[Dateline: New York | Author: DESA]
Ministers, government representatives, experts and Major Groups of African countries and their development partners as well as high-level representatives of international and regional organizations gathered in Windhoek, Namibia, on 9-10 February to consider concrete actions to support a green revolution in Africa and integrate African agriculture into global markets.
The meeting, co-organized by Ministry of Environment and Tourism of the Republic of Namibia and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, was a high-level intersessional meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), focusing on sustainable agriculture development in Africa.
At a time of facing financial crisis, volatile food prices and climate change, the meeting provided an opportunity for African policy makers to consider how African governments and other stakeholders can meet challenges and take forceful policy and practical measures, in co-operation with the international community and development partners, to revitalize African agriculture and the broader rural economies in ways that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.
Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila of the Republic of Namibia opened and addressed the meeting. She highlighted the importance of achieving sustainable agriculture development and a pressing need for integrated planning for sustainable resource management and use in the African continent.
Under-Secretary-General Mr. Sha Zukang encouraged African countries to take their unique advantages and promote a sustainable green revolution (full statement).
He emphasized in his opening statement that “If Africa is able to utilize effectively its natural, human and technological resources, it can become an agricultural powerhouse in the decades to come, feeding its own people, sustainably growing biofuels to meet its energy needs, and supplying the rapidly growing world food and other agricultural markets.”
Ms. Gerda Verburg, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands and the Chairperson of CSD-17, Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD), and Mr. Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) all participated in the meeting.
The rich discussions and strong consensus was reflected in the final outcome of the meeting -- the Ministerial Declaration -- in which participants call for an integrated response by African countries and the international community, working in partnership to support integrated and sustainable agriculture and rural development approaches, and stress the importance of food security and strengthening the agriculture sector in Africa.
The Declaration will be presented as a contribution to the CSD-17 to be held in May 2009.