders of the peoples of Africa. However, international support remained essential. He urged the United Nations system and the international community to help in achieving the objectives of the partnership through practical and concrete measures in areas such as the mobilization of financial resources. There was also need for assistance through investment in health, education, clean water and infrastructure.
For NEPAD to be a true partnership, he stressed the following. First, respect for the will of the Africans, their history and their culture. Second, donor partners should realize that to the extent they contributed to the financing of NEPAD, they would benefit their own societies materially and socially. Third, priority should be given to projects of infrastructure, especially in the field of communications and the building of roads. Fourth, water projects should be given special importance to make maximum use of all sources of water in Africa.
Fifth, he continued, the elimination of all restrictions on the transfer and assimilation of technology serving development in the economic and social fields. Sixth, consideration should be given to Africa’s long suffering over the previous centuries and the fact that its resources were looted without any compensation. Seventh, it was essential to deal with one of the gravest phenomena in Africa, namely the brain drain which negatively affected the development of human resources.
INAM UL HAQUE, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, applauded the African leadership on its vision for launching Africa on the path of sustainable growth and development through an Africa-led, Africa-owned and Africa-driven integrated framework for development. Many initiatives for developing Africa had been attempted in the past decade, but the overall situation on the African continent had not improved. Poverty, conflict and disease continued to plague Africa, although whenever reforms aimed at macro-economic management, trade liberalization and encouragement of private-sector participation had been sustained and underpinned by civil peace, they had succeeded in raising growth and reducing poverty.
In that context, NEPAD offered hope, he said. It set out a broad vision of Africa’s future and outlined a strategy for achieving that vision. What Africa now needed was a strong helping hand from the international community designed to ensure NEPAD’s success. Many of NEPAD’s central elements corresponded directly to the goal of United Nations programmes in Africa.
The formidable challenges that confronted implementation of NEPAD would be achievable, he said, but Africa needed the assistance of the international community. Meaningful international support should include help in dealing with the underlying political and security causes of instability in Africa, as well as: improved market access for African exports; accelerated and increased debt relief, including complete debt cancellation; enhanced development aid, without conditionalities; conscious efforts to increase the flow of foreign direct investment to African countries; technology transfers to Africa on preferential terms; human resources development, including the two critical sectors of education and health; and a special and focused endeavour to eradicate HIV/AIDS.
JOSEPH DEISS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, said the massive support being given to NEPAD by African countries was its greatest strength. The priority areas identified by NEPAD, particularly the development of human resources, should make it possible to move towards development of the continent. He was pleased that the focus of NEPAD was on partnership, which was essential for the success of development cooperation. He hoped that concrete steps could be soon taken in the areas of peace, security and democracy.
In that regard, he noted, rapid implementation of the Declaration on Democracy and Good Governance was an indispensable factor for creating a conducive economic environment for investors. The Peer Review Mechanism was also crucial. Swiss programmes on the continent focused on poverty reduction and included action in the fields of health, education and training. They also focused on good governance, decentralization and reforms in justice.
Switzerland, he said, had always been strongly on the side of Africa in multilateral institutions. It had long been in favour of reducing the debt of African countries under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. His country was determined to fully support NEPAD within its means. The NEPAD still needed to clarify its role vis-à-vis existing African institutions, and avoid becoming an implementation structure. Switzerland was prepared to envisage an increase in its official development assistance (ODA) support and would continue to work for the fair treatment of the poorest countries in international trade negotiations.
KOFFI PANOU, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Togo, said there was no need to point out the importance of the debate taking place on Africa’s development. Despite the positive growth recorded by the Economic Commission for Africa, there was still need for further action.
Referring to NEPAD, he said it was without doubt an African response to the challenge for social and economic development and he welcomed the support it enjoyed, especially from the United Nations and international financial institutions.
African countries, he noted, were gradually organizing and taking control of their future. They welcomed the commitments made at Monterrey and Johannesburg and they deeply desired that the commitments made at those conferences be respected. He hoped that after the debate there would be actions that lived up to the hopes of African people, so that NEPAD could be seen as more than a simple project, but rather a major undertaking to carry Africa forward.
LILIAN PATEL, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi, said that NEPAD was the flagship of the African Union, designed to create conditions for economic recovery and sustainable development. It was, first and foremost, a partnership among African countries themselves and, secondly, a partnership between Africa and the international community, based on shared responsibility and mutual respect. Through NEPAD, Africa showed a desire to break with the past, in which political missteps and waste had led to a loss of opportunities for progress.
The NEPAD initiative could not have come at a better time than now, when Africa’s problems had been aggravated by deepening poverty, the debt burden, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, armed conflicts, famine and other human crises, she said. As an African-owned and African-led development strategy premised on collective self-reliance, NEPAD would unlock the development potential of Africa’s vast natural resources. However, external capital inflows in the form of development aid, trade and investment would still be necessary.
But development aid alone would not ensure the success of NEPAD, she said. It was essential that the international community deliver on long-standing commitments on debt relief, market access for African products and foreign direct investment. On their part, the African governments must ensure that good political and economic governance was the norm, through the determined promotion of pluralist democracy, accountability and transparency and respect for the law and human rights.
