[Watch the video on webtv.un.org]
Welcome to the Africa Dialogue Series.
As we look to build and bolster multilateralism, we need strong coalitions across international and regional organizations, the private sector, civil society, academia, the media and more. The Africa Dialogue Series is an important part of this effort.
The United Nations and the African Union are deepening our strategic partnership in all areas. We confirmed this once again at the AU-UN Annual Conference earlier this month, when the United Nations and the AU agreed to continue our cooperation on climate action, on implementing the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063, on human rights, humanitarian issues and more.
Our joint commitment to peace and security on the African continent was demonstrated most recently in February, when the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2457 on steps towards ending conflict in Africa through enhanced international cooperation and partnership. We are working together on conflict prevention, including through the African Women Leaders Network and the AU’s Silencing the Guns Initiative. I will continue to push the Security Council for assessed contributions to finance AU-led peace support operations, and to work with you on the agreed frameworks, including on cost-sharing.
While we have made some progress in our peace efforts, we face headwinds.
In Libya and Sudan, we need urgent coordinated action to stabilize the situation and pave the way for sustainable peace. In the Central African Republic, we welcome the peace accord brokered by the African Union and will work closely with you on national reconciliation and peace consolidation. In South Sudan, we will continue protecting civilians, as we support the peace process and move towards longer-term stability.
The African Union has chosen “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa” as its theme for 2019 and for this Dialogue Series.
African countries have a long record of keeping their borders, doors and hearts open to refugees and internally displaced people – an example not followed by everyone in the world. This year, we mark the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity Refugee Convention and the tenth anniversary of the Kampala Convention on Internally Displaced Persons – the only regional convention of its kind.
During my time as High Commissioner for Refugees, I witnessed the solidarity and hospitality of African countries. Many continue to set the global standard. Countries like Uganda, Djibouti, Rwanda and Ethiopia are taking innovative action to recognize and promote the rights of refugees. And African countries played a key role in securing the approval of the Global Compact on Refugees last year.
Over the next two days, I urge you to build on best practices; to look for short and long-term solutions; to create new and innovative partnerships; to identify areas for stronger international support; and to continue your leadership on this issue.
The best way to protect refugees and displaced people is to prevent them from having to leave their homes. That means tackling root causes: poverty, conflict, discrimination and exclusion of all kinds.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 are our roadmap. Both agendas are aligned around a people-centred and planet-sensitive transformation. Eradicating poverty is their overriding priority.
We are working closely together to mainstream these agendas into national development plans, and to operationalize the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, to help countries reap the benefits of migration while securing the rights of migrants.
However, we must redouble our efforts if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063. On the current trajectory, we will only be halfway towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.
Financing is critical. My Strategy for Financing the 2030 Agenda sets out ways to align national and global financial strategies behind the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations will continue to support African countries in their efforts to mobilize domestic resources, and to urge the international community to curb illicit financial flows and end money laundering.
All countries, particularly developed countries, must fulfil the commitments made in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
In September, the world will gather for a series of Summits to take stock of progress made and to mobilize greater urgency, ambition and action.
This will include the SDG Summit and meetings on Financing for Development, Universal Health Coverage, and the situation of Small Island Developing States.
I will also convene a Climate Action Summit on 23 September, bringing together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities and other international organizations to showcase and develop the ambitious solutions we need.
Climate change jeopardises all our plans for inclusive and sustainable development, and many African countries are particularly vulnerable despite contributing little to global warming. Rising sea levels, droughts, floods, the spread of tropical diseases and the loss of biodiversity could be devastating.
Climate change also multiplies other challenges, other threats, including poverty, conflict and particularly displacement, and slows economic growth, reducing opportunities for inclusive, sustainable development in Africa and beyond.
We must address this global emergency with ambition and urgency.
I urge you to consider the issue of displacement in the broadest context, in your search for sustainable and durable solutions.
I wish you successful deliberations in this Africa Dialogue Series.