Opening remarks by H.E. Mr Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly, at The Africa We Want in 2030, 2063 and Beyond
20 April 2016
Thank you very much Under-Secretary General Abdelaziz.
His Excellency Mr. Itno, Her Excellency Dr. Zuma, Deputy-Secretary General Jan Eliasson, (Representative of Sweden TBC), Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a pleasure to be with you this morning during what is turning out to be a very busy and interesting week here at the UN.
The subject before us is one that interests me greatly.
Last September leaders from all 193 UN member states set a very high bar for the world: to eradicate poverty, and achieve sustainability by 2030.
African countries, however, were already ahead of the curve and had set their own high bar with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 “The Africa We Want.”
The priorities identified by both Agendas are very much aligned in part because of the influence of the African Common Position on the 2030 agenda negotiations.
The challenge now, however, and the subject of tomorrow’s High Level Thematic Debate, is to move from talking about the what, to acting on the how.
The journey ahead of us will be difficult.
The ambitions we have set are daunting.
At the same time, the new Agendas provide us with a pathway out of current crises and an opportunity to prevent them from repeating in the future.
The close alignment between both Agenda’s should reinforce ownership and synergies in planning, implementation and in monitoring.
Equally, we should bear in mind that we are by no means starting from scratch.
Practically all African countries have already experienced the different successes and failures of the MDG era.
You are familiar with the processes around such regional or international agendas.
While the new agendas demand transformation; they are not demanding that we stop what we are doing.
They are demanding that we re-focus, re-commit and transition to an approach that is more people and planet centred.
It is clear from the Agenda 2063, that African leaders recognize that change will not happen overnight but equally, that change will only happen if is driven by African governments and the African people.
At the same time, a global partnership that delivers on promises made in Addis last year is also needed.
International partners must meet their ODA commitments, take effective action to tackle tax evasion and other illicit financial flows and partner with African governments to help attract greater investment, to support access to technology, to strengthen capacity and more.
It is not enough to reiterate old commitments, it is time to show that we are serious about meeting those commitments.
Furthermore, as we saw in the MDG era, multi-stakeholder partnerships will also be critical.
We need to adapt old partnerships, create new ones where needed and ensure that they are supporting or complementing national plans.
Equally, allowing civil society to monitor progress, to contribute their skills and to bring the voices of vulnerable to the table is critical not just to delivering on the promise to leave no one behind but to meeting the overall promise of these Agendas – of better standards of living in larger freedom.
Lastly, I am keenly aware that, the humanitarian struggles facing the African continent are immense.
I have sought to bring the gaps in funding to meet humanitarian needs in Africa to the attention of the General Assembly and I stand ready to assist further however I can.
The World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May and the GA high-level meeting on migrants and refugees, however, provide us with opportunities to overhaul a broken humanitarian system and to rebuild international consensus around the need to respect the rights of migrants and refugees.
If we are serious about the SDGs and the 2063 Agenda, then we have to get our humanitarian response right.
We have to strengthen the link to longer term development.
We have to get the foundations right.