CELSO LAFER, Minister for Foreign Relations of Brazil, said that NEPAD was not an isolated proposal; it formed part of a wider effort for regional renewal enshrined in the establishment of the African Union. The first signs of those new times were already visible in the strengthening of democracy and the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts. Such was the case, for example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and Angola. Those developments underscored the affinity between the new African initiatives and the core principles of the United Nations. The NEPAD and the African Union were significant steps on the road to making the “African Renaissance” a reality.
Brazilian cooperation with Africa encompassed many areas, from agriculture to infrastructure, from trade to public administration. The main thrust of those projects was to develop human resources and strengthen capacity-building. For example, Brazil was sharing with African countries its experiences in the field of education, such as the “Bolsa-Escola” programme, a scholarship for poor families aimed at increasing their income and keeping children in school. Another area where Brazil and African countries had joined efforts was in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Brazil, he continued, had already initiated cooperation projects with African countries, particularly the Portuguese-speaking ones. Those projects were focused on capacity-building, human resources development and technology transfer. Also, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis was an essential tool in providing assistance to African nations. Brazil had actively participated in the Fund and had already stated its readiness to contribute to it through technical assistance.
VILAYAT GULIYEV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, said that NEPAD would be a foundation for solidarity among the peoples and nations of Africa. The New Partnership was a true African initiative that would lead the continent down the path of progress, prosperity and development. It was within the power and capability of African leaders to promote and encourage the progress of development in Africa.
As had been stressed by previous delegations, he noted that the ongoing conflicts in Africa remained serious obstacles on the road to establishing durable peace, security and development. Of particular concern was the situation of refugees and internally displaced persons.
Azerbaijan, he noted, had long engaged in educating the young men and women of Africa. Many distinguished African politicians had attended university in his country. It was essential that the international community continued to support African development activities. It was certain that with concerted support from the international community, NEPAD would be successful.
TOM BUTIME, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, noted that partnerships at various levels would assist Africa to achieve its aim of poverty eradication and attain the goals outlined in the Millennium Declaration. He said Uganda was firmly committed to the implementation of NEPAD.
Focusing on how the international community could assist Africa in fulfilling its development agenda, he welcomed the Canadian-led effort to support NEPAD, which was contained in the G-8 Action Plan of June 2002. Other initiatives such as the European Union’s “Everything but Arms” proposal were significant steps forward.
He stressed the need for concrete and deliberate measures to give life to the objective of duty-free, quota-free market access to Africa’s processed and semi-processed products. Action had to be taken as well to eliminate debt. In that regard, he commended the HIPC initiative. He called for the development of the continent’s human capital, and expressed the hope that when the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole meet on NEPAD in October, there would be agreement on coordination of the United Nations system in helping the continent.
KALIOPATE TAVOLA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Fiji, stated that NEPAD was a home-grown initiative that reflected Africa’s strategic rethinking on development. New challenges thrown up by the forces of globalization could now be adequately responded to within the framework of NEPAD.
To deliver the targeted set of actions, the policy framework and aspirations of NEPAD had to be liberating and self-sustaining. Africa had to be in control of its development and growth. That would require an internally generated investment base and savings mechanism. Fundamental infrastructure building was critical to long-term development and growth. He contrasted that approach with the past dependency of the continent.
Despite the stumbling blocks to Africa’s development, there were already development gains. Peace and security were gaining ground. Political stability was more evident. To further the process, he called on the United Nations to reorientate its modalities for partnership with the African continent. In doing so the United Nations must support African ownership and leadership of NEPAD.
N. HASSAN WIRAJUDA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said that taken together, NEPAD and the African Union should help to advance regional cooperation in Africa and should facilitate Africa in speaking for itself with a strong, coherent and single voice. Those initiatives would provide greater opportunity for the continent to better meet the challenges of the twenty-first century and better capability to reach the sustainable development goals set out in the Johannesburg plan of action. Moreover, they offered the possibility for the promotion of regional peace and security on the continent, which were prerequisites for development.
Part and parcel for effective implementation of the New Partnership was the establishment of good governance and regional peace and security, he said. He was pleased that NEPAD was premised on African States making commitments to good government, democracy and human rights. Those were critical prerequisites for moving development forward and were largely within the control of respective national governments. There were other issues, particularly those of finance and market access, that required the cooperation of the international community and multilateral organizations. Regretfully, such cooperation, despite major initiatives and promises, had been gravely eroded over the past decade.
The gap between international commitments and results was particularly glaring in the case of Africa, he said. Indeed, ODA decreased 43 per cent in Africa over the decade-long life-span of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF). Moreover, crushing external debt levels had further undermined financing for development through the diversion of development resources. That adverse situation was most pronounced in the least developed countries. To support the implementation of NEPAD, it was necessary to strengthen international cooperation and multilateralism. As a unique reservoir of multilateralism, the United Nations was well-positioned to support the development of Africa.
IGOR IVANOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, said that, in the context of globalization, the problems that threatened Africa threatened all countries. For that reason, the strategic effort to break the vicious circle of “underdevelopment -– conflicts -– disruption of development programmes” was common to all, as was recognition of the importance of a comprehensive approach to the problems of Africa in crisis management and prevention, poverty eradication, economic recovery and democracy consolidation. The establishment of the African Union, which was focused on social and economic development, had proved to be a major step in terms of joining the efforts of African nations.
