President Ellen Johnson has presented the Final Report of the High Level Committee of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda to the 26th Session of the African Union Assembly, a dispatch from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has said.
According to the dispatch, President Sirleaf delivered the report on the second day of the 26th Session of the AU Assembly on Sunday, January 31, 2016.
She informed the Assembly that the High Level Committee (HLC) was requested to crystallize, synthesize and consult as deemed necessary, in order to finalize a Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 development agenda, and ensure that the priorities identified therein are integrated into the new global development agenda.
“The HLC was also requested to report annually on the implementation process by member states. The Assembly also mandated AU Commission, the NEPAD Agency, in collaboration with UNECA, AfDB, UNDP and other organizations operating in the social sector, to support the activities of the HLC,” she indicated.
She recalled that the 21st Ordinary Session of AU of May 26-27, 2013, in Addis Ababa, created a committee of 10 heads of state and governments 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 of Mauritania and Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria; Prime Minister Haile Meriam Desalegn of Ethiopia and Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam of Mauritius. Also selected were Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia; Presidents Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo and Idriss Deby Itno of Chad from Central Africa. The others are President Alpha Conde of Guinea and herself as Chair representing West Africa.
President Sirleaf told the Africa leaders that the Common African Position (CAP), which was adopted during the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly 30-31 January 2014, in Addis Ababa and launched in Ndjamena, Chad, in February 2014, was built on six 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 that the consultation targeted governments, private sectors, civil society organizations, women and youth associations, and academia.
President Sirleaf named the six pillars of the Common African Position as Structural Economic Transformation and Inclusive Growth; Science, Technology and Innovation (STI); People Centered Development; Environmental Sustainability, Natural Resources Management and Disaster Risk Management; Peace and Security; and Finance and Partnerships.
She 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 also pointed out that the new development agenda is titled: Transforming Our World: 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. It has 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 cautioned that building synergy and harmonizing the three global instruments will be critical to the successful achievement of the world’s common objectives.
The President 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 requirements 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 to peaceful and safe societies, is a prominent aspect of the development agenda,” she narrated.
President Sirleaf reported that 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 pointed out that the High Level Committee is 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,” she added.
Accepting the report, AU Chairperson, President Idriss Deby of Chad, congratulated President Sirleaf and the High Level Committee of the African Union for what he referred to as an excellent work.
Several other African leaders who made interventions during the deliberations described the work of the committee as “commendable” and praised President Sirleaf for her steadfastness and leadership commitment.