|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
25th & 26th Meetings (AM & PM)
As General Assembly Reviews Partnership for Africa’s Development, Body’s President
Praises Continent’s Determination to Overcome ‘Seemingly Insurmountable Obstacles’
Assembly Also Considers Conflict in Africa, Search for Durable Peace,
Development, as well as Efforts to Tackle Malaria in Developing Countries
Delegates gathered today in the General Assembly to assess progress on the implementation of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) — the African-owned strategy adopted in 2001 to drive the continent’s political and socio-economic transformation — acknowledged significant achievements and looked to a future that would incorporate the Partnership’s priorities in the United Nations post-2015 agenda and in formulating sustainable development goals.
In opening remarks, General Assembly President Vuk Jeremić said that Africa had “shown determination to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including centuries of exploitation unique in the annals of human history”. Despite the fact that a number of African countries had been the hardest-hit victims of the global economic crisis, trade and investment had expanded, the continent-wide market had been built up and macroeconomic indicators had improved.
The Millennium Development Goals were at the core of a prosperous, peaceful and equitable Africa, he continued. Those targets could largely be met if the international community redoubled its efforts, particularly in implementing monetary pledges, as set out in Assembly resolution 66/293, which had established a monitoring mechanism to review commitments made towards Africa’s development.
Looking to the future, he said that it was necessary to focus on the post-2015 development agenda, especially as it applied to Africa. African concerns, including those that fell within NEPAD’s six focus areas, should be high on the agenda, starting with youth employment and infrastructure expansion. “To bridge the gap between the promise of Africa and the reality on the ground, I believe the United Nations must continue to give priority to the continent’s singular needs,” he said, adding that the Organization’s agencies must become engaged “as never before” in the task of supporting African nations to unlock their full potential.
Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, drew a largely positive picture, telling the Assembly that Africa had registered over 5 per cent annual growth over the last 10 years and was committed to aiming for inclusive and equitable double-digit growth to sustain its continued transformation.
Recently, barriers to regional trade integration were being reduced, he said. The continent was now seen as more investor friendly. Foreign direct investment in 2010 was five times what it been a decade ago, and in 2011, private equity firms had raised $1.5 billion for African projects, in part due to increased African private sector investments in the continent.
Applauding the Rio+20 outcome document’s affirmation of NEPAD as Africa’s sustainable development framework, he called on the international community to fulfil its commitments to the continent’s sustainable development.
Overall, African countries had made significant progress towards achieving the Millennium Goals, even though not all would be reached by 2015, he said. The post-2015 agenda must take into account the sustainability of Africa’s growth and development. NEPAD, as the African Union’s flagship programme would promote sustainable development goals that combined economic, social and environmental solutions.
Speaking on behalf of the African Group, the representative of Cameroon said that as NEPAD entered its second implementation decade, prospects for Africa’s development appeared brighter. But intensified efforts were still urgently needed to achieve the required progress in many areas, including official development assistance (ODA), agriculture, food security, debt relief, foreign direct investment, trade barriers and climate change. As that was the case, he said that the soon-to be-elaborated Sustainable Development Goals must duly reflect African priorities, and the preparatory process for the post-2015 development agenda should be built around the successes and failures of the Millennium Goals in a manner that would maintain an urgent focus on the unfulfilled commitments to Africa.
Turning to conflict and the promotion of durable peace and development, he said that Africa had seen many positive steps towards the consolidation of democracy, with 23 nations having held democratic elections between August 2011 and March 2013. However, Democratic processes in Mali and Guinea-Bissau had been stalled following coups d’état, he said, thanking the Secretary-General and the Security Council for support to the efforts of the African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other parties involved in the search for the solution.
He stressed the urgent need to activate the monitoring Mechanism established in resolution 66/293 to ensure mutual accountability, partnership and focus on the follow-up of the implementation of commitments made by African nations and their partners in development.
In that regard, Japan’s representative said that Japan had established a follow-up system to monitor the progress of commitments made at the 2008 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). “This is a pioneering effort for improved accountability, and Japan is ready to share our experience.”
The Congo’s delegate said that, despite the global economic slowdown, the strategic framework offered by NEPAD had enabled significant growth in many areas putting the Millennium Development Goals in sight for many African countries. Yet positive results could only flourish under conditions of peace, security and good governance. He stressed the need for a more integrated approach to the issues of peace, security and development, and at the same time, greater reflection on causes of conflict aside from the poor management of diversity, which had been well documented in the Secretary-General’s report.
Several delegates, noting that 60 per cent of Africa’s population was under 25, spoke of the importance of decent employment and training for youth. Tunisia’s representative called on development partners to redouble efforts in that regard towards a holistic approach, which would involve agriculture and food security, debt relief, and foreign direct investment towards lasting peace and development.
Speaking to the second half of today’s joint debate, the 2001‑2010 Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly in Africa, the representative of the European Union said, “Africa also continues to face a huge burden of potentially preventable and treatable diseases, which caused deaths and untold suffering, while simultaneously blocking economic development and damaging the continent’s social fabric.”
Speaking of the importance of funding for anti-malaria programmes, Sri Lanka’s delegate explained that his country — once plagued by malaria — now experienced sporadic cases of the disease; it had nearly eliminated malaria once, in 1963, when there had been only 17 cases. However, with funding declining and reduced spraying and surveillance, there had been a massive resurgence of up to 1.5 million cases in 1967-1968.
Mahadhi Juma Maalim, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, said that “In combating malaria, we already know what interventions and tools are needed. We know what works and what does not work.” Two things were needed: leadership and resources. African leaders, through the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, were providing leadership but there was a huge gap in resources that required “massive support and partnership” from the international community.
Also speaking today was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg.
Participating were the ministers of State and other ministerial-level officials of India and Sierra Leone.
Also speaking were the representatives of Australia, Cameroon (in his national capacity), Bahamas (on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)), Egypt, United States, Israel, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Cambodia and Russian Federation.
Also taking part were China, Senegal, Thailand, Cuba, Algeria, Zambia, Ireland, Togo, Myanmar, Brazil, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kuwait and Kenya.
The General Assembly will next convene at 10 a.m. on 18 October to elect five non-permanent members of the Security Council.
The General Assembly met today to hold its annual joint debate on development in Africa, including progress on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the causes of conflict and the search for durable peace and development on the continent, and the 2001-2010 Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly in Africa.
For those discussions, the Assembly had before it the Secretary‑General’s tenth consolidated progress report on implementation and international support for NEPAD (document A/67/204), which assesses progress in implementing the African-led strategy’s projects and programmes, and the support provided by the international community.
The report indicates that despite effects of the global financial and economic crisis, there has been progress in the implementation of NEPAD sectoral priorities. The establishment of the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency and its integration into the structure and processes of the African Union generated fresh momentum in the implementation of the Partnership’s priority activities such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and of multi-country infrastructure initiatives.
In a slow global recovery, however, the report notes that the main challenge for African countries was to consolidate their gains and to ensure that current progress will not be reversed. To that end, as called for in the outcome documents of several global United Nations conferences, development partners should fulfil existing commitments so as to increase the quantity and effectiveness of development assistance.
The report states that free and fair trade is an engine of growth that can broaden markets and generate employment. Therefore, development partners should conclude the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and African countries should mobilize more resources from within the continent and strengthen regional integration to create larger markets and develop stronger economies with private-sector participation. They should also allocate greater resources to NEPAD priorities and undertake appropriate reforms to further encourage private-sector participation in NEPAD projects and promote public-private partnerships.
As the second decade of NEPAD begins, African countries and the international community, including the United Nations, should strengthen their partnership for development on the basis of mutual responsibility and accountability. Furthermore, the United Nations should continue to accord priority to the special development needs of Africa. The post-2015 development agenda and the follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on sustainable development must pay particular attention to the needs of Africa.