Russia shared the aspiration of African peoples and States to freely choose their own future and assume general responsibility on issues of peace and security, economic management, the sustainable use of natural resources, action against corruption, and the allocation of funds for the promotion of development, he said. Russia supported the United Nations efforts to promote the resolution of armed conflicts in Africa and its determination to enhance interaction in this area between the United Nations and competent international, regional and subregional organizations in Africa. It was important, however, that African countries increase the effectiveness of their own preventive and peacekeeping efforts, including regional mechanisms of early warning, conflict prevention and resolution and post-conflict reconstruction.
In practical terms, Russia’s support had taken the form of contributing to the reduction of Africa’s external debt, he said. In 2000, Russia wrote off
$572 million of the debt of the poorest countries, and $904 million in 2001. Russia would continue to contribute in this manner, as well as in the fields of humanitarian relief, combating HIV/AIDS and other dangerous diseases, natural disaster management and human resources development.
MARCEL RANJEVA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Madagascar, said that NEPAD showed the willingness of Africa’s leaders to launch the continent upon the path to sustainable development. The partnership was aimed at laying foundations between Africa and the developed world. He remarked upon the fact that, with NEPAD, Africa had taken responsibility for its own future, which would be based on democracy, transparency, good governance, respect for the rule of law and human rights.
In regard to financing NEPAD, he noted that in countries such as Madagascar, it was not foreign investment that created faith in the economy, but faith that created foreign investment. In spite of that, foreign development aid continued to diminish. Also, the liberalization of economic policies should not prevent a State from supporting its important, vulnerable sectors. Within Madagascar, such a section was agriculture. Eighty per cent of the population farmed, and to prohibit Madagascar from subsidizing its population was to punish the poor. All States had, at some time or another, subsidized their own agricultural sectors. It was not fair to levy draconian conditions, which developed nations had never had to contend with, against poor countries.
In order to encourage public investment in African economies, it was necessary to secure other means of financing the NEPAD programmes. Some possibilities included debt cancellation or significant debt reduction, at the least, and taxing the wealth produced from financial transactions. Also, in order that the needs of the African people were satisfied by NEPAD, their rulers would have to protect their rights. The Peer Review System could serve as a tool to strengthen fundamental rights in Africa, but it should not be allowed to conflict with existing treaties on human rights.
LEONARDO SANTOS SIMÃO, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, said that it was important to note that both political and economic objectives of NEPAD were set out by Africans themselves and constituted challenges that had to be overcome if the continent was to develop. Africa was aware that different countries would experience different degrees of difficulties to reach the agreed goals; and, therefore, what those countries required was encouragement to identify and overcome those difficulties instead of criticism and pressure on the ground that they were “bad performers”.
He said that, within the framework of NEPAD, there was room for an effective partnership with the international community, in particular the United Nations system. The partnership would require efficient improvement of the United Nations system with regard to development programmes devoted to the African continent, which called for the United Nations agencies and other programmes to harmonize their programmes, so as to bring them in line with the objectives of NEPAD.
He called on the United Nations to support the institutional, financial and human capacity-building in Africa, in order to establish and strengthen peace, stability and good political, economic and corporate governance. Stressing that the success of NEPAD and its stability would ultimately depend on the strength and performance of the African institutions, both national and regional, he urged the United Nations Security Council to continue to pay special attention to the conflicts on the continent and to strive to bring about effective solutions, in close cooperation with the Africans.
KAMAL KHARRAZI, Foreign Minister of Iran, said Africa had heard, for far too long, too many words. The reality of the situation faced by so many millions of people on the continent was grim enough and called for serious and comprehensive policy and action on a scale and magnitude commensurate with the situation itself.
He said Iran encouraged Secretary-General Kofi Annan to take the necessary measures to ensure an effective and coordinated response of the United Nations system to NEPAD. From Iran’s point of view, action in that regard should not be pending upon appraisal of any past or existing plans: “This initiative is a clear indication of the serious approach of African leaders to the questions related to reform and governance”, he said. “Equally, they are also reflective of the fact that African countries have underlined their primary responsibility for the development of their own continent and their own countries, and this is indeed welcome.”
He said the African renaissance everyone had been talking about in recent months, and over the last few days, could only be initiated and undertaken in all earnestness by the Africans themselves -- both individually and collectively as African countries. The NEPAD had embodied all those elements and was a right step in the right direction, which included an important role for the rest of the international community, including the United Nations system. The United Nations system should undertake to integrate all its various plans, programmes and initiatives into a comprehensive policy framework, comprising all political, economic and social components, and with clear, well-defined roles and mandates for the relevant executing agencies and departments.
SOUEF MOHAMED EL-AMINE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Comoros, said that Africa had hoped to find in NEPAD their salvation. That initiative had no guarantee of viability, except in the support of its partners. He hoped to see the international community effectively involved in that process through consistent support. He also hoped that a real partnership without exclusion could be established with Africa’s partners.
The NEPAD, he said, in the framework of the implementation of its sustainable development policy, would have to take into account the problems of African small island developing States, which were subject to natural disasters. Furthermore, the exploitation of resources and its plundering by more powerful countries would also have to be addressed. He hoped to have the interest of all partners to help small island countries establish monitoring mechanisms and mechanisms to protect their marine environment.
