UN Chief calls for greater push for MDGs results

Addis Ababa, 27 January, 2013 (ECA) -  Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon has urged African Union member States to attend the special event on the MDGs at the General Assembly in September this year at the United Nations in light of the looming 2015 deadline. Mr. Ban made this call at the opening ceremony of the AU Heads of State Summit today and said, while many countries have made important gains towards the MDGs, he remained concerned about the hundreds of millions of Africans living in poverty.

“That is why we are pushing for results,” stressed the Secretary-General noting that success in the post 2015 development agenda will depend on ownership by governments and civil society

In an emphatic statement, the Secretary-General stated: “Our destination is clear:  A future where Africa’s wealth enriches all of Africa’s people. Where misrule is only found in history books. Where Africa’s goods get a fair price on the global market. Where global partnerships mean shared prosperity.”

Touching on Africa’s remarkable 5% growth over the past decade, which is also projected to grow by even more than 5 per cent by 2014, he underscored that economic expansion is not an end in itself and that wealth cannot remain in the hands of the few.  Inequality, said the UN Chief, is a recipe for instability.

The Secretary-General also urged the heads of State to invest in the youth who yearn for jobs and a life of dignity and called for a special focus on Africa’s girls and women underlining their role in driving peace and development.

Taking a firm stand against all forms of violence, Mr Ban said “we must speak out against rape and sexual violence in conflict and that governments must support victims and end the culture of impunity.” In this regard, he urged the males in the room to join his Network of Men Leaders and to support the UN’s COMMIT to End Violence against Women campaign.

Further, he applauded the African Group for leading the General Assembly’s adoption of its first-ever resolution calling for an end to female genital mutilation. In other areas of the UN’s focus, the Secretary-General expressed continued support to member States in efforts towards an AIDS-free generation, especially by ending HIV in newborns.

On climate change, Mr. Ban said the UN is proud to support the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative and called on African countries to continue to contribute to progress on climate change and his Sustainable Energy for all Initiative. This, he said, “can open the way for enormous gains.”

In this regard, the Secretary General announced that he would convene a summit meeting to mobilize political leadership for a “legally binding global treaty on climate change,” which he said would have to be accomplished by 2015 and would allow five more years.

Mr. Ban also called on the international community to honour its commitments and step up development assistance to Africa.

“It is not enough for leaders to set targets on aid and trade. They have to follow through with results,” said Ban stressing the need for investments in development in order to fix the world economy.

On the UN’s work on peace, the Secretary-General called on the authorities in Sudan and South Sudan to “immediately begin direct talks to allow urgently needed humanitarian assistance  to reach affected civilians.”

“Parties have taken positive steps to resolve outstanding issues; but they should make more progress in meeting their agreements,” he said and expressed concern about “the dangerous humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States.”

He also reported that with the departure of Al-Shabaab from Kismaayo and other areas, better security is helping to solidify Somalia’s democracy,

“Later this month, I will present recommendations to the Security Council on a new United Nations presence in Somalia, including ways to strengthen the UN-AU partnership on the ground. I will work to secure urgently needed funding for AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia],” he said.

The Secretary-General called on the international community to continue to urge national actors in Guinea-Bissau to come up with an inclusive transitional arrangement and roadmap for the full restoration of constitutional order. While in the Central African Republic, he said the restoration of peace and security “depends on the parties observing the agreements they signed in Libreville earlier this month.”

“They must also resolve long-standing governance, security and development issues,” he said and expressed hope that the African Union’s continued support to help the parties forge a political path would meet the legitimate aspirations of both sides.

“Africa can draw inspiration from its record of achievement to manage the many complex transitions ahead,” stressed the Secretary-General.



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