The Secretary‑General’s report on causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document A/67/205-S/2012/715), also before the Assembly, highlights major developments in Africa over the past year and examines the implementation by the United Nations system of recommendations in key priority areas identified in the Secretary-General’s report on the subject of the previous year. The report also provides an in-depth analysis of one of the most pressing issues in Africa, the management of diversity, and proposes concrete and practical recommendations.
Among numerous recommendations, the report calls for: African Governments, the United Nations and the international community, to work towards greater social protection for the most vulnerable groups and to implement inclusive and equitable policies to narrow the gap in access to basic social services; the international community to develop a more integrated approach to addressing peace, security, development and humanitarian and human rights issues in the Sahel region; and development partners, along with the United Nations and the entire international community, to support efforts in disaster risk reduction, sustainable livelihoods and community resilience in areas affected by climate change.
The report further urges the United Nations system to support national efforts to clarify access and rights to natural resources; to support efforts to effectively include young people in peacebuilding and state-building and to strengthen women’s participation and representation in decision-making processes and in social, economic, cultural and political dialogue and to fight gender-based violence. It also calls for support to democratic nation-building efforts; for strategies to combat transnational organized crime and for the development of civic education strategies aimed at building common national identity, social cohesion, non-violent forms of conflict resolution and to promote the values of collaborative and peaceful coexistence.
VUK JEREMIĆ, President of the General Assembly, fully endorsing NEPAD work as an African-owned and African-led blueprint for the continent’s future, called it an excellent forum to move forwardtogether, having established itself as a credible international partner in providing a realistic vision and policy framework for the continent’s twenty-first century renewal and development. Africa had shown determination to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including centuries of exploitation unique in the annals of human history.
Noting that many African States were celebrating five decades of independence, he spoke of the role of the Non-Aligned Movement in the continent’s quest to affirm its dignity on the world stage. Its 1961 Inaugural Summit in Belgrade had marked the moment when the majority of the human race became irreversibly empowered.
The United Nations was an important actor in efforts to achieve the full political and economic potential of the continent. While Somalia’s political transition had come to an end with the election of its President, and Sudan and South Sudan were negotiating agreements to normalize their relations, the grave situation in the Sahel required urgent attention. The recently adopted Resilience Action Plan for the Sahel was designed to enable the region to overcome a persistent pattern of recurring and increasingly acute crises. Further, the takeover of several northern territories in Mali by terrorists impacted the stability of neighbouring countries. It was necessary to support Mali’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Greater resources were needed to meet the challenges of the region.
The Millennium Development Goals were at the core of a prosperous, peaceful and equitable Africa, he continued. Those targets could largely be met if the international community redoubled its efforts, particularly in implementing monetary commitments as set out in Assembly resolution 66/293. Looking to the future, he said that it was necessary to focus on the post-2015 development agenda, especially as it applied to Africa. As Assembly President he would also work to establish a Working Group to define a list of Sustainable Development Goals for consideration and adoption by the plenary. African concerns, including those that fell within NEPAD’s six focus areas, should be high on the agenda, starting with youth employment and infrastructure expansion.
Despite the fact that a number of African countries were the hardest-hit victims of the global economic crisis, trade and investment had expanded, the continent-wide market had been built up and macro-economic indicators had improved, he continued. Such progress was remarkable and unprecedented. Still, solutions were needed to address the differences in living standards between urban and rural populations and the increasing disparities among the continent’s economies. Assistance mechanisms should reflect NEPAD’s agenda and that of individual African Member States. “The voices of those in need must be heard loud and clear,” and should be a guidepost to move forward.
In closing he said that the overall credibility of the Organization could stand or fall depending on whether it could help fulfil what Nelson Mandela once defined as his “`dream of an Africa that is at peace with itself, [the] dream of realizing the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve [for good] the problems of this continent.’”
JEAN ASSELBORN, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, said the African economic outlook was optimistic despite some serious regional disparities. As the world’s “youngest” continent, in terms of the age of the population, the promotion of decent employment, particularly youth employment should be at the heart of strategies implemented by NEPAD. That was why Luxembourg had emphasized capacity building and vocational training for youth in its development cooperation with Africa. Among areas of progress achieved by African Governments, were the fields of governance, infrastructure, and information and communications technologies. He also noted progress toward the goal of allocating 10 per cent of national budgets to agriculture.
As a multi-lateral instrument, he said, NEPAD underlined commitments made by both development partners and African countries. Luxembourg had reached, and in 2009 and 2010, surpassed the United Nations objective of dedicating 0.7 per cent of Gross National Index to official development assistance (ODA), and surpassed the assistance goal of 0.20 per cent of Gross National Index for the least developed countries, which were mostly in Africa.
He said that exclusion was one of the main triggers of conflict and hindered sustainable development, and encouraged African Governments, with help from the United Nations, to survey and implement participatory policies to enhance equal access to basic social services and economic opportunities, particularly for youth, women and other marginalised groups. On malaria, he said the disease must be eradicated in all developing countries, particularly in Africa, by 2015 and that all stakeholders must renew their commitment to a global and coherent approach. Luxembourg contributed 3 million Euros annually to the World Health Organization (WHO) efforts to fight malaria and its Tropical Disease Research Programme and 2.5 million Euros annually to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to that end.
PRENEET KAUR, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, applauding progress achieved by the African continent in areas including agriculture, infrastructure, health, education and others, said that, nonetheless, serious challenges remained to be addressed. “Extreme poverty, hunger, lack of adequate nutrition, conflicts and other malaises continue to shackle the tremendous potential of the African people”, she said in that regard. Unwavering commitment backed by resolute action was therefore needed, not only from within Africa, but from outside the continent.
As pointed out in the Secretary-General’s report, she noted that as a proportion of total Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) global aid allocation in 2011, Africa’s share remained virtually unchanged at a mere 37 per cent. Indeed, to date, Africa had received only around half of the pledged increase made at the 2005 “Group of Eight” summit in Gleneagles. “The international community therefore needs to urgently address this yawning gap between promise and delivery”, she said.
The India-Africa partnership was based on firm historical foundations, which had grown over the decades into a productive and durable collaboration. The relationship was aligned with the priorities integral to the development goals of Africa, and was built upon the foundations of mutual equality and common benefit. At the second India-Africa Forum Summit in 2011, India had committed $5 billion for the next three years under lines of credit to help its African partners achieved their development goals. Among other initiatives, India, in May, had launched the India-Africa Business Council, whose core sectors included agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, mining, petroleum and natural gas.
Given the “sheer potential” of untapped trade, she continued, India had also raised its bilateral trade target to $90 billion by 2015. It was already making available duty-free and quota-free market access for goods from 34 least developed countries in Africa, which covered 94 per cent of India’s total tariff lines and provided preferential market access on tariff lines that comprised 92.5 per cent of global exports of all Least Developed Countries. India’s partnership with Africa also spanned capacity-building programmes including medical specialists to tackle pandemics such as malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. Describing the India-Africa partnership as a “beacon of South-South cooperation”, she added that the partnership had the potential to strengthen global governance systems and democratize multilateral institutions.
MAHADHI JUMA MAALIM, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania, said that malaria remained one of the major health challenges facing his country. On the mainland, malaria was the leading cause of both outpatient and inpatient hospital visits, and many children and pregnant women died from malaria every day. As a result, the Government had implemented several interventions, and had succeeded in reducing the prevalence of the disease in young children by 44 per cent between 2008 and 2012. In Zanzibar, death due to malaria was near zero; the challenge there was to sustain that achievement. On the mainland, lessons learned in Zanzibar were being replicated — namely residual spraying on insect-breeding sites, among others. In addition, the Government had decided to give free bed nets to all children and every household.
