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At UN debate, African leaders say global sustainability agenda must reflect local realities

Africa Renewal December 2019 - March 2020 Issue

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At UN debate, African leaders say global sustainability agenda must reflect local realities

Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira da Costa of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Cia Pak
Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira da Costa of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Cia Pak

29 September 2014 – With a new sustainable development agenda as the focus of this year’s annual General Assembly debate, African leaders today called on the United Nations to take into consideration the continent’s specific realities and challenges.

The Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira da Costa, as the first speakers of the high-level debate’s second week, outlined six pillars on which African has anchored its sustainable development.

These pillars “emanate from the aspirations of our African nations, and all partners of the African continent must take them into account… in their affirmation of the dignity of our people,” he said.

The pillars include structural economic transformation and inclusive growth; science, technology, and innovation; people-centred development; environmental sustainability, natural resource management and disaster management; peace and security; and finance and partnerships.

In his address, Mr. Costa also highlighted Sao Tome and Principe’s location in the Gulf of Guinea, a region that is “strongly affected by piracy, terrorism, drug trafficking, and other illicit acts committed at sea.”

As part of efforts to counter these phenomena, the Prime Minister welcomed the establishment of the Inter-regional Coordination Center (CIC) which will soon be operational.

He urged the international community to “continue with us on this arduous path toward ensuring our collective security.”

The Prime Minister is one of an expected 196 speakers to take the floor since last Wednesday to address the UN body on the theme of the debate, “Delivering on and Implementing a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda” as well as urgent crises ranging from the ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine and South Sudan.

Also today, the Vice-President of Angola, Manuel Vicente, told the General Assembly that “Africa has ceased to represent that image of desolation that it did in the beginning of the millennium.”

Manuel Domingos Vicente, Vice President of the Republic of Angola, addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Cia Pak

He noted that the average growth on the continent is five per cent per year and that several countries have improved their human development indicators.

The Vice-President urged the international community to also consider the negative impact of regional insecurity on development and people’s wellbeing in parts of the continent.

Angola, which holds the rotating presidency of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, aims to attain “stability, political and institutional development, internal and border security, as well as good governance and human rights.”

Among other issues, Mr. Vicente highlighted the need to reform the Security Council to make it more in line with the current international context and reflect “an equitable geographical representation.”

In the Kingdom of Swaziland, food security remains a critical challenge. Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, in his address to the UN body, reiterated a call for the provision of adequate financial resources, transfer of environmentally-sound technologies and technical assistance to development countries.

Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini of the Kingdom of Swaziland addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Cia Pak

He said Africa had abundant resources, but needs to add value to products to maximize food production initiatives.