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  • Published on: 20 Oct 2011
  • Source: ECA Information and Communication Service
  • More information

ECA deputy chief says Africa?s growth yet to reach ordinary people, as Rio+20 preparations kick off in Addis Ababa
The Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Ms. Jennifer Kargbo, has underscored the need for integrated development that harnesses the linkages between economic growth, social development and environmental protection, because ?gains made in one pillar could undermine progress in the other two.?

Speaking at the opening session of the 7th Session of the Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development and the Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for Rio+20 that opened here today, Ms. Kargbo said that although African countries have achieved continuous growth rates since 2000, that performance is yet to translate into commensurate reduction in unemployment and poverty, or into significant progress towards the MDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Information and Communication Service of ECA.

According to the Deputy Executive Secretary, ?more is needed to foster integrated planning, and the Rio+20 theme on Institutional framework for Sustainable Development.?

She explained that the Addis Ababa meeting is an opportunity for Africa to articulate its position on institutional set-ups ?that will further its interests, including addressing the challenge of integrating the three pillars, from the global to the local level.? Experts will focus on two substantive themes: a ?green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication? and the ?institutional framework for sustainable development.?

Hence, Ms. Kargbo urged participants to focus on bridging the implementation gap because ?all too often, commitments at the political level are not translated into concrete actions on the ground.?

She prodded them to seize the opportunity to transform the global sustainable development agenda, refocusing it on the priorities of developing countries, particularly those in Africa and, above all, on action-oriented decisions that will translate into meaningful sustainable development outcomes.

She said that renewed political commitment to sustainable development is important today, ?as the world is faced with mounting challenges of food insecurity, climate change, financial and economic crisis, and escalating social unrest.? In this respect, she lauded the leadership role of President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, especially in the successful organisation of the Summit of Heads of States and Government of the Amazon, Congo and Borneo-Mekong Forest Basins that he hosted last June in Brazzaville.

Ms. Kargbo referred to the just-ended First Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-I), which met from 17-19 October 2011, saying that the ?outcomes of that event will provide key inputs into several sessions of this Conference, especially those on the green economy and new and emerging challenges.?
She added that the outcomes of the High Level Policy Dialogue on Migration held on 17 October fed into the Second Session of the Committee on Human and Social Development, held on 18-19 October.
?The outcomes of the latter will in turn, feed into your deliberations in order to enhance the discussions on the social dimension of sustainable development, which compared to the other two pillars, has received less attention in mainstream sustainable development deliberations and actions?, she explained.

Other remarks at the opening session came from representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Development Bank, the Africa Representative on the Rio+20 Bureau, the African Union Commission while a keynote address was made by the Republic of Congo. The opening address was made by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

The experts? segment of the preparatory meeting will culminate in a draft guidance and direction on a number of sustainable development issues, including the implementation of FSSD 2012/2013 work programme.
It will also produce a set of practical and action-oriented recommendations on the different thematic areas in regard to advancing its sustainable development agenda; and inputs to the key priorities and concerns to be reflected in the Ministers? Consensus.

The Ministerial segment, which convenes from 24-25 October, will hopefully produce ?The Africa Consensus Statement to Rio+20? and a draft 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.
The Committee on Food Security and Sustainable Development provides policy guidance for the work of ECA?s subprogramme on Food Security and Sustainable Development. It meets on a biennial basis and serves as a forum for the promotion of cooperation, information exchange and experience sharing in various fields of sustainable development.
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).
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