Remarks by Ambassador Rick Barton, U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council, on the Decade to Roll Back Malaria, New Partnership for Africa's Development, and the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace in Africa

Ambassador Rick Barton
U.S. Representative 
New York, NY
October 14, 2010




AS DELIVERED

Mr. President, Distinguished Delegates,

The United States welcomes the reports of the Secretary General on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the Promotion of Durable Peace in Africa, Monitoring Mechanisms for Africa’s Development, and the Decade to Roll Back Malaria. These areas are each important individually but they also have a direct impact on each other. We appreciate the opportunity to address them together.

The United States is committed to addressing the prevention and treatment of malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis and to reducing their burden worldwide. Through the Global Health Initiative (GHI) and our contributions to the Global Fund, the United States will continue to lead in the fight against these diseases by focusing on strengthening health systems and meeting broader health challenges, including child and maternal health, family planning, and neglected tropical diseases. In this regard, I am pleased to note the recent U.S. pledge to seek to contribute an additional $4 billion to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for 2011-2013, an increase of 38 percent.

The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is a core component of our Global Health Initiative, and the fight against malaria, as well as a key part of the U.S. foreign assistance strategy. Under the new U.S. Malaria Strategy, our goal is to achieve Africa-wide impact by reducing the burden of malaria significantly for at-risk populations in sub-Saharan Africa, and thereby removing malaria as a major public health problem and promoting economic growth and development throughout the region.

Since 2005, PMI has contributed to a rapid scale-up of malaria prevention and treatment measures across 15 countries in Africa by funding the purchase of more than 57 million life-saving antimalarial treatments and more than 27 million insecticide-treated nets. During 2009 alone, the Initiative reached more than 50 million people with preventive measures or lifesaving drugs. It also provides support to countries to improve the management of antimalarial drugs and other essential medical commodities, which has resulted in improvements in supply chain systems in focus countries.

Many of the PMI focus countries are now reporting significant reductions in under-five mortality, and there is strong and growing evidence that the scale up of malaria prevention and treatment efforts has been a major factor in these reductions. This progress is a result of the collective actions of African governments; the United States and other concerned donor nations; multilateral organizations, including The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank; and nongovernmental organizations.

In addition, by reducing the burden of malaria in highly endemic countries the PMI allows critical resources and overstretched health workers to concentrate on controlling other childhood illnesses and helps to reduce malaria’s drain on economic growth and development in Africa.

Mr. President, in the past year, the United States increased its aid to Africa by 9 percent to $7.5 billion. However, we should not measure aid as an input but rather look at the outputs. As President Obama said during his address to this Assembly last month, “Let’s move beyond the old, narrow debate over how much money we are spending and let’s instead focus on results – whether we are actually making improvements in people’s lives”

The UN has an important role to play in assisting Africa, especially sub-Saharan African countries, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. UN development agencies, like UNDP, can make unique contributions by helping countries build governance institutions that can bring about political stability, effective and democratic governments, and economic freedom for their citizens.

We welcome the UN’s efforts to improve monitoring mechanisms for Africa’s development and its focus on results rather than inputs, and on the commitments of donor nations as well as African governments. In our endeavor to monitor results effectively, we must ensure that there is true value-added and coherence among new and existing monitoring mechanisms.

The key for Africa to meet its Millennium Development Goals is to create the conditions for sustained and broad-based economic growth so that it can break from a dependence on development assistance. As the Secretary General’s report highlights, countries in Africa enjoyed an average growth rate of 4.65 percent from 2000-2007. We must build on this achievement. To this end, we support NEPAD’s efforts to ensure democratization, good governance and economic transparency, as well as enhance regional and national level infrastructure and food security

The United States continues to support efforts to enhance the private sector in Africa. Since 1999, the United States has provided $12 billion in trade capacity assistance to developing countries. And the African Growth and Opportunity Act has contributed to enhanced trade with Africa. In the first half of 2010, trade under AGOA totaled $33.1 billion, a 57 percent increase from the same period in 2009.

We remain committed to reducing the debt burden of African states and ensuring that resources are freed up to support MDGs and broad-based growth. And we note that sub-Saharan Africa has seen $100 billion in debt cancellation to date.

As the Secretary General reports, the number of African states in armed conflicts has declined dramatically from 14 in the late 1990s to 4 today. But much needs to be done to sustain the peace. Democratization and development must go hand in hand. State institutions must be strengthened and regional cooperation deepened. Peacekeeping must evolve into peacebuilding. And post-conflict recovery must be the basis for long-term sustainable development.

Africa’s economic development is the only way for us to achieve the MDGs. Fighting diseases such as malaria and rooting out the maladies of conflict and poor governance are keys to growth. The United States is deeply committed to being a constructive force and helping to advance progress on these related and important issues.

Thank you.

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PRN: 2010/243