“In combating malaria, we already know what interventions and tools are needed. We know what works and what does not work,” he said. There was a need to follow through on the recommendations of the WHO to ban the use of mono-therapies, which would require making available the right combination of therapies at affordable prices. In United Republic of Tanzania, artemisinin-based combination therapies were available in the public sector; free to pregnant women and children and affordably priced for others. In the private sector, the price was high per treatment course, which was a hindrance to the majority of patients seeking treatment in private health centres. In that regard, the Government was partnering with the Affordable Medicines Facility, a subsidy of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund), to support affordable therapies to both sectors.
In United Republic of Tanzania’s view, Governments needed to consider reducing or waiving taxes and tariffs for bed nets and other products needed for malaria control, both to reduce the price to consumers and to stimulate free trade in those products. United Republic of Tanzania had been the first country in Africa to do so, he said. However, the fight against malaria also required two things: leadership and resources. African leaders, through the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, were providing leadership and working together to combat malaria. However, there was a huge resource gap. As his country was working to build, among other programmes, a health dispensary in every village and a healthcare centre in every ward, it required “massive support and partnership” from the international community. In addition, he stressed, with 2015 just three years away, greater efforts were needed to reach, and even exceed, the targets that had been set.
BARRY HAASE ( Australia) said that NEPAD’S achievements in promoting development and growth in Africa were impressive. It was time to consider how much work remained to achieve the Millennium Goals in many countries and to keep the needs of Africa in focus while formulating the post-2015 development agenda. It was a credit to the leaders and people of Africa that eleven of the world’s fastest growing economies were African.
Australia’s development assistance to Africa had tripled since 2007 and had continued to increase. NEPAD had helped to set priorities and coordinate with initiatives in Africa at the national and regional level. Its CAADP had helped Australia to avoid duplicating efforts in the area of food security assistance, for example. Overall, Australia had pledged $150 million to improve food security in Africa. Its International Food Security Centre was set to open an office in Nairobi. Australia was also sharing lessons learned through its $127 million “Mining for Development” initiative, which was helping African countries to maximize the benefits and opportunities from their mining sectors.
Turning to the issue of malaria, he said that there were still more than 200 million cases of malaria globally each year, with Africa being the hardest hit. To help battle the disease, Australia had contributed $250 million since 2004 and committed $170 million by 2013. It was essential to contain drug resistance, which would be the focus of a conference later this month in Sydney.
MICHEL TOMMO MONTHE (Cameroon), speaking on behalf of the African Group, stressed the need to intensify efforts towards the full implementation of the United Nations commitments to Africa regarding Millennium Development Goals and outcome documents from various conferences. The Group appreciated the Secretary-General’s reports under consideration today, but would note that some improvements should be made in the reporting lines. He said the reports had been too descriptive, urging the United Nations Secretariat to explore ways to make them more analytical and evaluative. The Group welcomed the Secretary-General’s decision to maintain the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa as a separate and independent office within the Secretariat and viewed the move as the first step in a series of future decisions to enhance the ability of that mechanism to undertake its important mandate effectively.
As NEPAD entered its second implementation decade, prospects for Africa’s development appeared brighter. But intensified efforts were still urgently needed to achieve the required progress in many areas, including ODA, agriculture, food security, debt relief, foreign direct investment, trade barriers and climate change. Looking to the future, the Group attached great importance to the implementation of the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). The resulting soon-to be-elaborated Sustainable Development Goals should duly reflect the African priorities as reflected in NEPAD and supplemented by the African consensus that emerged in the run-up to the Conference.
He stressed the urgent need to activate the Monitoring Mechanism established by General Assembly resolution 66/293 to ensure mutual accountability, partnership and focus on the follow up of the implementation of the commitments made by African nations and their partners in development. That would require extensive efforts in collecting data to ensure accuracy, he said, urging the Secretary-General to ensure necessary funds were made available to the Special Advisor’s Office from within the regular United Nations budget, not out of the Office’s own limited resources. Another issue requiring attention was the preparatory process for the post-2015 development agenda. It should be built around the successes and failures of the Millennium Development Goals in a manner that would maintain an urgent focus on the unfulfilled commitments to Africa.
Turning to conflict and the promotion of durable peace and development, he said that Africa had seen many positive steps toward the consolidation of democracy, with 23 nations having held democratic elections between August 2011 and March 2013. However, Democratic processes in Mali and Guinea-Bissau had been stalled following coups d’état, he said, thanking the Secretary-General and the Security Council for support to the efforts of the African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other parties involved in the search for the solution.
Overall, significant efforts were needed in order to eradicate the factors of instability that weakened States throughout the continent, including the proliferation of small arms and drug trafficking, “two recent phenomena which feed terrorism, criminality and corruption.” “Today, Africa has both opportunities and challenges. Let us capitalize on the opportunities and face the challenges,” he said, emphasizing the that African Group was committed to step up to the plate on both fronts, but counted on the international community to help ensure a better future for the continent and its peoples.
Speaking next in his national capacity, he said that since 2004, ODA flows to Africa remained below the levels promised. With respect to debt, the burden on African countries had, indeed, been reduced thanks to considerable global and bilateral initiatives. But that the same time, there had been repercussions of the global economic and financial crisis on investment flows to Africa. Referring to a passage in the Secretary-General’s report, he said that the fact that important sectors of society were excluded from institutions of political governance, lacked economic means and access to social services was not only one of the main causes of conflict, but also made it difficult to achieve any sustainable development.
He pointed to several other specific areas of the report, in particular those relating to sustained economic growth, sustainable development and managing diversity. Each was a means to prevent conflict and promote sustainable peace, he said. Cameroon had launched a number of major infrastructure projects aimed at growth and jobs creation, including the creation of 25,000 public service jobs for young people. The country was doing everything it could to promote inclusion in political and public life without regard to ethnic of religious background, he said, adding that efforts had also been undertaken to tackle the root causes of conflict and to promote peace and stability.
EBUN JUSU, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sierra Leone, said that her country attached great importance to NEPAD. With accelerated growth over the last decade, improvements in governance, the “spectre of conflict” receding and leadership expanding, “it is clear that Africa is at a critical turning point”. Steady progress was also recorded in malaria control and prevention mechanisms, with many households sleeping under treated mosquito nets. As a further commitment, some African Heads of State, including the President of Sierra Leone, had launched the African Leaders Malaria Alliance with the goal of ending preventable malaria deaths by 2015. She noted, however, that progress made so far continued to have less impact in the face of the deepening effects of an unprecedented global economic and financial crisis, as well as of climate change — a crisis that undoubtedly had a much graver impact on the developing world, in particular the least developed countries, most of which were in Africa.
There was an increasing awareness that the responsibility for peace and security in Africa, including the capacity to address the root causes of conflict and to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner, lay primarily with African countries themselves. The African Union and sub-regional organizations had undertaken to strengthen their capacity in conflict prevention and resolution. While those efforts were ongoing, however, there was a new wave of challenges including transnational organized crime, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, terrorism, piracy, lagging governance, human rights and threats to democracy, drought, famine and corruption.
Furthermore, while the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger remained the main development challenge, most African countries were also grappling with the issues of youth unemployment, climate change, and inadequate productive capacity. Thus, the need to forge coordinated partnerships to strengthen capacities to respond to crises and security threats, particularly in conflict and post-conflict countries, remained a vital in ensuring durable peace. “There is a clear need to step up efforts to improve the early-warning system of impending threats to peace and stability in Africa”, she added.
In that context, and in keeping with internationally agreed development outcome documents — including the Millennium Development Goals, the Rio+20 outcome document, the 2012 Istanbul Programme of Action and others — Sierra Leone urged development partners to met their commitments and deliver on the pledges made at the Busan Partnership for Aid Effectiveness to achieve an ODA target of 0.7 per cent and .15 for the developing and least developed countries respectively. Describing her country’s Agenda for Change 2008 — a development and peace-building framework which set clear priorities targeting drivers of growth and necessary conditions for sustainable development — as well as other national programmes and legislation, she said that education enrolments had risen and barriers to business had been reduced. Large infrastructure programmes had been launched, and there were highly favourable private sector investment incentives that had resulted in a substantial increase in foreign direct investment, she said.
