Secretary-General calls for stronger partnership for African development

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8 February - The global food and energy crises and climate change, and coupled with the financiaand economic crises, have eroded economic and social gains made in Africa over the past decade, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns in a new report, calling for a stronger partnership for Africa's development.

In his report entitled Social Dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Secretary-General wrote that the adverse social consequences of these crises are likely to remain for much longer in Africa, even after the recovery gathers pace in advanced countries.

“African economies will likely experience decelerated growth, high unemployment and poverty rates and diminished prospects for achieving NEPAD goals and other internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals,” the Secretary-General wrote.

To mitigate these effects, the Secretary-General recommended that African countries bear the majority of responsibility for their own development by continuing to integrate and mainstream NEPAD priorities – such as infrastructure, agriculture and food security, science and technology, trade, and environment – into their national development plans. Governments concerned should also take advantage of North-South and South-South experiences and best practices.

The report also called on Africa's development partners to continue to integrate NEPAD priorities, values and principles into their development assistance programmes. In particular, the international community should assist African countries in addressing the challenge of climate change by raising the resources needed to support adaptation and mitigation actions.

“For Africa to leapfrog dirty energy solutions, strengthen its adaptive capacity and pursue sustainable low-carbon growth strategies, it will need financial assistance and technology transfers. The region will need not only additional funding but also timely and predictable delivery on existing ODA commitments,” the Secretary-General wrote.

The report noted that although African countries contribute the least to climate change and sea-level rise. Extreme weather phenomena results in a “growing numbers of climate refugees, social disintegration as a result of social and political instability and conflicts over land-based resources, and new health threats that emerge as a result of the changing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts.”

Adopted by African leaders in 2001, NEPAD lays out an agreed vision of social and economic development on the continent.

The NEPAD report is on the agenda of the 48th session of the Commission for Social Development, which began last week in New York and continues until Friday.