JOSEPH PHILIPPE ANTONIO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Haiti, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that Africa’s debt was the major obstacle to the continent’s development. The estimated $300 billion debt hindered every aspect of social development in Africa. There were a number of explanations for Africa’s debt problems and the structural changes required to confront the continent’s problems. That matter affected Africa’s trade policies, foreign direct investment programmes and the process of economic growth. Nevertheless, finance was the most critical component of development and the dominant ingredient to facilitate sustainable economic growth, which required that the debt problem must be given high priority.
The NEPAD –- an initiative of Africa, for Africa -- aimed at eradicating poverty and underdevelopment, needed the full backing of the international community, particularly donor countries and international financial institutions, he said. It represented an opportunity not for business as usual, but for the donor community to coordinate its support to Africa on the priorities identified by the governments and peoples of Africa, and not on the basis of externally imposed conditions.
Like Africa, CARICOM States were convinced that an historic opportunity presented itself to put an end to the suffering of the people of Africa, he said. The resources for doing so were there. The CARICOM States were of the view that a firm commitment by the international community that translated words to action, and the continued responsible leadership from Africa to steadily work towards the sustainable development of Africa, would assure such success. More than supporting NEPAD, the international community had the moral duty to accompany Africa in its endeavour. So many decades of unequal relations called for a new paradigm in which African development benefited Africa.
USCHI EID, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, described NEPAD as not only a programme, but a forum for reform leadership in Africa. The NEPAD now had to grapple with implementation and with coordination of the conflicting interests and integration of the African people. The reform vision outlined by NEPAD had to be translated into practical political everyday work.
Germany, he said, considered NEPAD to be a basis for a new and enhanced partnership with Africa, because its approach opened up great opportunities for a self-determined and sustainable development, particularly in overcoming armed conflicts, where it had recorded a number of successes in the past months. Among those successes, he cited the crisis in Madagascar, the ceasefire accord in Angola and the hopeful signs for the resolution of the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
However, he also noted that NEPAD as a spearhead for reforms in Africa was exposed to difficult challenges. Among those was the situation in Zimbabwe, where current events were jeopardizing NEPAD’s credibility and sustainability. He urged Zimbabwe’s neighbours to react to the situation more “distinctly and decisively”. He added: “The irresponsible policy pursued by the Government in Harare puts the development perspectives and stability of the whole region of Southern Africa at risk.”
HANS DAHLGREN, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said that NEPAD rightly put the focus on democracy, good governance and human rights. To translate the initiative into action, it was necessary to focus at the local level on poverty eradication, as well as on the involvement of civil society and the private sector and coordination between African countries and civil society.
The NEPAD had emphasized regional cooperation, he said. Sweden stood ready to support that. It had recently adopted a strategy for support to regional development cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa, which focused on conflict management, economic cooperation and integration, infrastructure and national resources.
With NEPAD, African leaders had shown their firm commitment to take responsibility for the development of the continent, he said. Promoting peace and security in Africa would continue to be a priority for the United Nations, as well as the Group of 8. There were concrete examples of what could be done, such as in Sierra Leone. The lessons learned from that success story must not be lost, and should be used to resolve the ongoing conflict in Liberia.
MOHAMED AFFEY, Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Kenya, said that several decades after independence, African countries were still grappling with problems of poverty, diseases and illiteracy. Over the last decade, Africa had continued to sink further down owing to the marginalization brought about by globalization and the effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the heavy debt burden, rising levels of poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
For Africa to surmount those problems, concrete measures were needed to resolve the debt crisis, provide market access for the continent’s products, funding for health services, infrastructure development, environmental protection, human resources development and especially the education of children, he said. Africa had seen several initiatives aimed at resolving the myriad problems affecting the continent. However, none of those had been able to achieve the desired results, largely because of a lack of goodwill from the continent’s partners, inadequate resources for implementation and limited ownership and participation by African governments and peoples.
HABIB BEN YAHIA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, said that Africa, with its great human potential, had taken charge of its own future with the creation of NEPAD, a strategic, global and comprehensive framework designed to foster development through peace and security. With that initiative, Africa had moved into a new, innovative phase. However, the goals of NEPAD would be attainable only with the help of the international community in regard to debt cancellation, facilitating Africa’s access to international markets, increasing development aid, promoting direct foreign investment and the transfer of technology, improving health care and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS. Africa needed the promises made by the international community at the Millennium Summit and in Monterrey to be kept.
The imbalance between rich and poor, if unaddressed, could jeopardize stability within rich countries, he warned. Therefore, solidarity was the prerequisite of a better world. In the early 1990s, his President had begun to speak of the need for a peace partnership between the developed and developing countries of the world. In particular, he had stressed the creation of a world solidarity fund to be used to combat poverty and exclusion.
Hope was being born again in Africa, he said. The African Union was a demonstration of Africa’s resolve to work together for the future. Africa’s ongoing conflicts were being resolved, and the value of concerted efforts towards peace, democratization and good governance had been recognized. Africa needed the support of the international community to continue along that encouraging road.