AMERICO BEVIGLIA ZAMPETTI, speaking for the Delegation of the European Union, recalled that, at the third Africa-European Union Summit held in 2010, leaders from both parties had renewed their commitments to work together to tackle global challenges — including climate change, conflict prevention and good governance — and to address energy, infrastructure, food security, and the Millennium Development Goals as a priority. They had emphasized the need to encourage investment, growth and employment, in particular for the young generation. The European Union recognized the essential role played by NEPAD in the definition of continental policy frameworks and programmes, respecting in full the notions of subsidiarity and ownership, and as a monitor of commitments towards African development needs.
He said that support from the international community must be aimed at assisting African institutions and African countries to develop their own capacities to promote continental, regional and national projects and to mobilize the necessary resources for the priorities identified. The European Union’s aim was to support Africa’s political and economic integration, through enhanced trade, a strengthened political partnership, an increased cooperation in promising new areas, and support for institutional capacity building at the national, regional and continental level.
For the European Union, the Joint Africa-European Union Strategy adopted in 2007 formed the strategic framework for its steadily expanding cooperation and dialogue with Africa. That partnership was guided by the fundamental principles of the Unity of Africa, the interdependence of Africa and Europe, shared values and interests, as well as joint ownership and responsibilities. Noting progress made by both the African-led peace support operations and through the establishment of its peace and security architecture, he said that the Union had supported those processes by contributing more than 1 billion Euros since 2004.
“Africa also continues to face a huge burden of potentially preventable and treatable diseases, which caused deaths and untold suffering, while simultaneously blocking economic development and damaging the continent’s social fabric”, he said, adding that significant progress had been made in the global fight against malaria in recent years, including in Africa. “But progress will rapidly be reversed if we relax out joint efforts”, he stressed. There was still much to do to drive the number of cases and deaths due to malaria down even further.
He said that as the world’s largest donor both in general and in the health sector in particular, the European Union would continue to lead collective efforts to target malaria, always seeking the most efficient modes of delivery and working through national Governments, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the United Nations system and other relevant organization and mechanisms, including non-governmental organizations and the Roll-Back Malaria Partnership.
PAULETTE A. BETHEL ( Bahamas) speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said she was pleased to reaffirm the delegation’s commitment to the African continent. “The golden thread” that joined the Caribbean and Africa had been created by shared struggles and common aspirations, she noted in that regard. At a recent African Diaspora Summit, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, leaders of that community had gathered to celebrate the rich threads of the African Diaspora, which were interwoven into the tapestry that was Africa. The Caribbean Community had embarked on practical engagement with the African region, which had materialized in increased its representation on the continent, greater exchanges between regional secretariats, and other things. The two regional communities were also working together to establish a permanent memorial of the African Slave trade at the United Nations as an acknowledgment of a dark period in the regions’ shared history.
With regard to the Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of NEPAD, the Caribbean Community viewed with encouragement the stories of hope that seemed to emerge from its pages, replacing the old image of Africa as a “continent of despair”. CARICOM acknowledged, and was heartened, by Africa’s notable strides in strengthening mechanisms for inclusive participation sustainable development and other areas. But the achievement of sustainable development and durable peace remained a challenge for many of the countries of the region. There was a need for more concerted action in support of the continent in order to deal with the manifest challenges that existed. She recognized the need to support the framework for peacebuilding and conflict resolution in Africa, as well as to support equitable economic growth and to strengthen democracy. It was also necessary to enhance human capital, reduce vulnerability and deal with issues that created conflict and stymied development.
She therefore called on the international community and its financial intuitions to “stay the course”, and noted that, for partnerships to succeed, the mutual interest and the concerns of all parties must be considered. Developing States must be able to draw on each others’ strengths; South-South partnerships were therefore another crucial part of the response. Where climate change was concerned, the different geographies of the Caribbean region and Africa made for different challenges. But in both regions, a speedy response — including the fulfilment of related pledges — was needed sooner, rather than later.
MOOTAZ AHMADEIN KHALIL ( Egypt) said his Government, as one of the five NEPAD founding countries, was proud of the progress achieved in the main areas of the Partnership’s development agenda, particularly in agriculture and food security, infrastructure and regional integration, human development, information and communication technology and empowerment of women. He recalled that the Rio+20 outcome document had reiterated the international community’s commitment to fully implement NEPAD’s goals and to help tackle Africa’s special development challenges. At the same time, to consolidate the progress made, African Governments must double their efforts to mobilize more domestic resources for development financing and build on the sound macro-economic policies that were enabling Africa to mitigate the adverse impacts of the world financial and economic crisis on the development gains.
Egypt looked forward to the resumption by the Group of Eight of its engagement with Partnership and expected the United Kingdom, the current chair of the Group, to invite founding NEPAD countries to participate in a meeting on the margins of the next Group of Eight Summit. The various summits and high-level meetings on Africa convened on the margins of General Assembly’s general debate this year had been a testimony to the growing partnership between the United Nations, the African Union and sub-regional organizations in addressing the challenges of peace and security in Africa, in line with Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
Egypt would host in the first week of November the third High-Level Retreat on the Promotion of Peace, Security and Stability in Africa. He said that last month, Egypt had organized a joint meeting for the African and Arab Peace and Security Councils at the ministerial level. On the impact of malaria on the continent, he urged developed countries to waive intellectual property rights for basic medicines, or at least subsidize the royalties owned by their companies.
RAYMOND SERGE BALÉ ( Republic of Congo) said that for a decade NEPAD had embodied a common African vision based on regional political and economic integration. Africa had overcome the burdens of its history and had made significant progress for the last 20 years. Despite the global economic slowdown, the strategic framework offered by NEPAD had enabled significant growth in many areas, especially in agriculture, thanks to the CAADP, which put the Millennium Development Goals in sight for many African countries. NEPAD’s strategic support had also facilitated regional and sub-regional advances, particularly in the field of infrastructure. In its own development, the Republic of Congo was stressing NEPAD priorities that fuelled development: energy and transport.
Positive results could only flourish under conditions of peace, security and good governance, he continued, noting that there were now 31 countries participating in the African Peer Review Mechanism. While problems remained, movement toward good governance had become an irreversible process. He stressed the need for a more integrated approach to the issues of peace, security and development, and at the same time, greater reflection on causes of conflict other than poor management of diversity, which had been well-documented in the Secretary-General’s report.
Sustainable development goals and the post-2015 agenda should be mutually reinforcing and reflect the priorities of African countries and NEPAD, he said. While it was up to African States to master their own development, the continent’s development partners must not ignore the significant progress Africa had made, and, recalling numerous commitments that had not been met, said they must be equitable partners. Africa had become a key player in the twenty-first century, contributing to world globalization. Africa’s destiny was linked to that of the rest of the world. The international community must work with African States to implement NEPAD priorities to be truly viable partners.
CHERYL SABAN ( United States) said that her delegation strongly supported efforts by the African continent to create equitable economic growth. It would continue to support the Partnership as the strategic framework to that end, she said, adding that “NEPAD is bearing fruit”. The Secretary-General’s report described real economic progress on the African continent, which was expected to grow at 4.8 per cent in 2012 — largely on track despite setbacks in other regions. African exports were growing at an annual rate of 32 per cent. A third of African economies would grow at, or above 6 per cent, despite difficult global conditions. The United States supported NEPAD’s priorities, including democracy, good governance, the enhancement of regional and national level infrastructure, and food security and nutrition, among others. Her delegation had pledged over $3.5 billion to boost regional agricultural capacity and increase private sector investment in agriculture, among other related goals.
