Tuesday, 23 September 2008

General Assembly’s high-level meeting on Africa’s development needs

World leaders meeting at the United Nations on 22nd of September have underscored the urgency of finding solutions to the major challenges facing Africa, and have recommitted themselves to a global partnership to help the continent halve poverty, illiteracy and other socio-economic ills by 2015.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening of the high-level meeting on Africa's Development Needs during the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, the United States, Sept. 22, 2008.

A new report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, released ahead of this meeting, showed that while most of Africa’s economies are now growing more rapidly than they did a decade ago, the continent remains “off track” in its quest to achieve the MDGs.

A side event (High Level Panel) "A Response to the World Food Crisis: Smallholder Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development in Africa" focused on the global food crisis and was held at United Nations Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s high-level meeting on Africa’s development needs. The Secretary-General noted:

“The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme drawn up by the African Union has many good proposals. If the Programme is implemented now, Africa will move from food scarcity to food exporter in a few years' time. Given that the majority of Africans live in rural areas where small farmers are the main food producers, it is vital to address the difficulties they face in production. Increasing investments in agriculture and the rural economy is a necessary first step. Investing more will help small farmers adopt new technologies and modern farming methods. It will help provide agricultural extension services, more storage facilities, better roads access to markets”

The High Level Panel was organized by FAO, IFAD and WFP, in partnership with UNDP, UN-NGLS, the Earth Institute of Columbia University and the Republic of Malawi. The speakers included H. E. Mr. Bingu Wa Mutharika President of Malawi, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, Dr. Jacques Diouf, Director General of FAO, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Ms. Elisabeth Atangana, President of the Sub-regional Platform of Peasant Organizations of Central Africa (PROPAC). Other participants will included the Heads of UNDP, IFAD and WFP.

Extract from the Side Event Draft Concept Note
Global climate change deepens the challenges inherent in enhancing African agricultural productivity and food security. CAADP’s emphasis on empowering producers through improved agricultural education, research, technological dissemination and adoption is made even more urgent by the pressure of global warming. All efforts to enhance rural development in Africa must take explicit account of climate change. As called for under the MDG Africa Steering Group’s recommendations, investments in agricultural research need to be significantly scaled up in a manner consistent with the CAADP, in particular its Pillar IV, the Framework for African Agricultural Productivity (FAAP), and channeled through the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), sub-regional organizations, centres belonging to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and governments.

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