23rd Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 73rd Session

Realizing the shared vision of “leaving no one behind” of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 is contingent on the international community’s ability to mobilize resources, transfer technology, and forgive debt, delegates told the General Assembly today.

“We cannot succeed elsewhere if we have not succeeded in Africa,” said Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés (Ecuador), also adding that Africa is “at the heart of everything that we do” at the United Nations.

Welcoming the fact that the United Nations-African Union partnership is stronger than ever, she commended the Secretary-General for the quality of his reports on the matter. His sixteenth progress report on implementing the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) (document A/73/269) showed that countries in Africa are making steady progress. Physical integration of the region is mirrored in financial integration as exemplified in the African Continental Free Trade Area. These developments point to major shifts towards achieving a peaceful Africa. However, greater support is needed to sustain progress, she added.

[The Assembly also considered his biennial report reviewing implementation of the commitments made towards Africa’s development (document A/73/270) and a report on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document A/73/273).]

Morocco’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said there is no doubt that the United Nations-African Union partnership is key to accelerating the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. He reaffirmed the NEPAD commitment to implementing priority development programmes and stressed that Africa cannot be allowed to fall behind. “Sustainable development is a collective opportunity and responsibility that should be achieved through multilateral cooperation,” he added, highlighting that agricultural development has the real potential to improve the lives of millions of people. Africa remains disadvantaged in the pursuit of sustainable development. Debt relief presents a significant burden.

The representative of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, recognized the complementarities between Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda. Realizing the shared promise of the two Agendas “leaving no one behind” is dependent on the world’s ability to mobilize resources and transfer technology, he said, expressing deep concern that such financing for Africa has declined in recent years. To complement the continent’s efforts to address peace and security obstacles and achieve sustainable development, the international community must boost support to national and regional initiatives. Member States must also meet their aid commitments.

Providing a different perspective, Libya’s delegate warned that African Union efforts may be causing the crisis in his country to deteriorate. Political instability and armed conflict prevent Libya from safeguarding its borders, thus transforming it into a transit route for transnational criminal networks. He urged countries of origin from which migrants flee to tackle the root causes that feed crime.

Countries from other regions, including Europe, Asia and the Middle East, shared how their Governments are contributing to Africa’s development through public-private partnerships, social programmes and financial support.

Israel’s delegate said her Government has worked with its African partners in the field of health care, agriculture, education, women’s empowerment, innovation and entrepreneurship. About 70,000 trainees have benefited from training programmes within Israel and on-site courses throughout the continent.

The representative of the Russian Federation, while sharing areas in which his country is providing funding, emphasized that African nations need to independently determine their policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This must be based on their national priorities, he stressed.

“Sustainable development in Africa cannot be achieved by African countries alone,” emphasized Indonesia’s delegate, adding that all States share the responsibility to ensure the continent is not left behind.

Bangladesh’s representative said that serving as Chair of the Group of Least Developed Countries over the past three years has informed him about the challenges Africa faces. Bangladesh has similar development challenges, he said, adding that sharing experiences and best practices is vital.

African countries also outlined how they mobilize domestic resources to finance development programmes. While reaching the global and regional development agendas is primarily the responsibility of national governments, they also underscored the need for foreign investment and international assistance.

Ethiopia’s delegate, along those lines, said supporting Africa is “the right thing to do” to demonstrate global solidarity and cooperation. Africa remains the “litmus test” of how successful the international community will be in implementing sustainable development targets, he added.

Also speaking were the representatives of Viet Nam (on behalf of Association of South-East Asian Nations), Thailand, Kuwait, Qatar, Canada, India, Myanmar, Italy, Algeria, Norway, Panama, Sudan, Japan, Ghana and Cameroon, as well as the European Union.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 25 October, to take up the report of the International Court of Justice.

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