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition launched at last year’s Group of Eight Summit had as its goal the lifting of 50 million people out of poverty in the next 10 years. In addition, she said, activities in support of public-private partnerships showed that ODA alone would not achieve the desired results. In a resource-constrained environment, the United States agreed with the Secretary-General that United Nations entities and affiliates must work together along with their African partners, and in line with NEPAD’s collective vision. Recalling that the Assembly was also addressing the issue of the Roll Back Malaria Decade, she said that the United States recognized the negative impact of malaria on economic and social development in developing countries. The President’s Malaria Initiative and contributions to the Global Fund were examples of the United States efforts in that area, she said, encouraging all donor and recipient nations to support such efforts through both financing and political commitments.
RON PROSOR ( Israel) said he spent part of his childhood growing up in Africa, while the continent itself had been “growing up”. “My understanding of Africa is not based on textbooks, or movies, or safaris,” he said, recalling the excitement that went along with the independence of what had then been Tanganyika and the strong desire of the African people to take control of their destiny. Both the Ethiopian and Jewish traditions told the story of the Queen of Sheba. After hearing about the wisdom of Israel’s King Solomon, she embarked on a three-year journey to meet the only ruler at the time who could match her intellect, ambition and visionary leadership. Today, the women of Africa carried the same determination and spirit. Belyyanesh Zevadia was born in Ethiopia and immigrated to Israel as a young girl. Earlier this year, she had returned to Ethiopia to serve as Israel’s Ambassador in Addis Ababa. Her story revealed a secret to success for Israel and African societies, which were both driven forward by strong, empowered women.
On NEPAD, he described how Israeli health clinics had improved maternal and baby health in Ghana and how its drip irrigation system was increasing crop yields in Senegal. Israeli support had also been extended to Cameroon and Kenya, among others, benefiting people there. The NEPAD was about supporting Africa as its people turned ideas into action and problems into solutions. As a person who had the opportunity to witness firsthand the resourcefulness of and resolve of the African people, he said he strongly believed that “every African problem has an African solution,” adding that “to be true partners, the international community must hear the distinctive sound of the African continent, feel its beat, and move to its rhythm.”
YUSURA KHAN ( Indonesia) said that his Government had built a solid base for extensive cooperation with Africa, especially in trade and investment, tourism, information and communications technology, and the environment, through the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership. Indonesia had assisted in capacity building in the field of agriculture and food security by such measures as transferring appropriate technology and continued to work with several African countries to develop rice fields for varieties suitable for the continent’s weather and farming conditions.
The public health threat from malaria and other communicable diseases had not diminished, he continued. Transfer of knowledge and capacity building needed to be further developed and broadened by including, but not limited to, a South-South cooperation framework. As managing pandemic diseases required huge resources, global action was indispensable for the effectiveness at the nation level. Any malaria eradication program must be community-driven and have clear, precise, timely targets. Anti-malaria drugs should be used correctly under healthcare personnel supervision. Malaria patients must have access to high quality diagnosis and early treatment. And bilateral, regional and multilateral partnerships, including public-private partnerships, should be encouraged and strengthened to achieve a malaria-free world. At the national level, his Government had taken the necessary measures to achieve a malaria-free Indonesia by 2030.
DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa) noting that 2012 marked the tenth anniversary of the African Union, and that the first female Chair of the organization had assumed office two days ago, said that that body had grown out of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) once it had realized its primary mandate of liberating the continent from the scourges of colonization, imperialism and apartheid, to reclaim its rightful place in global affairs. Through the African Union, African countries sought to find new ways of dealing with complex challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and conflicts. The African Union had set up its own Peace and Security architecture aimed at conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. NEPAD provided a new dynamism to the African agenda for peace and development and signified Africa’s willingness, capacity and determination to assume control of its destiny.
Further, he said, NEPAD had been welcomed by the international community. For that reason, efforts should be made to ensure its successful implementation on the ground both by Africans and international partners despite the global economic downturn. NEPAD remained the critical blueprint for Africa’s development and had helped to accelerate the pace of Africa’s development, providing the continent’s economies with the opportunity to trade and invest with each other, to share expertise and in the attainment of international development goals, particularly the Millennium Goals.
NEPAD had entered the second decade of its implementation phase, which was critical to following up the outcome of Rio+20 he said. NEPAD’s priorities must be incorporated into the new development agenda, among them the seven regional infrastructure projects endorsed by the African Union under the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative. The United Nations should also continue supporting intra-African trade through the continent’s regional integration agenda and by fast-tracking the establishment of the Pan-African Free Trade Area. On malaria, he supported coordination with neighbours to eliminate malaria across borders and called on international partners to complement national and sub-regional resources. He further supported the use of DDT for indoor residual spraying.
IBRAHIM ASSANE MAYAKI, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, said that the Assembly’s debate was critical to Africa’s development, particularly to bringing about settlement of international disputes by peaceful means. NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism for advancing governance best practices among political peers was unique in the world. NEPAD had guided African renewal since its inception, particularly through its Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program and Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, which both had been adopted by the African Union. African leaders had recently adopted the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative to fast track implementation of regional infrastructure projects.
The Infrastructure Programme, he continued, aimed to develop 37,200 km of highways, 30,200 km of railways and 16,500 km of interconnected power lines by 2040 to move persons, goods and services throughout the continent. To that end the NEPAD Coordinating Agency aimed to facilitate and coordinate development corridors, promote sustainable energy and expand Africa’s digital economy, and through CAADP the Agency was promoting increased private and public sector investments in agriculture. Partnership support through Scaling-Up Nutrition and the New Alliance for Nutrition and Food Security would help to achieve Millennium Development Goal 1. The Agency collaborated with regional economic communities, development banks, civil society and the private sector to implement NEPAD programmes.
Africa had registered over 5 per cent annual growth over the last 10 years and was committed to aiming for inclusive and equitable double digit growth to sustain its continued transformation, he continued. Mobilization of domestic resources was critical to implement regional projects given priority by NEPAD. NEPAD was collaborating with several United Nations agencies and the African Development Bank to come up with mechanisms to best use and mobilize domestic resources, it was also engaging with stakeholders to reduce illicit financial flows, which drained those resources.
Recently, barriers to regional trade integration were being reduced, he said. The continent was now seen as more investor friendly. Foreign direct investment in 2010 was 5 times what it been a decade ago, and in 2011, private equity firms had raised $1.5 billion for African projects, in part due to increased African private sector investments in the continent.
Applauding the Rio+20 outcome document’s affirmation of NEPAD as Africa’s sustainable development framework, he called on the international community to fulfil its commitments to the continent’s sustainable development. Complete implementation of the Framework of Action should use regional institutions as follow-up mechanisms and include the participation of women and youth. Overall, African countries had made significant progress to achieve the Millennium Goals, even though not all would be reached by 2015. The post-2015 agenda must take into account the sustainability of Africa’s growth and development. NEPAD, as the African Union’s flagship programme would promote sustainable development goals that combined economic, social and environmental solutions.
NNENNA EZEIGWE ( Nigeria) reiterated the need for more investments in agriculture, food security and health, which were some of the key sectors that required joint action by both African countries and their partners. As indicated by Secretary-General’s report, Africa’s share of the global agriculture market was extremely low and had further decreased in recent years. In a continuously interdependent global environment, Nigeria wished to emphasize the need for the implementation of commitments of development partners, and called on the Group of Eight to fulfil the Gleneagles pledges.
She agreed that the systematic exclusion of significant portions of society from institutions of political governance and key economic assets and social services were some of the causes of conflicts on the African continent. In that vein, she added, Nigeria remained concerned by reports of arms proliferation, which aggravated longstanding conflicts and induced terrorist activities in some parts of the continent. It was more worrisome still that criminal groups had taken the opportunity of unrest in some areas to increase recruitment and create local support networks.
“ Nigeria is not immune to some of these challenges”, she said, noting that her country was currently battling the “heinous and criminal activities” of the Boko Haram group. In the sub-region, Nigeria had been leading other African leaders to address the crises in the Sahel region. In that regard, she called on the international community to support the current moves of ECOWAS towards addressing the security situation of the region, especially the current situation in Mali. Describing her country’s efforts in a number of other priority areas, including the fight against malaria, she also stressed its commitment to uplifting the people of Africa. “The continent must neither be defined by violence nor failure”, she concluded.
