UN official urges stronger African voice on global issues

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- Africa must strengthen its voice at the internati onal level so that global solutions could be reached as they affect national and regional problems, Abdoulie Janneh, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Sec r etary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told the 13th Ordinary Sessio n of the Executive Council of the African Union meeting Friday in Sharm-el-Sheikh , Egypt.
Noting that Africa faces great challenges from the possible impact of current de velopments in the international economic scene, Janneh said that the continent's development efforts require continuous and informed advocacy and dialogue on key issues and challenges by a broad variety of stakeholders.
"This is why we continue to help in organising regional reviews to prepare for g lobal processes and negotiations," he said, urging the Council to mobilise Afric a and its partners to ensure that recent political and economic progress was kept on course despite growing concerns about the international economy.
"The recent encouraging economic performance of Africa is being threatened by gl obal economic emergencies in the food and energy markets and the prospect of sta g flation - sluggish economic growth coupled with a high rate of inflation and une m ployment - in key industrial economies "These developments are closely linked with the negative effects of climate chan ge and can undermine political stability and the scaling-up of efforts to achiev e the Millennium Development Goals," Janneh observed.
"Since the causes and consequences of these problems are global," Janneh suggest ed, "the key thing at a time like this is to use common solutions and the benefi t s of regional and international cooperation to guide and drive national actions.
" The Executive Council is meeting ahead of the 11th Ordinary Session of the AU As sembly of Heads of State and Government due to open in Sharm-el-Sheikh Monday.
On the theme of the Summit -- 'Meeting the MDGs on Water and Sanitation' -- Jann eh, whose statement to the Council was made available to PANA here, said the iss u e of water was also linked to peace and security in Africa.
He pointed out that competition for scarce water resources sometimes fuelled con flict and led to forced displacement of people.
"Africa 's development agenda can only be achieved by a collective safeguarding of peace and security in every corner of the continent," the ECA chief stressed.
"Our development efforts must ultimately be about improving the human condition.
So, concerted efforts are needed to provide the African people with safe access to water and decent sanitary conditions.
"Such access is also essential for improving maternal health, which will free wo men to pursue jobs and educational opportunities," Janneh added.

27 june 2008 12:10:00




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