BARONESS VALERIE AMOS, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, said that Africa’s problems -– conflict and State failure, which created poverty, refugees and transnational crime -– were the world’s problems. They could undermine the credibility of the United Nations and breed terrorism. The NEPAD represented a unique opportunity to address the challenges facing Africa with the promise of ending the conflicts which had devastated the continent and continued to hold back its development. It also promised the entrenchment of sound economic and political governance, and the release of Africa’s productive potential through access to trade and foreign investment.
Focusing on the issues of resolving and managing conflict in Africa, she said that the world's leading industrialized nations supported Africa’s efforts to tackle conflict and address its causes. Peace and security were the essential prerequisites for putting the continent on the road to sustainable development. Success in resolving Africa’s long-running conflicts would transform the lives of millions of people.
Sierra Leone had demonstrated what could be accomplished when Africa and the international community worked together, she said. The country was at peace, and the internally displaced were returning and beginning to pick up the pieces of society. In the Sudan, the peace process had suffered a setback with the escalation of fighting in the South and the suspension of talks, but the United Kingdom would continue to support the peace process. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo there were hopeful signs of a major breakthrough to peace, and in Angola there had been significant steps towards a sustainable political solution. The progress made in all these conflicts was not irreversible, but it did show that NEPAD’s principles were already being put into practice.
ANASTASSIOS YANNITSIS, Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, welcomed NEPAD as an initiative that would make possible the development of Africa through domestic, regional and international partnerships. “A new age for Africa’s development shall emerge”, he predicted.
The new plan of action for Africa had been adopted at the recent Group of 8 summit, he said, and the plan also envisaged closer relations between the European Union and Africa. But it was Africa’s ownership of NEPAD -- with support from the international community -- that was key for the programme’s success. It provided a holistic and action-oriented approach to problems afflicting African countries.
Greece, he said, had been contributing to the continent’s development in a number of ways: through support for the Trust Fund for the Educational and Training Programme for southern Africa; for the Trust Fund for the Transport and Communication Decade in Africa; and for the Trust Fund for African Development. Next year Greece hoped to double such contributions.
NOBUTAKE ODANO, Director-General for African Affairs of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said that the international community was beginning to recognize that the problems Africa faced were great challenges not only for the continent, but also for the international community as a whole. As a consistent advocate of the importance of ownership by Africa of its development, and as a supporter of partnership for African development, his country renewed its support for the of New Partnership, which it had continued to back through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process.
The TICAD process was a major pillar of Japan’s cooperation for African development. He said his country had already offered to all stakeholders of African countries and their development partners the first opportunity to discuss the newborn NEPAD, together with last year’s TICAD ministerial-level meeting.
PETER TESCH, Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia, hailed NEPAD as a historic new partnership. It constituted a very different type of initiative from those of the past that had failed. Because its bases were the principles of good political and economic governance, democracy and market-led economic growth, it deserved strong support. He praised the African leaders who had conceived it, adding that Australia was gratified by the proposed African Peer Review mechanism.
With assistance and support from the international community, he anticipated creation of an environment that would attract investment to the continent. Failure to live up to the principles of NEPAD would have the opposite effect, he warned.
Australia agreed with the authors of NEPAD that trade liberalization would help eradicate poverty and encourage sustainable development on the continent. Australia was a leading advocate of trade liberalization, especially in the field of agriculture. While such liberalization would play an important role in Africa’s progress, the challenge of HIV/AIDS could not be ignored, however. It would remain the major focus of Australia’s development assistance programme for Africa. In addition, the other priorities of governance and education would continue to be emphasized because they remained relevant to NEPAD’s priorities.
NASSIR BIN ADBULAZIZ AL-NASSER (Qatar) said the World Trade Organization Fourth Ministerial Conference held in Doha would be especially beneficial to developing countries, including African States. That Conference had come out against protectionism.
The Doha Conference took note of the many problems affecting Africa’s development and made concessions that would allow African goods access to global markets, particularly agricultural goods, he said. By the end of 2002 a progress report on implementation would indicate what advances had been made.
He expressed appreciation for the Secretary General’s efforts to bring peace and stability to Africa but said the continent’s problems went beyond war. There were the hindrances of absolute poverty and disease, in particular HIV/AIDS. Because of that situation, international assistance was imperative. However, African leaders recognized that they had the responsibility for the continent’s development, and consequently they had held a special summit in Libya in 1999 and brought the New Partnership for Africa’s Development into existence. They had also fashioned a mechanism to harmonize the various initiatives intended to benefit the continent. He expected Africa would reap the benefits of these developments.
ARJUN J.B. SINGH, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, said that led, owned and managed by the Africans, NEPAD aimed to meet many goals -- resolve conflicts, strengthen democracy, ensure development and improve governance. It was by far the largest enterprise for regional peace and prosperity. Implementing NEPAD would test the tenacity and resolve of African leadership and management capacities. Resource constraints and competing demands would require delicate prioritization. Conflicts, hunger, poverty, and HIV/AIDS and malaria must receive immediate attention to save lives and to pave the way for durable peace, development and justice.
The Peer Review Mechanism was a potent tool for enforcing collective self-discipline, he said. Politically sensitive, it would require ample doses of guts and candour, as well as necessary safeguards against its selective use. Broad-based and effective institutional arrangements would be essential for NEPAD’s execution. The African Union should provide the necessary structural link.
Its own efforts apart, Africa would need substantially more external support to produce the intended results. He called on development partners to exert their political will to meet their commitments on development assistance, debt relief, market access and capacity building. Special attention should go to the least developed countries.
