Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ministers review Africa’s platform for Rio+20, Consensus Statement expected

ECA Press Release No. 130/2011: Addis Ababa, 24 October 2011 (ECA) - The Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, today launched the ministerial segment of the Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for Rio+20 with an ardent call for African policymakers to rethink existing growth paradigms for the continent.

The ministerial meeting is to look at the draft African Consensus Statement to Rio+20 and a proposed resolution on the Consensus Statement and on modalities for Africa’s effective participation at Rio+20 for consideration by the African Union Summit of January 2012, crafted by the experts’ session that had been holding since 20 October 2011, according to the Information and Communication Service of ECA.

Opening the meeting Mr. Janneh said that the need to revisit Africa’s growth pattern is prompted by continued imbalances between the three pillars of sustainable development, expressing Africa’s concerns that a global outcome from the Rio Summit should lead to a regulatory framework that entails loss of competitiveness, encourages trade protectionism and the imposition of more policy conditionalities on developing economies.

The opening session was attended by the Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Ato Meles Zenawi; the President of the Republic of Congo, H. E. Denis Sassou Nguessou; the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping, some 20 African ministers and the majority of Ambassadors accredited to Addis Ababa.
Mr. Janneh further underscored the need for African ministers to ensure that any agreed institutional framework is aimed at promoting coordination and synergies across various sectors and actors, and gives greater voice to developing countries.

Mr. Janneh stressed the need for the final Consensus Statement to adequately address the issue of how the decisions arrived at would be implemented, especially with regards to “financing, technology, capacity development and the harnessing of opportunities provided by globalization, trade, regional integration and South-South cooperation.”
Indeed, the draft African Consensus Statement clearly recognizes the fact that “African countries are primarily responsible for driving their own sustainable development agenda” and “commit ourselves to improving the national governance environment, ensuring full accountability and transparent and inclusive planning and budgetary processes, by developing national plans for sustainable development.”

The draft African Consensus Statement to Rio+20 that has been prepared by the expert segment of the meeting is comprehensive and outlines Africa’s concerns in almost all areas of sustainable development,  including agriculture and food security, land management, consumption and production, tourism, energy, industrial development, globalization and trade, access to water, human settlement, etc.

The Statement acknowledges the relevance of the two conference themes - A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the Institutional framework for sustainable development to the global sustainable development agenda and “calls on countries to adopt concrete time-bound targets that will ensure accelerated implementation of sustainable development commitments, including those to be adopted at Rio+20.”
Mr. Janneh cautioned that the Statement to be adopted by the ministers would be but a first step towards identifying and articulating practical and effective policy options and measures that would reinforce international commitment and lend support to Africa’s sustainable development agenda.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and President Sassou  Nguessou of Congo particularly urged participants to ensure that Africa speak with one voice next year. Other remarks were made by Ms Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Head of the Africa Regional Bureau of the United Nations Development Programme, Mr. Teg Gettu.

Apart from the Consensus Statement, the Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for Rio+20 is expected to produce a set of practical and action-oriented recommendations on the different thematic areas in regard to advancing its sustainable development agenda.
African regional preparations for Rio+20 are being led by ECA, in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The meeting ends tomorrow.

Issued by:
ECA Information and Communication Service
P.O. Box 3001
Addis Ababa

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