Statement by H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore
Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See
61st session of the UN General Assembly
Before the Plenary, on item 62 (a):
New Partnership for Africa’s Development:
progress in implementation and international support
New York, 12 October 2006
Since its adoption five years ago, NEPAD has stood as a guide for the various initiatives that have been implemented in order to fulfil the promises that were made to the people of Africa.
NEPAD has been particularly welcome because it has been an African-owned and African-led process that reflects a common African vision and shared commitment to eradicating poverty and to placing countries, both individually and collectively, on the path to sustainable growth and development. Those objectives are in line with the international commitments to achieve the MDGs, and in particular to halve extreme poverty by 2015.
It is also valuable because it is the first properly African development framework to have gained such ground. The strength of this initiative is, in fact, its ability to conjugate partnership between Africa’s governments and her peoples as well as with the private sector and civil society.
This is why my delegation believes there is an urgent need for ongoing creativity in this field. A radically new direction is called for in conjunction with the NEPAD initiative: there is a need to create new forms of solidarity at bilateral and multilateral levels through a more decisive commitment on the part of all, with the complete conviction that the well-being of the peoples of Africa is an indispensable condition for the attainment of the universal common good.
Achieving this goal calls for a new political culture, especially in the area of international cooperation. The slowness in honouring ODA commitments, the still unresolved question of some foreign debt and the reluctance to give countries concerned special consideration in international commercial relations all need to be addressed urgently. Today, more than ever, a decisive condition for bringing peace to the world is an acknowledgement of the interdependence between wealthy and poor countries, so that development will be understood as a task common to us all; otherwise, it may undergo a process of regression even in zones marked by progress until now. The Holy See is therefore pleased to see some of these concerns echoed in the report now before us.
As a means to help build international cooperation and strengthen solidarity, my delegation again calls upon governments to honour the promises that they made with regard to debt relief or forgiveness as well as the timely fulfilment of the pledge of devoting 0.7% of GNP as ODA. It is through these sorts of programmes that governments can begin to focus on providing funds for necessary infrastructure and for social and economic development programmes.
Other issues rightly addressed in the report of the Secretary-General concern the need for educational opportunities for both girls and boys, as well as literacy programmes that are essential in achieving development goals.
Furthermore, the Holy See recognizes the importance of protecting the natural environment as a means of exercising humanity’s stewardship of creation and safeguarding the riches of the earth for future generations.
Madam President, the promising developments of the past year have shown that there is fresh momentum in support of Africa’s development. The NEPAD programme of action consists of a set of priorities aimed at making a discernible impact in restoring stability and growth in Africa. Effective implementation of the priorities of the partnership is key to realizing its promise. The opportunity this provides must be grasped by African leaders and all their development partners as they work to turn pledges into action.
Thank you, Madam President.