Migiro calls for strengthening UN-African Union cooperation
In an address to the AU summit in Accra on Sunday, Ms. Migiro noted that Africa has made progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of anti-poverty targets for the year 2015, but noted that enormous challenges remain. She cited the example of maternal mortality, pointing out that a woman in Africa has a 1 in 16 chance of dying in childbirth or from complications in pregnancy, compared with a likelihood of 1 in 3,800 in the developed world.
Noting that this year marks the midpoint between the adoption of the Goals in 2000 and the target date of 2015, Ms. Migiro said called for “more resolute efforts, and deeper partnerships, to reduce poverty, to address the needs in health, education and other sectors, and to promote gender equality.”
She drew particular attention to the burden of HIV and AIDS on women, pointing out that in sub-Saharan Africa, women represent nearly 60 per cent of all people living with HIV, and nearly 3 out of 4 young people between 15 and 24 years old who are living with HIV are female. “Women are also more likely to be the ones caring for people infected with HIV,” she noted, urging efforts to promote gender equality “as a way to fight AIDS.”
Ms. Migiro also underscored the wider benefits of helping women, declaring that “only by empowering women and girls can we achieve true and lasting development.”
The Deputy Secretary-General pledged the UN’s commitment to improving its work in the field. “And the United Nations will be Africa’s trusted partner in addressing the challenge of climate change, whose impact will fall disproportionately on some of the continent’s poorest nations,” she said.
She called for collective energies to also focus on preventing and ending conflict, and on assisting countries that are emerging from war. “Only by working together, through genuine partnership, can we overcome the challenges that confront this rich and varied continent.”
Ms. Migiro praised the work of the AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). “The United Nations is working with the African Union to develop a Standby Force capable of rapid deployment,” she said. “The ultimate objective is to develop a new peace and security architecture that can contribute to preventing conflict and maintaining durable peace on the continent.”
The UN and AU have built a “highly fruitful collaboration in a wide range of areas, from peacekeeping to the fight against AIDS,” she said, calling for collective efforts to strengthen these bonds to achieve shared goals.