The world is currently at a critical juncture in global development, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro warned today, noting that the financial turmoil, combined with the food crisis and climate change, threatens efforts to halve poverty and other social and economic ills by the target date of 2015.
“We are facing a financial crisis of epic proportions. No one knows for certain, at this stage, how this will unfold,” Ms. Migiro told the ninth meeting of the Regional Consultation Mechanism of UN agencies and organizations working in Africa, taking place in Addis Ababa.
“The impact of the present turmoil, compounded by the food shortages and the effects of climate change, could very well derail the prospects of attaining the MDGs across the board,” she added, referring to the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals.
All of these challenges are interrelated, she said, pointing out that rising temperatures will threaten agricultural productivity and exacerbate food insecurity, and therefore deepen poverty.
“Both climate change and food security compel us to address people’s vulnerabilities. They are both integral parts of our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” Ms. Migiro told the meeting.
She stressed the need to work together at the global, regional and sub-regional levels, as one UN family to find common solutions to these challenges.
“The Organization is only as relevant as it is able to deliver tangible results to people on the ground. If we fail to act in a more coherent manner, we will fail the very people who count on us to deliver on the promises we have made,” the Deputy Secretary-General stated.
“When we act with unity of purpose, the United Nations can better support the efforts of African countries,” she added. “We will go a long way in backing the African Union and NEPAD to realize its vision – from promoting peace, regional integration, and good governance, to accelerating development.”
In addition to representatives of UN agencies, the gathering in the Ethiopian capital included officials from the African Union (AU) Commission, regional economic commissions and the Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – the continent’s overarching framework for socio-economic sustainable development.