HOR NAM BORA ( Cambodia) said that his delegation strongly supported the implementation of NEPAD and considered it an important tool to address poverty and underdevelopment throughout the African continent. As emphasized in the Secretary-General’s reports, most African countries faced serious challenges in reaching the Millennium Goals, particularly during the current fragile and uncertain global economic recovery. Cambodia shared the view that much needed to be done in support of Africa’s implementation of both NEPAD and the Millennium Goals. Continued attention and assistance for the continent should remain a focus of international development action plans and programmes, he stressed in that regard.
Cambodia reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening its cooperation and collaboration with Africa. It believed that through mutual support, sharing of experiences and practices in socio-economic development, both Cambodia and Africa could achieve their development objectives. “We believe that South-South cooperation is the best strategy to promote an Association of South-East Asian Nations and African partnership”, he emphasized, adding that such cooperation in key strategic areas such as the CAADP would significantly contribute to the continent’s development and integration, in terms of poverty and hunger eradication, agriculture and rural development, as well as mitigation and adaptation to climate change. In addition, Cambodia also supported the recommendation of establishing a review process as a monitoring mechanism of commitments to Africa’s development, he said.
VLADIMIR SERGEEV, Director of the Department of International Organizations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, highlighted his Government’s contributions to development in Africa, including its cancellation of more than $20 billion in the principal debt of African States. The Russian Federation had also signed “debt for development” bilateral “swap” agreements with Zambia and the United Republic of Tanzania to use for financing development projects, with preparation under way for signing similar agreements with Benin, Mozambique and Ethiopia. The Government also contributed $50 million to the World Bank Trust Fund to support vulnerable countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.
He said that other Russian assistance included donations to the World Food Programme (WFP) in 2011, which had been allocated to Ethiopia, Somalia, Guinea, Kenya and Djibouti, as well as its contributions to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which had been provided to Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Côte d’Ivoire had received Russian food aid through the International Civil Defence Organization. A targeted contribution had been made to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to strengthen its coordination capacity in the region, he added.
Social and economic progress and higher living standards in Africa were also promoted by further development of trade and economic relations and investments, he noted. A growing number of companies in the Russian Federation had come to realize that Africa was a continent of tremendous opportunities for business and had started or were expanding their presence there. African countries did or would enjoy extensive trade preferences, with the traditional exports of the least developed countries exempt from customs duties, he pointed out. The Russian Federation’s assistance extended to include the Education for All — Fast-Track Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, among others. As a permanent member of the Security Council, the Russian Federation made tangible contributions to the elaboration of a strategic policy and practical measures by the international community for strengthening peace and security in Africa.
TSUNEO NISHIDA ( Japan) said that since 2003, the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD) had emphasized both ownership by African countries and partnership with the international community. That forum had contributed to the realization of the priorities of NEPAD priorities, with participants from international and regional organizations, civil society actors and various donors. In 2008, the forum adopted the “Yokohama Action Plan,” in which Japan had made two main commitments, to double its ODA towards Africa to $1.8 billion by 2012 and to double its investment in Africa to $3.4 billion by 2012. With its investment having tripled, Japan had achieved and surpassed the latter goal.
Recalling the resolution adopted by the Assembly last month on a monitoring mechanism to review commitments made towards Africa’s development, he said Japan had established a follow-up system to monitor the progress of the commitments made at the 2008 TICAD conference. “This is a pioneering effort for improved accountability, and Japan is ready to share our experience,” he said. In June 2013, Japan will co-organize TICAD V in Yokohama to commemorate its twentieth anniversary and the fiftieth year of the former OAU.
OTHMAN JERANDI ( Tunisia) stressed the gaps and constraints in the area of support, noting that Africa had made considerable progress over the past 10 years, as pointed out in the Secretary-General reports, particularly in such sectors as energy, water supply, sanitation and information and communications technology, among others. In a time of a slow global economy, implementing the NEPAD priorities required the determination of Member States and other stakeholders. To solidify the progress made and objectives achieved, his delegation underscored the need to implement a monitoring mechanism designed to follow up on all commitments linked to Africa.
Turning to peace and security, he emphasized the importance of tackling root causes for underdevelopment and conflicts in Africa, the need to create an enabling environment for development. He was particularly concerned about youth unemployment, which had caused social tension considering that more than 60 per cent of the African population was under the age of 25. Tunisia called on development partners to redouble efforts in that regard towards a holistic approach, which would involve agriculture and food security, debt relief, foreign direct investment in order to help lasting peace and development. Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were undergoing democratic changes, emerging from decades of dictatorship and poor governance. As countries in democratic transition, those nations sought to rebuild their countries. He had profound a conviction that the international community shared a common destiny, stressing the need to make the continent’s development the priority task for all stakeholders.
WANG MIN ( China) said that six years since the establishment of the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, China had deepened its relations with African countries and regional organizations, including the African Union. China had rendered active support for Africa’s integration and kept increasing its support for NEPAD. In the past three years, China’s assistance to Africa had nearly doubled in total amount and increasingly targeted such areas as improving people’s lives, poverty reduction and alleviation, disaster prevention and mitigation, and capacity building.
China had built new schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and water supply projects for Africa, he noted, adding that it had made good on its pledge to provide $15 billion in preferential loans to Africa. He said that with China having been Africa’s largest trading partner for three consecutive years, Africa’s export to his country had grown doubled in that time.
At the fifth ministerial conference of the forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in July in Beijing, President Hu Jintao had announced actions the Government would take in several priority areas the coming years to support peace and development in Africa. China would provide $20 billion of credit line to African countries to assist them in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing and small and medium-sized enterprises. China would build more agricultural technology demonstration centres as necessary to help African countries increase production capacity, and would help them enhance capacity building in metrological infrastructure and forest protection and management. “ China attaches no political strings to its aid for Africa,” he declared.
ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal) said that NEPAD was a “bold programme of continental scale” which remained based on an “indigenous culture of development”. The plan provided a new concept for the nature and direction of the “best type of partnership” that Africa should have with the rest of the world. NEPAD also demanded concrete actions to be taken by the wider international community, he stressed. Over the last eleven years, Africa had made significant progress, including in extinguishing hotbeds of crises, promoting human rights, empowering of women, and other areas. However, progress remained slow, and significant difficulties continued to cast a shadow over the future of the continent. Recent crises had mired Africa in difficulties, placing it at a “watershed moment” in its development, he said.
Indeed, despite satisfactory growth rates, Africa continued to be afflicted by endemic poverty; famine, unemployment, agricultural subsidies which impeded free trade, an energy crisis and other obstacles exacerbated that problem. In addition, serious threats weighed on the continent due to the “blind fanaticism of uncontrolled groups”. The firm will of the international community was needed in that regard, he stressed. In that vein, Senegal welcomed the 12 October resolution adopted by the Security Council, through which it had declared its readiness to consider action, through ECOWAS, in northern Mali. Senegal committed to ensuring the full success of that body’s peace plan, he stressed in that respect.
NORACHIT SINHASENI (Thailand), recalling that Africa was home to over a quarter of the United Nations family, with a combined population of over a billion people — one sixth of the world — said that it was therefore the shared commitment of Member States to promote stability and sustainable development on the continent. “ Africa continues to face a number of crises, from political conflict to economic slowdown, from terrorist and criminal activities to drought and famine”, he said. Together, African countries and the international community must ensure that such challenges did not undo the success and progress achieved to date. While pursuing people-centred development, Thailand believed that economic growth and sustainable development could be achieved only through the development of human capital.