LEE HO JIN (Republic of Korea) said that the past year had heralded significant structural and political changes in the field of African development. The NEPAD was now moving into the implementation phase, at which juncture it was crucial to address the challenges before Africa and the international community. Foremost among them were conflict and civil strife. The NEPAD’s economic initiatives needed to be bolstered by strong institutions for conflict prevention and management. Good governance also needed to be a pillar of NEPAD as well. In that regard, the Peer Review Mechanism, by which Africa’s leaders would be held mutually accountable for enforcing good governance principles, was particularly commendable.
The cornerstone of NEPAD was the new partnership between African countries, the international community and the United Nations. At the country level, the rhetoric of partnership needed to be translated into concrete national policies and programmes, with sufficient funds allocated from the national budgets of African countries to sustain them. The role of the United Nations and the international community would be to support the efforts made by the Africans themselves. The international community needed to fulfil its commitment to NEPAD through financial support, assistance in capacity-building, expanded market access for African commodities and transfer of information and communications technology.
CRISTIAN MAQUIEIRA (Chile) said that despite its geographical distance from Africa, Chile had been very close to the continent from the beginning of the process of decolonization to the creation of the various bodies of the United Nations. The NEPAD was a proposal from Africans for Africans. With the New Partnership, African countries would receive sustained support from the international community to achieve their goals.
However, he continued, it would not be possible to achieve the goals of NEPAD -- such as economic development and halving poverty by 2015 -- without an end to harmful subsidies and without support for exports from the region, including agriculture and textiles. The NEPAD had also included regional initiatives with important continental-level programmes to tackle HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) could jointly be charged with monitoring NEPAD.
OUCH BORITH (Cambodia) congratulated the African governments for launching NEPAD, which would place the countries involved on “a path of sustainable growth and development”. He stressed that NEPAD was unique because it was conceived and developed by Africans, for Africans. Referring to his own country, he said that Cambodians knew the importance of a people deciding to act for themselves. While Cambodians were always thankful for outside help, they understood that real reconciliation, peace and development had to come from within their own country.
He welcomed pledges of assistance that had been made to NEPAD by the United Nations. However, he insisted that those pledges must be implemented and remarked that promised support for Africa and other regions had not always been given in the past. He also drew a link between conflict prevention and the promotion of sustainable development, saying that Cambodians understood that link all too well, because of their difficult history.
He ended by talking about the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF). First, he praised the implementation of economic and political reforms. He then, however, noted that because of a lack of external support for UN-NADAF, the agenda had had little effect in such areas as controlling HIV/AIDS, resolving debt and tackling agriculture and food dilemmas. He then suggested that the donor countries should continue aid to Africa via NEPAD, offer debt relief, increase ODA and foreign direct investment and provide market access for African exports. “It is always useful to learn from what went right in the past, while avoiding the mistakes of the past”, he said.
SORAJAK KASEMSUVAN, Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand, congratulated African countries for launching the African Union and said the various groupings, including the Group of 8, recognized the importance of NEPAD. The current meeting symbolized the will and commitment of the international community to cooperate with the African countries to overcome the difficulties which had prevented their development.
Thailand was pleased to support NEPAD and stood ready to assist African countries to develop. His country had mutually beneficial relationships with African countries and looked forward to developing further relations with others. The NEPAD would add a new dimension and greater dynamism to Thailand’s relationship with Africa. He hoped that the various initiatives intended to benefit Africa, taken together, would bear fruit for the continent.
In the final analysis, NEPAD’s success would depend on the political will of African leaders and their willingness to stay the course. He believed that the potential and possibilities for African countries which had been opened up by NEPAD were enormous. Thailand, acting in conjunction with the rest of the international community, would do whatever it could to help Africa reap the benefits of NEPAD.
FELIPE PAOLILLO (Uruguay) said that cooperation, as it had existed thus far in Africa, had not yielded the desired results. However, this new partnership offered new and exciting opportunities to eradicate poverty and to encourage sustainable development, thus bringing to an end the marginalization of Africa in globalization. Uruguay had experienced Africa’s serious economic and financial crisis, but while it was unable to contribute financially, it would, nonetheless, remain faithful to its commitment to multilateralism and continue to contribute where possible, including through the support of those peace operations in which it was involved.
On the African continent, Uruguayan troops had been deployed in Rwanda, Liberia, Mozambique, Angola, Sierra Leone and Western Sahara. Their most recent participation had taken place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to which Uruguay was the major contributor. For example, their contribution of water purification plants made in Uruguay had helped solve the very serious problem of the shortage of drinking water in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Uruguay had also signed an agreement on livestock and agriculture with Angola, which allowed it to share its technical expertise.
He concluded by saying there needed to be an assured flow of assistance to the countries of Africa to ensure that the goals of NEPAD could be achieved.
DJESSAN PHILIPPE DJANGONE-BI (Côte d’Ivoire) said the decisive fact in the process of preventing poverty was the taking into account of NEPAD. The NEPAD, designed by Africans, addressed their specific realities and contained measures to promote the economic, social and human development of the people of Africa. As an instrument designed to foster North-South cooperation, among other things, NEPAD intended to promote new international initiatives while promoting good governance, democracy and human rights.
