On the margins of the 25th African Union (AU) Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf chaired a special meeting of the AU High Level Committee on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
The High Level Committee was established at the 21st Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in May 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia chaired by President Sirleaf. Its objective is to formulate the Common African Position to be incorporated into the Post-2015 Global Development Agenda which will be adopted by the United Nations at this year’s U.N. General Assembly in New York.
The AU-HLC Committee of 10 include President Mohamed Abdel Aziz, of Mauritania; President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, of Algeria; President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad and President Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo. The others are President Haile Mariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; President Alpha Conde of Guinea; President Hifikepunye Pohamba, of Namibia; President Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Mauritius; and President Jacob Zuma, of South Africa. Also on the committee is Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
According to a dispatch from Johannesburg, President Sirleaf told the special meeting of the High Level Committee that she was pleased to welcome all actors to the 3rd meeting of the AU-HLC where consideration would be given to the progress report on efforts to integrate Africa’s priorities in the Global Agenda which is being formulated by the international community.
She informed the meeting that the Sherpas convened in Pretoria on June 7, 2015 and reviewed the draft report and the decisions and have recommended them to the AU-HLC for endorsement.
“Following the presentation of the report by Commissioner Maruping, members of the AU-HLC will have the opportunity to exchange views on the report and the draft decisions. Let me say that in forming the Common African Position, we acknowledged the critical importance of the new agenda to the development of our countries and continent,” President Sirleaf indicated.
The President said it was the expectation of Africa that the new agenda will enable the continent to complete the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) and propel the economies towards transformative changes and sustainable development; that will engender positive change in the lives and circumstances of the people and achieve the overarching objective of poverty eradication. She said this was the common purpose which Africa must continue to pursue with one voice.
President Sirleaf indicated that the report confirms that Africa was speaking with one voice around the negotiation tables and that the Common African Position remains the guide for the actions of Africa’s negotiators.
She said the committee was engaged in two-pronged negotiations that are proceeding on separate but complimentary tracks, both of which are nearing conclusion. She pointed out that the committee will be in Addis Ababa in one month and New York in two months thereafter to affix signatures to a new global development agenda.
President Sirleaf warned that there were still challenges to be overcome and that time is of essence in such regards, urging all to hold the discussions with urgency and with guarded optimism.
African Union Commissioner Maruping presented the reported which was endorsed for onward presentation to the Assembly of Heads of States and Government on Monday during the 25th African Union Summit.