New York- US (PANA) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday commended Afr ican leaders for their determination to adopt a convention that would address th e plight of forced displacement on the continent.
Ban gave the commendation in a statement read on his behalf by Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in Kampala, Uganda.
The statement was read at the opening of a special African Union (AU) Summit on Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons.
The secretary-general stated that the convention demonstrated Africa's commitmen t to solving its problems.
"I salute African leadership for their determination to address the challenge of forced displacement.
You have come together to forge a better future," he said.
The convention is expected to be adopted by the heads of state at the end of the summit on Friday.
Ban, however, urged the leaders to also put into consideration forced displaceme nts that are caused by natural disasters like drought and floods.
He said that although Africa may not be a major contributor of climate change, i t was vulnerable to its effects.
"An agreement at Copenhagen must provide adaptation measures that address the he ightened vulnerability of Africans to climate change-induced displacement," the U N chief noted.
PANA reported that the convention on forced displacement will serve as a legal i nstrument through which the plight of refugees and internally displaced persons c an be addressed.
It will be the first legal instrument in the world to address the plight of inte rnally displaced persons.
Africa hosts the largest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world, numbering about 17 million people.
The majority of them are displaced by armed conflicts.