Statement by Minister Cowen on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Mr. Per Stig Moller, has already addressed this High Level meeting of the General Assembly on behalf of the European Union. Ireland associates itself fully with his remarks.
Building hope, taking stock, looking to the future and meeting challenges are the bedrock themes of the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
NEPAD is a courageous and honest blueprint for action. But not just for Africa. For all of us.
NEPAD is about new hope. Hope, because the formation of the African Union and the development of NEPAD offer imaginative perspectives and opportunities for all the peoples of Africa.
NEPAD is also about challenges. Challenges, because what is at stake here is not just a new Partnership within Africa for Africa's Development. NEPAD offers clear and detailed goals to African Governments and the peoples of Africa. Now, the task of implementation begins. And this will require a lot of courage, hard work and determination.
But NEPAD also offers similar challenges to the wider world beyond Africa: to join together in a new creative Partnership for Africa; to build new bridges between Africa and the world; to, at last, match our words with our deeds in helping advance sustainable development in Africa and in ending its marginalisation from the world economy.
NEPAD is an initiative by Africa and for Africa. Building on earlier initiatives, it offers goals and targets matched by an operational framework for meeting these targets. It states clearly to the international community: this is our way forward but it must also involve a dual Partnership. A Partnership within Africa but also a challenge to developed countries to agree a new Partnership for Africa.
And this new Partnership, in Africa and for Africa, must this time succeed where other initiatives have failed. Supporting economic growth goals and advancing sustainable development in Africa must mean strong and imaginative action by the international community: in tackling the structural causes of poverty in Africa; in offering fair market access to African countries for their products; in mobilising financial, technical and investment resources to enable Africa to compete fairly with the rest of the world; in tackling unacceptable debt levels; in giving, in short, a fair chance, and on fair terms, to Africa. This is what Africa is asking for. And this, in fundamentals, is the basis of NEPAD.
Let me highlight four main themes that Ireland considers of special importance in implementing NEPAD.
First, a main strength of NEPAD is its recognition of strong links between advancing sustainable development and political and economic governance. Too many conflicts have in recent decades torn apart much of the fabric of Africa. Poor political and economic governance in some African countries has unfairly cast a blight on Africa as a whole and, too often, the wider world has shrugged a response and said “nothing we can do” on the daunting economic and social challenges facing Africa.
Now, Africa is putting forward its own clear political and economic governance standards as well as new mechanisms, such as the African Peer Review Mechanism, to provide necessary institutional scaffolding. This is wise and courageous.
Second, NEPAD as a programme of the African Union will allow for creative interaction at a structural level so that political and economic actions and sustainable development policies advance in harmony. We in Europe, over recent decades, have travelled our own journey of putting in place structures of cooperation to serve all our peoples. Africa is now embarked on the same path.
Third, NEPAD cannot succeed unless the international community, explicitly and with strong actions, plays its part in support of NEPAD. The G8 have made a good start in the Africa action plan agreed in Kananaskis. President Mbeki and other African leaders have rightly said that economic opportunities for Africa are also economic opportunities for developed countries.
Our words must now be matched by our deeds. In short, we in the international community must strongly support NEPAD proposals on resource mobilisation; on trading opportunities including, of course, in the Doha Round; on tackling debt; in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases; in allowing Africa the chance it asks to become fully integrated into the global economy.
Developed countries must rapidly, and in full, meet the commitments given at the Financing for Development Conference in Monterrey last March.
As regards Ireland's own commitment, my Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, re-stated at the Johannesburg Summit Ireland's commitment to meet by 2007 the UN target of spending 0.7% of GNP on international development cooperation.
Fourth, the United Nations must provide strong and active leadership in support of the new partnership for Africa. This will involve all the institutions of the UN, including the Security Council. The UN family must work in concert together so that Africa moves to the forefront of our collective agenda.
Today is an opportunity to express commitment and support for NEPAD. On behalf of Ireland, I do this warmly. And I do so with an absolute assurance of our support in the period ahead.
Note for editors:
NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, is an African-owned and -led initiative which is intended to achieve sustainable development in Africa in the 21st century. It is based on the recognition that the primary responsibility for Africa's future lies not in the hands of donors or multilateral institutions but in the actions of Africa's governments and peoples. The initiative was adopted by the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) at its Summit in Lusaka in July 2001. NEPAD identifies priority sectors for development, with four sectors - communicable diseases, information and communications technology, debt reduction and market access - which should be fast tracked. NEPAD also examines the need to mobilise resources in support of the strategy, and elaborates a Programme of Action based on a series of Initiatives - the Peace and Security Initiative, the Democracy and Governance Initiative, the Economic and Corporate Governance Initiative, the Human Resource Development Initiative, etc. Each Initiative includes a set of targets and actions designed to lead to the achievement of the objectives. Top