Africa Regional Statement to the 16th Session of UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-16) on Agriculture and Rural Development, Land, Drought and Desertification and ?Africa, UNECA
by: Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 58/218 mandates UN Regional Commissions (RCs) to provide regional input to the work of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) through organizing Regional Implementation Meetings (RIMs). In keeping with this mandate and in preparation for the 16th Session of the UNCSD (CSD-16), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), held a Regional Implementation Meeting (RIM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 22 to 25 October, 2007. The RIM reviewed implementation progress, reflected on and identified main challenges, constraints, opportunities, lessons learned and priority approaches for further implementation in Africa of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 (PFIA21), and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The RIM review focused on the CSD-16 thematic cluster of issues, namely: agriculture and rural development, land, drought and desertification and ?Africa?. Under ?Africa? section, RIM devoted attention to sustainable development governance in Africa; poverty alleviation and socially sustainable development; sustainable consumption and production; the natural resource base of economic and social development; means of implementation; and harnessing the interlinkages. To undertake the review, RIM had before it as background documents, review reports covering all the thematic cluster of issues. The review reports provide specific details on the issues covered by this statement. RIM recalled commitments that have been made by African countries including in the United Nations Millennium Declaration; major United Nations conferences and summits in particular Agenda 21, PFIA21, and WSSD; and multilateral environment agreements and protocols. The meeting also recalled and expressed support for various initiatives undertaken by African countries at national and regional level including within the framework of AU as well as NEPAD, which the JPOI recognizes as providing a framework for sustainable development on the continent. RIM reaffirmed that peace, security, good governance and poverty eradication are indispensable requirements for sustainable development and reiterated the need to address in a balanced way, all three components of sustainable development - namely economic growth and development, social development and environmental protection. The meeting called for enforcement of gender responsive policies as well as ensuring transparency in financial, monetary and trading systems, which also constitute central elements in achieving sustainable development.The meeting expressed concern on Africa?s low annual growth rate of food production that is lower than the population growth rate, and which has led to high levels of food insecurity and famine in the region. The meeting therefore, welcomed the emerging increased political commitment and actions for agricultural and rural development in the region including through the development of the NEPAD/Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). RIM also recognized opportunities for fostering sustainable development presented by other AU and NEPAD programmes.

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