Therefore, its partnerships with African countries had focused primarily on human resource development and capacity building in various fields, through bilateral, trilateral and multilateral cooperation. Thailand’s experience and expertise in agriculture, public health and education, he hoped, would be of value to Africa. As Thailand had learned from hard experience, there was no one-size-fits-all solution, especially when it came to development. Thailand had therefore implemented development programmes, tailored specifically to individual country needs, in Burundi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal and Sudan. Moreover, it had established a partnership with Lesotho in setting up an Agricultural Development and Sufficiency Economy Project.
PEDRO NÚÑEZ MOSQUERA ( Cuba) said the immensely rich African continent continued to face hardships, which was unacceptable. African nations were spending five times more on repaying debt than on development. The continent was subject to exploitation, with multilateral companies vying for natural resources. A handful of powerful countries had failed to honour their “modest commitments” for the development of Africa. Stressing the principle of sovereignty, Cuba supported African solutions for African problems.
He went on to say that decades of colonialism and exploitation and economic marginalization were among root causes for African problems. In that regard, Cuba welcomed the Assembly resolution 66/293, which established a monitoring mechanism to review commitments made to Africa. African slaves had been transpired to Cuba to work in sugar came plantations. The Cuban revolution had made it possible for his country to stand beside Africa, providing various support to the region, including in the areas of education, public health, sport and construction. Africa had always stood by Cuba, which had faced economic blockage for decades. Cuba sought equitable treatment for Africa, not favourable treatment.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said that this year’s debate on NEPAD took place amid the ongoing global economic and financial crisis, whose effects were felt in Africa more than anywhere else. NEPAD was a reference framework for partnerships between Africa and the rest of the world, he said; the path of development set up by the Partnership gave a central role to the concept of ownership, and provided “clear-headed leadership” that would turn its visions into political reactions. The setting up of a NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency was also an important development. He also welcomed the adoption of resolution 66/293 (2012) on setting up of a follow-up mechanism on the commitments undertaken by parties to Africa. NEPAD had also introduced into its strategy the setting up of a peer assessment system, he added; more than 30 countries had joined that mechanism, which would celebrate its 10-year anniversary in 2013, and a number had undergone a self-appraisal under its auspices.
In Africa during the next decade, efforts would be taken in the area of harmonizing sectoral policies, he continued. Agriculture would play a major role in the development of Africa, he added, as the continent considered that the development of regional and sub-regional agriculture constituted the “pedestal for its integration process”. In addition to the importance of social impacts related to the achievement of the Millennium Goals, and to the need to improve the attractiveness of Africa for investment flows, he also stressed that the support of the international community remained “insufficient”. He therefore called upon Member States to abide by their commitments undertaken in the area of ODA, among others.
ELIPHAS CHINYONGA, Assistant Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Zambia, said that, while the issues in the Secretary-General’s report had been identified before, what was noteworthy was that African nations had taken a leadership role in charting the course of their own development, especially in infrastructure. Zambia had identified that area as a priority in its Sixth National Development Plan (2011-2015) and was encouraging public-private partnerships to accelerate infrastructure development, especially for roads. Another priority area was human development — both a primary agent and a beneficiary of development — and Zambia aimed to develop skills that matched the labour market. In addition, Zambia saw the CAADP as a “window of opportunity” to develop the agricultural sector, and was committed to allocating the agreed minimum required resources of 10 per cent of the national budget to agriculture.
Turning to other issues, including that of tackling malaria in developing countries, he said the Government of Zambia was working to ensure that the country achieved the complete eradication of malaria by 2030. Therefore, working with partners such as the WHO, the African leaders Malaria Alliance, the United States Presidential Malaria Initiative and others, tangible results towards fighting the endemic disease had been noticed. He was happy to note, in that regard, that high-impact interventions had resulted in the reduction of malaria deaths of all ages by 66 per cent, thereby surpassing the 2010 Roll Back Malaria target by more than 50 per cent.
ANNE ANDERSON ( Ireland) said her country was deeply engaged with the “unfolding African story”, adding that from the very beginning, the primary focus of Ireland’s overseas development programme had been on Africa. The large majority of its aid partners were in Africa, and it was in Africa that it had always concentrated 80 per cent of its resources. Given the extent and pace of change in Africa, the Irish Government had launched an updated Africa Strategy last year. The new measures underlined the importance of the growing trade and investment links. Turning to the Roll Back Malaria Initiative, she noted that malaria was now in retreat across the global due to the enormous progress made. Ireland was a founding member of the Global Fund, with its contributions totalling 175 million dollars.
The report under consideration for today’s debate fully recognized the importance of agriculture and food and nutrition security to Africa’s development. That resonated with Ireland’s ODA priorities. In 2008, Ireland had set a target of allocating 20 per cent of its overseas development programme to hunger eradication. Earlier this year, that target had been met. Turning to the gender equality, she said that in all of Ireland’s engagement with Africa, her delegation placed priority on support for women’s land rights, their access to credit and improved farm inputs. In that regard, the landmark decision last week by Botswana’s High Court would hopefully have reverberations across the continent in terms of boosting women’s property rights.
LIMBIYE BARIKI-KADANGHA ( Togo) welcomed the themes of the joint debate, particularly malaria eradication. Malaria remained a major cause of mortality. Greater understanding of the disease and better health care services could help eradicate or at least significantly reduce the death toll. Malaria was a major health problem in Togo and there had been a marked increase in cases this rainy season. Malaria accounted for 38.9 per cent of consultations in clinics and 21.9 per cent of hospitalizations. Among the hardest hit was children under 5 and pregnant women.
Togo had sought to attain Millennium Goal 6 and implement its strategy for 2006 to 2010. The plan aimed to achieve the mosquito net coverage rate of 80 per cent. About 71 per cent of households were equipped with mosquito nets, with some 77 per cent of children protected. But some 64.7 per cent of women were still exposed to risk of malaria. On its way to achieving the 80 per cent coverage rate, Togo was determined to attain 75 per cent by 2015. Poor sanitation had created breeding grounds for mosquitoes and there was the need for intersectoral framework for improving sanitation. Malaria was “not just a public health issue but the question of development,” he said. His Government supported bilateral and multilateral cooperation in order to provide more lasting effective response. His Government took necessary steps to increase over time the budget in this field but that effort must be matched with aid by the international community.
U KYAW TIN ( Myanmar) said that as NEPAD entered its second decade, clear resolution and commitment, as well as policy actions, were essential to meet Africa’s development needs and to effectively and fully implement the Partnership’s agenda. Myanmar was pleased to witness Africa’s steady transformation in the face of tremendous challenges and was encouraged that even with a difficult geopolitical environment and the slowdown of the world economy, growth on the continent was resilient with a growth rate of 4.5 per cent in 2011. However, that growth was inadequate to reduce poverty significantly and the continent still lagged behind other regions with regard to progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially with the increased effects of climate change and food insecurity.
He said it was evident that while domestic leadership was a key to Africa’s development, a strengthened and sustained global partnership was critical for the success of its development endeavours. Even though development partners had committed to help Africa’s development needs, including the implementation of NEPAD priorities, limited progress had been made in that regard. He therefore added his voice to those that called for the international community to increase its support for Africa and help it attain greater achievements in the implementation of the NEPAD.
PALITHA KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) said that the Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries was particularly relevant to his country. The socioeconomic advantages of Sri Lanka’s public health delivery system had been acknowledged globally, and were positively reflected in the very low child and maternal mortality rates of the country. Sri Lanka — once plagued by malaria — now experienced sporadic cases of the disease; it had nearly eliminated malaria once, in 1963, when there had been only 17 cases. However, with funding declining and reduced spraying and surveillance, there had been a massive resurgence of up to 1.5 million cases in 1967-1968. Since 1970, Sri Lanka had been working to bring malaria back under control, with significant success. There had been a dramatic reduction in the case load in the past decade, from more than 210,000 cases in 2000 to 558 cases in 2009, a 99.7 per cent reduction. In 2011, he added, only 124 locally acquired cases were reported.
