The UNGA and ECOSOC Presidents’ joint Call to Action acknowledges that the most effective way to address sustainable development in Africa is by African countries taking the lead on the prioritization and implementation of national development strategies and plans, with support from the UN system and other partners.
It emphasizes the need to support Africa’s efforts in addressing the emerging crises and existing challenges and to “bridge the silos between humanitarian action, development cooperation and peace interventions”.
The Presidents of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) convened a special high-level dialogue on the sustainable development of Africa where they called on all Member States and stakeholders “to work towards accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Agenda 2063 for Africa with an African perspective.”
The multi-stakeholder event themed, ‘The Africa We Want: Reconfirming the Development of Africa as a Priority of the United Nations System,’ took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 20 July, just days after the conclusion of the 2022 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
UNGA President Abdulla Shahid and ECOSOC President Collen Vixen Kelapile invited participants to support their joint Call to Action, which they had issued in advance of the dialogue. In it, the Presidents express deep concern over the impact the current energy and food crises, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and “widening and persisting inequalities” are having on Africa’s sustainable development, revealing the need for “a fair and more inclusive multilateral system.”
The UNGA and ECOSOC Presidents acknowledge that the most effective way to address sustainable development in Africa is by African countries taking the lead on the prioritization and implementation of national development strategies and plans, with support from the UN system and international and regional financial institutions, among other partners. In this context, they emphasize the need to support Africa’s efforts in addressing the emerging crises and existing challenges to build an inclusive and equitable sustainable development framework.
Shahid and Kelapile call for “bridg[ing] the silos between humanitarian action, development cooperation and peace interventions,” by simultaneously prioritizing:
- energy access and climate action;
- food systems;
- financing for development (FfD), including domestic resource mobilization;
- gender equality and youth-focused initiatives;
- good governance, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law;
- social protection systems, including school meals programmes; and
- peace, justice, and strong institutions.
They further call for improved development cooperation and “global solidarity to ensure vaccine equity.”
In his opening remarks, the ECOSOC President highlighted “an unprecedented opportunity” for Africa to step up to the food and energy security challenges exacerbated by the global impacts of the war in Ukraine, accelerate its industrialization and economic diversification, and “integrate itself further upstream in global supply chains through increased value addition at source.”
Noting that the current global setbacks are magnified in Africa due to “underlying vulnerabilities,” the UNGA President said “progress remains possible.”
Speaking on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed echoed Shahid’s message. “The Africa we want is still within reach,” she said, calling for focus on five key issues: 1) building effective and reliable policy frameworks and institutions; 2) future-proofing Africa’s infrastructure by investing in connectivity and digital technologies; 3) enabling Africa’s industrialization through education and skills development; 4) achieving sustainable energy for all; and 5) reforming short-term and long-term financing.
The high-level event included round tables on domestic resource mobilization, innovative financing, and global partnerships for recovery and progress on the SDGs and Agenda 2063, and on preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 27) – an “African COP.” [Letter from UNGA President] [UN News Story]