UN chief unveils African Action Plan

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday launched his Africa Action Plan before leaders gathered for the annual Summit of the African Union (AU), announcing the formation of a working group on Africa.
He also announced the release of a US$25 million package for post- conflict reconstruction in Burundi while hailing the recent efforts to pacify DR Congo, noting that a united approach between the Africa Union (AU) and the UN had led to progress.
Secretary-General Ban said he would soon convene a working group on Africa, including experts, policy-makers and donors to advocate for more resources in Africa to combat the effects of climate change, which was causing hunger and starvation in the continent.
The experts panel on Africa will meet before March to look into other issues affecting Africa in 2007 and present them before the Group of Eight (G8) meeting in June, the UN chief said.
The mandate of the experts' panel is to formulate action plan supporting practical initiatives for accelerating progress in 2007/08.
The plan will be ready before June, he said.
"We must address regional aspects of conflict in Africa.
The people of Darfur must be involved in the search for a solution in Darfur," Ban told African leaders gathered for the annual summit.
He said his priority was to ensure Africa was shielded from civil conflicts and the impacts of climate change, and urged Africa's strong participation in the UN's Clean Development Mechanism, which allows countries to get money for environmental projects.
The AU and the UN are working on a joint partnership to strengthen peace operations in conflicts zones through the sharing of resources.
The two organizations have signed an agreement to collaborate on peacekeeping and peace-building efforts.
"I feel the unity of purpose that drove the quest for the interdependence will help to build unity for the countries recovering from conflicts," Ban said.
Africa, he said, had made remarkable progress in ending armed conflicts.
"This is not only a matter of survival and security for those whose lives have been directly affected, it is also a condition for building better lives," Ban pointed out.
Ban said his commitment to Africa was also showed in his recent appointment of Asha-Rose Migiro, a former Tanzanian Foreign Minister as his deputy.
"I am heartened that I would have an African woman with singular qualities as my deputy," he said.
Africa supported ban's bid for the top UN post six months ago.
He said his decision to make Africa one of his first major international appearances, as UN secretary general was also to thank African leaders for the support they gave his candidacy.
"I pledged to do my best to mobilise political will among world leaders and international financial institutions and other stakeholders and with African governments to reach the Millennium Development Goals," he said.
Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General has pledged to strengthen and reform the UN body in conformity with the demands of the AU, which seeks to build a continent free of hunger and climatically-induced tragedies.

29 january 2007 11:56:00

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