[AfrICANN-discuss] United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Thu Sep 13 12:42:31 SAST 2007


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
to launch Millennium Development Goals Africa Steering Group

At the mid-point towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals,
urgent progress is needed as sub-Saharan Africa lags behind


    * United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon;
    * Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (by videolink);
    * Maxwell Mkwezalamba, African Union Commissioner for Economic
Affairs, representing the President of the AUC;
    * Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and
Humanitarian Aid, representing the President of the EC;
    * Murilo Portugal, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF,
representing the Managing Director;
    * Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President of the Islamic Development Bank (by
    * Kemal Dervis, Chair of the UN Development Group;
    * Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank.


    * UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launches the MDG Africa
Steering Group with major development partners


    * Friday, 14 September


    * Meeting from 10:00 to 11:30a.m. New York time, Conference Room
of the Secretary-General, UN Headquarters, New York
    * Joint media stake-out on the second floor directly after the
meeting concludes at 11:30 a.m.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will on Friday chair the inaugural
meeting of the MDG Africa Steering Group, focusing on mobilizing the
UN system and major development partners, including the Bretton Woods
Institutions (BWIs), to support African countries' efforts to achieve
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This follows the
Secretary-General's announcement at the Heiligendamm G8 Summit that he
was establishing this new mechanism to spur faster progress towards
meeting the MDGs in Africa.

The African Challenge

At the mid-point towards the 2015 deadline, progress in many African
countries towards the MDGs remains behind schedule. But the
improvement in economic stability and strengthened policies across the
continent creates opportunities to accelerate progress toward the
MDGs. A number of recent successes – including the expansion of AIDS
treatment, raising agricultural productivity, and increasing school
enrolment and access to water supply and sanitation -- demonstrate
that rapid progress is possible when sound national policies are met
with full support, including increased development assistance, from
the international system.

To this end several obstacles need to be overcome. Despite the promise
made at the 2005 Gleneagles G8 Summit and elsewhere to increase
Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa to $50 billion
annually by 2010, African countries do not know how this promise will
translate into their country-level budgeting flows. Countries require
firm medium-term ODA forecasts, so that governments can formulate the
multi-year budgetary expansion needed to scale up public expenditures
in support of the MDGs. With a combination of a predictable scaling-up
of ODA in line with the Gleneagles commitments and strengthened
domestic resource mobilization, they can create the fiscal space
needed to achieve the MDGs.

While much progress has been made in strengthening collaboration
across the international system, the follow-up on international
commitments remains fragmented and does not draw on the full expertise
of the UN system, the Bretton Woods Institutions and other major
multilateral organizations focused on Africa. In addition, a more
effective response is needed from the international system to support
African governments in meeting their responsibility towards achieving
the Goals through the design of sound policies, strengthened capacity
development and scaled up national investments.

United Nations Response

In response to these gaps, the UN Secretary-General is setting up the
MDG Africa Steering Group and associated Working Group. The MDG Africa
Steering Group, chaired by the UN Secretary-General, is a high-level
group comprising: Managing Director, IMF; President, World Bank,
President, Islamic Development Bank, President, African Development
Bank, Chair, African Union Commission, President of the European
Commission; and Chair, UN Development Group.

The group will meet at least twice a year. It will provide strategic
guidance and coordination across member organizations and engage in
high-level advocacy. Work will focus on three main objectives: i)
strengthening the international response in the five areas of: health,
education, agriculture and food security, infrastructure and
statistical systems; (ii) improving aid predictability; and (iii)
enhancing coordination at the country level.

The MDG Africa Steering Group will be supported by an MDG Working
Group comprising the senior policy leadership from across the UN
system, including the BWIs, and African and other multilateral
organizations. The MDG Working Group will meet for the first time on
20 September, and will convene frequently thereafter. It will be
chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General. UNDP will provide
operational and technical support to both groups.

The MDG Africa Steering Group will subsequently review and adopt these
plans of action and ensure effective follow-through. Members of both
the MDG Africa Steering and Working Groups will reach out to G8
governments and other key donors, starting at the September General
Assembly, to urge them to follow-through on the commitment to mobilize
adequate financial resources.

Media contacts:

    * Margo Buchanan, UNDP MDG Support Team, Tel. +1 212 906 6592,
e-mail margo.buchanan at undp.org
    * Newton Kanhema,UN Department of Public Information, Tel. +1 212
963 5602, e-mail kanhema at un.org
    * Pragati Pascale, UN Department of Public Information, Tel. +1
212 963 6870, e-mail pascale at un.org

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