Africa asked to identify clear priorities for post-2015 agenda

African countries have been urged to join the efforts in shaping the post-2015 development agenda set by the United Nations.

At the 13th session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism which kicked off November 14, 2012 in Addis Ababa, stakeholders made a strong call to clearly identify Africa’s priorities for the post-2015 development agenda.

They opine that the continent’s perspectives and priorities should inform the post-2015 debate.

At the opening ceremony, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Jan Eliasson, called on UN agencies and organizations working in support of the African Union and its NEPAD programme to evolve a post-2015 framework that would bring out the full potential of Africa for the benefit of all Africans.

“It is essential that Africa’s voice is heard, and the continent’s needs and priorities considered, both in the post-2015 process and in the development of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed by Member States at Rio+20”, Mr. Eliasson said, according to a statement issued by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

He said that the UN system is committed to supporting this through capacity building assistance to African regional, sub-regional and national institutions.

Calling on UN organizations and the African Union Commission to work together to strengthen the RCM-Africa and its Secretariat, Mr. Eliasson said his objective would be to make the RCM a living mechanism.

On his part, Executive Secretary of the ECA, Mr. Carlos Lopes, called on the entire UN System to begin sharing their reflection on the post-2015 development agenda to inform the final outcome.

“Our deliberations should, accordingly, focus on how to ensure that the agenda that eventually emerges can contribute to the long-term development of Africa,” he stated.

Mr. Lopes said “Our challenge in RCM-Africa is to redouble our efforts at working together, planning together and implementing together as one United Nations. We need to support the efforts of the African Union as various African perspectives evolve into a common position”.

Mr. Maxwell M. Mkwezalamba, Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission, was of the view that the post-2015 development agenda must involve wide consultations on the African side.

“In constructing a common position on the post-2015 development agenda, we need to take account of the challenges of the MDGs…too much focus on the social sector; determining inequality in terms of the numbers rather than the qualitative aspects of inequality; overlooking the enablers of development (peace, human rights, ); encouraging the culture of aid dependence,” said Mkwezalamba

The Commissioner said Africa needed MDG-plus, an agenda that recognizes the impact of climate change, global financial crisis, food crisis among others.

RCM-Africa is the implementing organ of the UN Ten Year Capacity Building Programme for the AU. It is co-chaired by Deputy Chairperson of AUC, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, and UN Deputy Secretary-General Mr. Jan Eliasson.

By Ekow Quandzie

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