Africa’s partners must not renege on development support – Assembly chief

15 October 2008
General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann

Countries must not forget their commitments to help meet Africa’s development needs, even as they are trying to grapple with the current economic slowdown, the President of the General Assembly stressed today.

“As the global financial crisis deepens, so does my concern that our commitments may be undone. This would be an unforgivable reversal and bring shame on all of us,” Miguel D’Escoto told the 192-member body as it began its discussion of international support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

Adopted by African leaders in 2001, NEPAD lays out an agreed vision of social and economic development on the continent.

In his most recent report on NEPAD, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that, within the context of the global economic slowdown, and high food and oil prices, turning that vision into concrete results – as well as achieving the globally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – will require concerted leadership and efforts by both African countries and international development partners.

Mr. D’Escoto expressed similar sentiments, cautioning against “any retreat by the international community” in its support for Africa’s development in the midst of the current financial crunch which might cause donors to cut back on some aid pledges.

“While it is understandable that political concerns and financial constraints at home might make us waver, we must keep in mind that this planet is our home and that Africans are our brothers and sisters. We cannot, as so often in the past, look away.”

Mr. D’Escoto encouraged Member States to use today’s debate as an opportunity to not only review the progress made so far, but also to reiterate their solidarity and determination to “weather this storm together.”

World leaders, meeting in New York last month, underscored the urgency of finding solutions to the major challenges facing Africa, and recommitted themselves to a global partnership to help the continent achieve the MDGs.

They also committed to strengthening their support for NEPAD, and to “reinvigorate and strengthen a global partnership of equals… with the explicit objective of turning existing commitments into concrete actions.”


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