Annan calls on world to help Africa battle AIDS and ensure peace
Addressing the Africa-France summit in Paris, the Secretary-General also called on the world to help Africa end conflicts in the continent by supporting African peacekeeping bodies, and to boost food production through the immediate launching of a "green revolution."
Devoting most of his speech to the AIDS pandemic's devastating impact in Africa, Mr. Annan said the high-level Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa will study the links between the disease and governance in various sectors, including agriculture, youth and the military, and will provide advice on how to stem the tide of AIDS across Africa.
The Secretary-General noted that AIDS was worsening the food crisis by taking away farming skills along with its victims, and tearing the social fabric because of the disproportionate toll on women, who care for the young, the old, the sick and dying and whose expert knowledge of alternative foods kept families going during times of drought.
"Nowhere is an effective African response more critical than in the fight against AIDS," he said.
Mr. Annan also noted several recent initiatives like the UN Millennium Declaration and the New Partnership for Africa's Development that provided mechanisms for the international community to assist Africa in responding to the AIDS crisis.
Turning to other issues confronting the continent, the Secretary-General called for all-out efforts to settle the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire, which has caused hundreds of deaths and large-scale displacement. But, he stressed, that crisis should not cloud the progress made in Angola, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Africans are showing real determination to settle their conflicts, with tangible results.
"That makes it all the more important for the international community to provide strong support to Africa's peacekeeping and peacemaking mechanisms and institutions - as set out, for example, in the G-8 Action Plan for Africa. Africa cannot afford further turmoil - but if it erupts, Africa must have the capacity to respond," Mr. Annan added, referring to the plan drawn up at a summit of the world's eight most industrialized countries last June in Canada.