Joint Debate: Agenda Items 62 (a) and (b) and 12
New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Progress in Implementation and International Support; Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa; and, 2001 – 2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa.
Thank you Mr. President,
I have the honour to speak today on behalf of the 14 Member States of the Caribbean Community in this joint debate on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support and on the 2001-2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa.
The delegations of CARICOM thank the Secretary–General for his insightful reports contained in documents A/71/189 and A/71/203. The reports provide a comprehensive overview of what has been achieved to date as well as the challenges encountered and the work that remains to be done.
CARICOM wishes once again to express our support for the African-led and African-owned approach to socioeconomic revival that NEPAD represents. We note with satisfaction the progress that has been achieved over the past years while recognizing that there are still many hurdles to be overcome before the goals that were set could be fully achieved. NEPAD has enabled Africans to chart their own course towards higher standards of living, to surmount the ravages of conflict and poverty, and to fulfil the rich promise of their boundless potential. The progress that has been made thus far illustrates NEPAD’s effectiveness as a developmental model for Africa.
It is especially encouraging to learn that, despite the difficult global economic environment in 2015, the international community has continued to support the implementation of NEPAD through financing, trade, debt relief and South-South cooperation. Indeed, the progress made in the thematic areas of infrastructure development, trade, a conflict-free Africa, gender equality, and women’s empowerment is testimony to the viability of NEPAD and serves as strong justification for continued international support.
The initiatives being undertaken under NEPAD coincide with the objectives of the International Decade for People of African Descent, which is being observed from 2015 to 2024, in that it is a vehicle by which effective measures can be taken for the implementation of a programme of activities in the spirit of recognition, justice and development for peoples of African descent.
Earlier this week, we observed the International Day of the Girl Child where the ambition for gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was again highlighted. The Day served as a solemn reminder that girls still face widespread disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis. Against this backdrop, it is heartening to note in the report of the Secretary General that in the areas of gender equality and women’s empowerment, significant results have been achieved in education, health and political participation thanks to major legislative reforms.
The report also indicates, however, that challenges still remain in the areas of women’s economic empowerment and human rights violations, and in the persistence of gender disparities, violence against women and inadequate participation by women in peace processes. We urge that more aggressive action be taken in these critical areas.
On the health front, CARICOM is encouraged by the progress that has been made in recent years in the fight against malaria. The African Union reported on World Malaria Day 2016 that a good number of African countries had successfully met the targets set out in the Millennium Development Goals to end malaria and that Africa had accounted for 60 percent of the global reduction in malaria-related deaths, with 6.2 million lives saved since 2000. CARICOM calls on the international community to renew its commitment to support Africa and other affected regions against this preventable disease. We endorse the Secretary-General’s assessment that building sustainable health systems capable of meeting current and future threats, such as the one posed by Ebola, is key to ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all Africans.
Climate change remains a major threat to sustainable development in Africa, given the continent’s vulnerability to environmental and climatic events. Against the backdrop of the 2030 Agenda and other global frameworks, including the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Agenda 2063, CARICOM urges African countries and their development partners to heed the call made by the Secretary-General for them to work towards incorporating mainstream and domestic agendas into their national development frameworks, as the effective implementation of these agendas will contribute to the realization of the priorities of NEPAD.
In his report, the Secretary-General has identified two major challenges to the realization of the objectives of NEPAD. These are: (i) the lack of adequate financial support; and (ii) the severe institutional and technical capacity constraints at country level, in the African Union, and in the regional economic communities that prevent effective implementation in all four thematic areas. CARICOM is of the view that the significant improvements being recorded in those areas where adequate resources have been channeled justify the provision of further support. We agree with the Secretary-General’s assessment that full realization of the Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063 will require concerted efforts by both African countries and the international community. A supportive international environment is critical to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, including through Official Development Assistance, Foreign Direct Investments, trade, and debt relief.
In this regard, CARICOM notes with satisfaction that, despite the difficult global economic environment in 2015, the international community has continued to support the implementation of NEPAD through financing, trade, debt relief and South-South cooperation. We join with the Secretary-General in urging the African countries, together with their development partners, to continue to take measures to strengthen the basis of growth while promoting social policies to address poverty and inequality in line with the vison of the 2030 Agenda of ensuring that no one is left behind.
CARICOM also supports the call made at the 2015 African Union Summit, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the United Nations to further enhance its cooperation with the African Union, especially in the context of the implementation of Agenda 2063.
CARICOM wishes to reaffirm its commitment to continued collaboration with Africa in addressing common challenges to peace and development and in contributing together to a more prosperous and secure world. Our close interaction and collaboration within the United Nations and under the mechanisms of the ACP have facilitated the continuing renewal of the fraternal bonds between our peoples and regions. We look forward to strengthening these ties even further in the years ahead.
In this connection, I am pleased to report that CARICOM’s age-old relations with Africa are being consolidated through our strengthened diplomatic presence in Africa, increased people-to-people ties, and the pursuit of economic and technical cooperation for our mutual benefit.
In conclusion, Mr President, the Member States of the Caribbean Community take this opportunity to express renewed confidence in the prospects for Africa’s continued progress and wish to reiterate our commitment to a strong partnership with Africa for the mutual benefit of our two fraternal regions.
I thank you.