Africa should speak in one voice at UN Rio+20 Conference: PM Meles
Addis Ababa, October 25 (WIC) - Prime Minister Meles Zenawi stressed the need for Africans to speak with one voice in the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development, popularly known as the Rio+20 Conference.
The Ministerial Segment of the Africa Regional Preparatory Conference for the Rio+20 Conference was held at the UN Conference Center here on Monday.
Addressing the conference PM Meles said twenty years ago at Rio De Janeiro, world leaders came together to adopt Agenda 21 which was expected to serve as a blue print to achieve sustainable development by promoting economic growth that is socially equitable and environmentally responsible.
"Many had hoped that agenda 21 would generate the necessary resources and political commitment to help us to jointly embark on a new and more sustainable way of managing our planet's resources," he said.
PM Meles said, however, not much has since happened to realize the lofty objectives set at Rio twenty years ago. Indeed a disturbing pattern of much promise and little or no delivery on promises seems to have emerged in such large international meetings to the detriment of those who do not have the necessary resources and technology to cope with the changing global environment.
He said “In order to fight better for what is ours we need to speak with one voice. To fight better we also need to develop effective and realistic strategies.”
Africans have come up with a mechanism that allows them to speak with one voice in climate change negotiations.
“That is also why we have agreed to speak with one voice under the leadership of President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo,” he said.
President Nguesso on his part said the conference creates good opportunity to ensure sustainable development.
He said Africans need to speak in one voice and have a common position to stand in unison for the cause.
President Nguesso also stressed the need for African leaders to give prime attention to national and regional issues towards building of green economy.
AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping on his part said AU Summit adopted a resolution in Malabo for Africa to be represented in one voice.
He said holding strong stand for Africa that secures the benefits of its people is inevitable.
UN under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic commission for Africa Abdoulie Janneh on his part said African economies have continued to achieve and sustain positive real growth rates since 2000 and were relatively resilient in the face of global economic and financial crisis.
Janneh further said environmental degradation and erosion of natural resources base continue unabated and poverty and income inequalities persist.
He said an agreed institutional framework must promote coordination and synergies across various sectors and actors and give greater voice to developing countries for sustainable development.
“We should take the opportunity provided by Rio+20 to secure renewed international commitment to strengthen and deepen the implementation of NEPAD programs.” he noted.
A minute of silence was observed for the late professor Wangari Maathai who was Kenyan environment advocate at the conference.
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