The country was also unique in that it had made those reductions despite nearly three decades of internal conflict, he went on. Among the keys to success was the ability of Sri Lanka’s national programme to be flexible and adapt to difficult and volatile conditions. Public health workers had deployed mobile clinics equipped with malaria diagnostics and drugs to protect hard-to-reach and displaced populations. In addition, he commended the significant progress made globally against malaria in recent years, with the help of the United Nations and other partners, including bilateral and multilateral agencies. Sri Lanka was ready to share its experience with others, he said in that regard.
SÉRGIO RODRIGUES DOS SANTOS ( Brazil) said: “the Secretary-General’s tenth progress report on NEPAD shows that Africa is undergoing a profound economic, social and political transformation”. Cooperation remained the key strategy for success as development achievements demanded concerted actions on multiple fronts in order to ensure inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth. Briefly describing the challenges that lay ahead, he said that the situation was further aggravated by a slow pace in the increase of ODA to Africa. As noted by the Secretary-General’s report, the continent had received only around half of the increase pledged at the 2005 Group of Eight Gleneagles Summit. Brazil welcomed, in that regard, the adoption of resolution 66/293 on a monitoring mechanism to review commitments made, and called upon all donor countries to fulfil those commitments as a matter of urgency.
The Rio+20 conference had provided important tools for the international community to step up its efforts in all three dimensions of sustainable development — economic, social and environmental. Based on the principle of national ownership and leadership, NEPAD had Brazil’s full and enthusiastic support as it offered an effective framework for cooperation and development, rooted in African perspectives and African priorities. The continent also remained a priority for Brazilian foreign policy, he added, noting that, over the last decade, Brazil had increased its presence in Africa, including through the establishment of a growing network of diplomatic and trade missions in the continent. Bilateral economic ties between Brazil and African countries had also prospered, with trade flows increasing more than six fold in the past decade, from $4.2 billion in 2002 to over $27 billion in 2011.
ANTÓNIO GUMENDE ( Mozambique) said his Government believed that international development assistance was remained critical to help the African continent build and consolidate the foundations for growth that would eventually help reduce dependence by investing in infrastructure and social sectors such as health and education. Thus, while encouraged by the modest increase in the levels of ODA to Africa — up from $47 billion in 2010 to $50 billion in 2011 — Mozambique renewed its call to the international community to ensure that the shortfalls in attaining the agreed levels of financial commitments made at the United Nations conferences and by the Group of Eight, including those relating to the financing of food security and agriculture programmes, would soon be resolved.
Only with the support of its development partners could Africa successfully address the prevailing challenges and get on the path to sustainable development in peace and achieve the Millennium Goals. To that end, he agreed with the Secretary-General’s recommendations and stressed that, for the continent to continue to consolidate the socio-economic and political achievements made so far, priority needed to be given to strengthening, among others, inclusive governance, partnerships between public and private sectors to expand economic opportunities, build infrastructure, develop local economies and reduce poverty, and sustained global partnerships.
On Malaria, he pointed out that the disease remained a great concern for Mozambique’s development efforts as it accounted for a high percentage of the country’s disease burden, with children under 5, pregnant women, socially disadvantaged groups and people living with HIV/AIDS being the most vulnerable. Accordingly, the Government was actively engaged in establishing participative and integrated strategies to mitigate the impact of diseases that directly affected the social and economic structure. He said in the efforts to address the scourge, partnerships with relevant stakeholders in the country and with neighbouring countries were of paramount importance. As such, Mozambique was part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Group of Eight Pilot Countries that in 2009 had signed as agreement establishing 2020 as a target for malaria eradication.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA ( Equatorial Guinea) joined others in expressing gratitude for efforts carried out over the decade to eradicate malaria and promote sustainable development in Africa. Despite those efforts, however, malaria caused a large number of deaths and hampered economic growth. In recent years, there was a rapid increase in different means of controlling malaria, with related deaths reduced by 38 per cent. That advancement must be further reinforced in order to eradicate the pandemic. Equatorial Guinea cosponsored the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Award for a project in the area. An anti-malaria project would soon be extended to the mainland of his country. Equatorial Guinea was a success story in that it had reduced incidence of malaria by 57 per cent in just four years.
FORTUNA DIBACO CIZARE ( Ethiopia) said that Africa was witnessing a new era of renewed momentum and was no longer seen as a marginalized part of the world fit only for consideration from the perspective of the provision of humanitarian assistance. Even during “difficult times” globally, Africa had continued to register growth. That did not apply to all countries in the region, but to enough of them for the trend to be considered broadly representative. It was projected that Africa would be growing at the rate of 5 per cent over the next decade, but that was not sufficient to ensure the graduation of most of African’s least developed countries to a middle income status. To achieve more positive results, the global economic and financial situation must improve, including in the area of development financing.
Ethiopia reaffirmed its commitment to NEPAD’s vision of Africa taking full ownership of its development process, attaching great importance to strengthening regional integration. She said that the electric power connections and the road networks that Ethiopia had built were now extending to Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya and South Sudan, and were becoming emblematic of her country’s resolve to play its part in regional integration. She believed that such infrastructure development would create larger markets and develop stronger economies to facilitate and enhance regional economic transformation.
BASHAR ALI ALDUWAISAN (Kuwait) regretted that 11 years after African states adopted the NEPAD initiative to achieve economic and social development, increased poverty and the continued spread of dangerous and communicable diseases, coupled with progressive decrease in economic support, still plagued the continent. That situation called for a “serious stand” from the international community to contemplate how to support and assist the African states, including through adherence to the resolutions and commitments to increase ODA. During the past five years, the world had witnessed the emergence of numerous international challenges and dangers that had impeded the development efforts in a significant number of developing countries.
Perhaps the most pressing of those challenged were the rise in the prices of food, the turmoil in the financial markets, in addition to the global economic crisis. However, he said that Kuwait believed that despite the significance of those crises, they should not impede fulfilment of the international community’s commitment to support development in the developing and least developed countries. To that end, Kuwait’s foreign policy emanated from its conviction that the advancement of the economies of developing and least developed countries, and lending them a hand to achieve their development goals, would benefit all, consolidate partnerships and cooperation, and further strengthen the global trade and economic systems. Recognizing the importance of joint work in the interest of the peoples of the developing countries, Kuwait had established the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development whose activities had expanded to some 102 countries worldwide. The Fund had spent more than $6.4 billion on development projects in Africa, he said.
SOLOMON MAINA ( Kenya) said that the need for a monitoring mechanism on Africa’s development was important, as it would help in identifying the existing gaps in numerous crucial sectors. The mechanism was also important as it would hold partner agencies and countries accountable, as well as maintain political momentum in efforts towards achieving internationally agreed development goals. Africa was the most infrastructure-deficient region globally. The continent required massive investment in that sphere — including transport, energy, information and communication technology, water and sanitation — to strengthen the platform for sustained growth.
Thus it was estimated that the region would need to commit over $200 billion annually to develop capacity for sustainable development. That was far below what the continent received through ODA and national budget allocations, he said. In fact, available data showed that the continent was only able to marshal a third of the resources required to meet the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development goals. “It is now a reality that no country in sub-Saharan Africa is on course to achieve all the [Millennium Development Goals] targets by 2015”, he said. While some countries had made commendable progress in that regard, others were not on track to realize any of the targets, and some had in fact recorded negative growth and reversed gains.
For its part, Kenya had had a mixed experience in the pursuit of the Goal targets. It had significantly reduced the proportion of the population living below the poverty line, and was on course to achieve the Goal on universal primary education. Positive progress had also been witnesses in gender equality and women’s empowerment. Like many developing countries, it still faced numerous challenges, particularly in the area of health. Turning to the post-2015 development agenda, he stressed that the transition into that agenda must be made “with a degree of continuity”. “The new development agenda should be formulated through a participatory, inclusive and bottom-up process and should be [United Nations]-led”, he stressed.
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