He expressed satisfaction with the Group of 8’s adoption, in June at its summit in Kananaskis, of an action plan to strengthen partnerships between the Group of 8 and Africa. It was high time to act because reflection without action was sterile.
IRMA LOEMBAN TOBING-KLEIN (Suriname) said that she was present today to express solidarity with the governments and peoples of Africa, who were determined to emerge from poverty, hunger and famine and to focus on infrastructure development, health, education, protecting the environment, new technologies, sound energy policies, access to developing markets, economic growth and building a strong partnership between government, civil society and non-governmental organizations. They were also determined to build a strong and lasting culture of peace and democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and accountability as the surest means of pursuing sustainable development. Suriname felt a responsibility towards Africa, as they shared a common history.
Congratulating Africa on the establishment of the African Union and NEPAD, she explained that Suriname felt the need to support the initiatives of NEPAD because they struggled with the same issues of poverty eradication, economic development, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, deforestation, desertification, access to drinking water and respectable sanitation, and war. Without the economic development of Africa, there would be no sustainable human development of the world.
The developing countries of the world needed assistance to meet the needs of their peoples, she said. All must take a part in collective responsibility, especially for the poor, the vulnerable and the oppressed. It was because of the necessity for support and partnership that Suriname had co-sponsored the resolution on the United Nations Declaration on the New Partnership for Africa. The international community needed to actively combine its efforts to ensure that African people enjoyed their rights to development, dignity and respect.
MILOS ALCALAY (Venezuela) was pleased that the Assembly was holding today’s meeting to examine the way in which the United Nations system might offer support to NEPAD. The New Partnership was an innovative approach to achieve the important objectives needed for peace and security for the people of Africa. The NEPAD had been conceived with the firm and shared conviction of African leaders of the urgent need to alleviate poverty and to lead their countries towards sustainable development while participating actively in the global economy. That was the vision of a strong and united Africa, which recognized the need to form partnerships between governments and all sectors of society.
He noted with enthusiasm the determination of Africans to overcome the obstacles faced by the continent. The NEPAD was a source of inspiration because it was based on the principles of good governance, democracy, human rights and peace and stability as prerequisites for development and the integration of the continent in the global economy. With NEPAD, Africans themselves were designing programmes to be administered by them in the search for new forms of cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and benefits. The success of NEPAD would open possibilities for South-South cooperation. Venezuela would continue to monitor the development of the initiative.
MAHAMANE MAIGA (Mali) said NEPAD was based on partnership between Africa and the international community. Entirely designed by Africans to improve the living conditions of Africans, NEPAD was a global and integrated development plan dealing with Africa’s social and economic objectives. By adopting NEPAD, a genuine overall strategic framework, Africa pledged to fully play its role as a member of the international community.
However, he continued, Africa’s efforts by themselves would not yield the desired results without the support of the international community. The partners of Africa must fully support the African initiative. Africa would need to benefit from a more favourable international economic environment, including more concrete measures for debt alleviation. The NEPAD was an opportunity for Africa to take up the challenges of globalization and integrate itself into the international community.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia), urged the international community to fully support the New Partnership for Africa’s Development initiative by assisting Africans in their efforts to eradicate poverty, and to achieve sustainable development, as recommended in the Millennium Declaration adopted two years ago. The Declaration emphasized the necessity of the international community’s addressing the special needs of the continent.
The international community should, as a matter of urgency, give its strong support to emerging democracies in Africa, to encourage regional and subregional mechanisms for preventing conflict and promoting political stability, he said. It should also ensure a reliable flow of resources for peacekeeping operations.
Malaysia continued to strongly believe that poverty eradication was the indispensable requirement for sustainable development, and that more than anywhere else, Africa required achieving the poverty reduction goal of the Millennium Declaration. Noting that the test of any initiative lay in its implementation, he stressed that the lack of necessary means had been a major limiting factor in the achievement of previous initiatives to support Africa. “For Africa to achieve the Millennium poverty reduction target alone, an annual resource gap estimated at over $650 billion had to be bridged”, he said.
ADOLFO AGUILAR ZINSER (Mexico) said the focus of efforts for implementing NEPAD should stress the priorities decided upon by Africans themselves. His country greeted the new partnership as a vision of Africa’s future and the fruit of a new collective will, striving for increased transparency and democracy. The NEPAD was the awaited signal for the international community to mobilize and to meet all its long-standing assistance commitments in Africa. While it was up to the countries of Africa to flesh out the structure of NEPAD in implementation, the international community needed to help with the establishment of the resources and investment necessary for implementation. The success or failure of NEPAD laid in the strategic association between Africa and the international community.
Within this framework for action, he stressed, support measures needed to be designed, the coordination of which would involve the efforts of all concerned United Nations agencies and institutions. The international community was undoubtedly indebted to Africa. Furthermore, Africa’s development and the successful incorporation of the region depended on humanity’s being capable of facing the great challenges and making use of the opportunities of the times.
Among the challenges that Africa and her partners faced were the need to prevent wars and achieve deep and lasting peace agreements for the conflicts that had plagued the continent, he said. It was also important to unite around the struggles against the spread of HIV/AIDS; the reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons; and the protection of the environment and respect for human rights, including the rights of women and minorities. The commitments made at international conferences in the past few years needed to be kept to ensure that the goals of the Millennium Declaration in Africa were achieved.
