President Ellen Johnson on Sunday, January 31, 2016, presented the Final Report of the High Level Committee of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to the 26th Session of the African Union Assembly.
A dispatch from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, quoted by the Executive Mansion said the Liberia leader delivered the special report on the second day of the 26thSession of the African Union Assembly on Sunday, January 31, 2016.
President Sirleaf is quoted as informing the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments that the High Level Committee was requested to crystalize and synthesize, and consult as deemed necessary, so as to finalize a Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015, as well as ensure that the priorities identified therein were integrated into the new global development agenda.
“The High Level Committee was also requested to report annually on the implementation process by Member States. The Assembly also mandated the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency, in collaboration with UNECA, AfDB, UNDP and other relevant Organizations operating in the social sector to support the activities of the HLC,” the dispatch quoted the President as indicating.
She recalled that the 21st Ordinary Session of the African Union of May 26-27th, 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia created a 10-heads of state and government – committee to craft a continental framework that would be fed into the United Nation’s Post-2015 global development agenda.
President Sirleaf pointed out that the 2013 AU Summit selected two representatives from each region of the continent to include Presidents Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania and Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria from North Africa; Prime Minister Haile Meriam Desalegn of Ethiopia and Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam of Mauritius; Presidents Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia; Presidents Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo and Idriss Deby Itno of Chad from Central Africa, and President Alpha Conde of Guinea and herself as Chair representing West Africa.
Continuing the address, President Sirleaf is also quoted as telling the Africa leaders that the Common African Position (CAP) which was adopted during the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly 30-31 January 2014 in Addis Ababa and launched in Ndjamena, Chad, in February 2014, was built on 6 pillars that translated the views and aspirations of the African people expressed through continent wide consultations involving stakeholders at national, regional, and continental levels.
She said the consultation targeted governments, private sectors, civil society organizations, women and youth associations, and academia. According to the dispatch, the Liberian leader named the six pillars of the Common African Position as Structural Economic Transformation and Inclusive Growth; Science, Technology, and Innovation TI);
People Centered Development; Environmental Sustainability, Natural Resources Management and Disaster Risk Management; Peace and Security; and Finance and Partnerships.
She then informed the African Leaders that after years of consultations and negotiations that included all stakeholders in every region of the world, member states of the United Nations, on September
25, 2015, adopted the new global development agenda to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expired at the end of 2015.
President Sirleaf pointed out that the new development agenda is titled Transforming Our World: 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with 17 goals and 169 targets inextricably linked to the Addis Ababa Action Plan adopted in July 2015 and the Paris Declaration on Climate Change which will be adapted in its final version in New York in April 2016. She argued that building synergy and complementarily among the three global instruments will be critical to the successful achievement of the world’s common objectives.
The Liberia leader indicated that unlike the MDGs that were brought to Africa already made and prepared by experts mostly in New York, the new development agenda adopted on September 25, 2015 emanated from the people and that while the MDGs were based on the narrative of developing-developed nations with donors on one end and receivers on the other, the SDGs are universal and concern all people everywhere.
“We must note that Africa was the only region of the world that brought to the negotiations a common position on every aspect of the development agenda. Africa also brought into the domain of development the notion of peace and security, which are indispensable requirement for development. Although there was some resistance in certain quarters on this issue, we were able to convince other partners of the imperative of including these two elements. And today Goal 16 which refers peaceful and safe societies is a prominent aspect of the development agenda,” she narrated.
According to President Sirleaf, the Common African Position (CAP) was Africa’s contribution to the formulation of the global development agenda and that the 17 SDGs captured almost all the elements of the CAP, acknowledging that CAP was an integral part of Agenda 2063 which was adopted in January 2015. She also indicated that Agenda 2063 was based not only on consultations of a broad spectrum of African stakeholders including the diaspora, but included instruments of the African Union including the Constitutive Act, Lagos Plan of Action, Abuja Treaty, declarations and other existing continental frameworks and programs.
She said the High Level Committee was encouraged that by implementing the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan, member states will be implementing SDGs as well.
“They will simultaneously be meeting their continental and global obligations. Domestication through integration of the contents of Agenda 2063 into national and regional strategic frameworks and action
plans is ongoing.
At least 23 countries on the continent have already held consultations with the AU domestication missions. Processes towards implementation of the 12 fast track projects/programs of Agenda 2063 have been initiated,” the President said.
According to her, achieving the effective implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda will depend, inter alia on, the creation of a strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure that
commitments through the 20 goals of Agenda 2063 and 17 SDGs are met.
“Today, we can take pride in announcing that Africa’s priorities, as emanating from the people from all over our continent, have found their rightful place in the new global development agenda. This
demonstrates clearly that in unity, our voices will go far. When the General Assembly adopted Agenda 2030 and its SDGs in September 2015, our African Union HLC, the African negotiators, the African Union
Commission and all the organizations that lent technical and logistical support in the formulation and dissemination of CAP, could rightly take pride that their efforts had been rewarded,” she said.
President concluded her report by acknowledging that the achievement of the Committee would not have taken place without the vision and strong leadership of her sister Dr. Nkosana Dlamani Zuma, the
Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
“Thank you Madam Chairperson,” she said, expressing profound gratitude to the AU Assembly for reposing such high confidence to perform such important task in the interest of Africa.
“We have only completed one chapter in this process. Now the second and even more challenging task is to translate these noble goals and ideals into palpable realities that will empower our people and put an end to the cycle of poverty and instability. The Committee has successfully completed its assigned task. The report is now in your hands. Let’s bring the same sense of purpose to the implementation
phase,” she concluded.
Accepting the report, the Chairperson of the African Union Assembly, President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad congratulated President Sirleaf and the High Level Committee of the African Union for what he referred to as an excellent work.
He agreed with President Sirleaf that it was the first time for the African continent to actually take ownership of a Global Agenda, noting that the Sustainable Development Goals, which captures all of
the perspective of the African continent and people due to the work of the committee chaired by the Liberian leader was different from the MDGs which were imposed on the people of the world.
Several other African leaders who made intervention during the deliberations described the work of the committee as commendable and praised President Sirleaf for her steadfastness and leadership commitment. They pointed out that this must be the first time that Africa must embrace works done by its own, noting that Africa was about to influence a global agenda. The report of the High Level
Committee of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union was adopted by the Assembly of the AU.
Meanwhile, a day earlier, on Saturday, January 30, 2016, President Sirleaf joined other African leaders at the official opening ceremonies of the 26th Session of Heads of State and Government of the African Union Authority at the African Union headquarters.
The outgoing Chairperson of the African Union Authority, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe of Zimbabwe re-echoed his call for reform in the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, intensification of the fight against colonialism, resolution of the Palestine crisis, resolution of the conflict in Burundi, the African migration crisis, Western interference and regime change, among others.
He praised member states of the African Union who have held credible and transparent elections and reminded them that the African continent has come of age in democratization and self -governance.
In her statement, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, stressed that the ironic paradox of rich Africa with poor people should be addressed at all cost. “We must resolve this ironic paradox that deprives us from creating wealth and shared prosperity as the continent has the natural and human resources to leapfrog development at a much faster pace,” she urged African leaders.
Dr. Zuma indicated that Africans must use all their natural resources, including renewable energies and tourism potential to bring about economic transformation.