IVAN ŠIMONOVIC (Croatia), President of the Economic and Social Council, drew attention to what he termed “some disturbing trends” which indicated growing evidence that most African countries, especially the least developed, would not be able to achieve several of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. This was largely because of the lack of adequate financial resources and institutional capacities to implement the action plans required to meet those goals. Other contributing factors included the consequences of HIV/AIDS, and in some countries, conflict.
In its follow-up to the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, the Council would work with the Bretton Woods institutions to ensure that the issues of debt, market access, ODA and foreign direct investment -- which were of such critical importance for Africa’s economic recovery -- were meaningfully addressed. He said he was glad to inform the Assembly that Africa featured strongly in this year’s High-level Segment, which had its theme “the contribution of human resources development, in particular, health and education, to the process of development”.
Two High-level Panels had been held on how Africa was doing in relation to the human resources aspects of the Millennium Development Goals in general and on the health-related goals in particular. He noted that strong concern had been expressed that, on present trends, the majority of African countries would not achieve those goals.
He assured the Assembly that the Council stood by its commitment made at its High-level Segment of 2001 that it would do what was required to ensure the sustainable development of the region. “On it’s (Council’s) behalf, I urge Africa’s partners to renew the commitments we made at last year’s High-level Segment, to Africa’s sustainable development”, he said.
AMARA ESSY, Interim President of the African Union, recalled the history leading up to the creation of NEPAD. The Secretary-General’s report had stated that since 1996 half of all deaths in the world occurred in Africa. Africa knew poverty. It was a rich continent with poor people. It was that reality which had led Africa’s leaders to create NEPAD. Today, NEPAD was the hope of the African Union. Without success for NEPAD, there could be no success for the African Union. Africa had derived all the lessons of the failures of the past. It knew what had to be done. It was now necessary to move ahead, and Africa was awaiting the assistance it needed. “We know that there can be no oasis of prosperity in a desert of poverty.” He hoped that the promises made would be kept.
JOHN RICHARDSON, on behalf of the European Community, said the European Union fully supported NEPAD. It endorsed the political values which lay at the heart of the Partnership -– good governance, democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law -– because these were indispensable components of an effective development policy.
The NEPAD and the African Union shared one important characteristic, he said. They aimed at creating a pan-African level of governance. The values and vision which inspired and drove NEPAD paralleled those that had inspired the founding fathers of the European Union, which had been deemed the most successful union between sovereign States.
In his view, the new pan-African level of governance held great potential, but civil society and the private sector should also be allowed to make their contribution to the integration process. The European Commission would support NEPAD as a process. Its programmes in Africa would now be reassessed in the light of NEPAD. The NEPAD and the African Union would exercise an important influence on the next stage of EU-African dialogue. Upcoming Africa-Europe meetings would also give a new political momentum to that dialogue.
RIDHA BOUABID (International Organization of La Francophonie) said NEPAD aimed to be a break with the past and a new start for the sustainable development of Africa. Now faced with the action programme, entirely designed by Africans themselves, the countries of Africa were formally committed to doing everything possible to foster growth and sustainable development and to achieve real integration within the world economy. The international community should support them on this front, especially in the areas over which the countries of Africa did not have much control, such as funding, indebtedness and market access.
In reaffirming the interdependence of peace, democracy and development and in seeking stability, good governance and respect for the State and for the conditions necessary for development, this new partnership for Africa’s development demanded the respect and support of the International Organization of La Francophonie, he said. The organization welcomed the establishment of the Peer Review Mechanism, destined to ensure that the policies and practices of African States conformed with the universal values of democratic governance in the political, economic and financial realms.
He offered several areas in which the International Organization of
La Francophonie could aid the countries of Africa in their implementation of NEPAD: firstly, on the subject of peace, security and good governance, the organization offered the benefit of its experience and programmes designed to reinforce institutional capacity; secondly, in the area of providing new information and communication technology; thirdly, on the subject of energy and the environment, which were the two sectors largely covered by the work of the organization; and fourthly, in the area of education and culture, two areas in which La Francophonie was the beneficiary of well-known experience.
The PRESIDENT of the General Assembly informed the meeting that the following countries had joined as co-sponsors of the draft resolution: Albania; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Armenia; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Brunei Darussalam; Burundi; Canada; Central African Republic; Chad; Comoros; Congo; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Eritrea; Fiji; Finland; France; Gabon; Germany; Greece; Guyana; Hungary; Iceland; Iraq; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kuwait; Lao People’s Democratic Republic; Lebanon; Lesotho; Libya; Luxembourg; Malawi; Malaysia; Mali; Malta; Mauritania; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Nicaragua; Niger; Oman; Pakistan; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Republic of Korea; Romania; Russian Federation; Rwanda; San Marino; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovenia; Somalia; Spain; Sudan; Swaziland; Sweden; Switzerland; Thailand; The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; Togo; Tonga; Turkey; Uganda; Ukraine; United Kingdom; United Republic of Tanzania; United States; Uruguay; Viet Nam; Yemen; Yugoslavia; Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution entitled United Nations Declaration on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (A/57/L.2/Rev.1) by acclamation.
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