Statement by Mr. John F. Sammis, Deputy U.S. Representative on the United Nations Economic and Social, in the United Nations General Assembly Plenary, on the New Economic Program for African Development

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
October 11, 2011




AS DELIVERED

Mr. President,

We would like to thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General Cheick Sidi Diarra and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa for organizing the October 7 panel discussion on NEPAD and the Millennium Development Goals, and yesterday’s briefing in advance of today’s General Assembly’s consideration.

NEPAD is an important African-owned and African-led initiative for eradicating poverty and placing African economies on the path of sustainable growth. The United States fully supports the common vision of African states to achieve the NEPAD goals and objectives, especially in the important areas of agriculture, infrastructure, education, health, empowerment of women, and the environment. We also welcome the efforts of the United Nations, the African Union, the African Development Bank, the African Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat, African sub-regional organizations, and international partners in assisting African states efforts to fully implement NEPAD.

The United States welcomes the progress made during the past year by these organizations and supporters of NEPAD in the areas critical to economic growth and sustainable development highlighted in the report. We support Africa’s efforts to enhance its economic growth and enjoy the benefits of integration into the global economy.

Alongside an enabling business environment, progress in developing Africa’s infrastructure is especially important to private sector economic growth and development. We commend the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency for its efforts alongside the African Union, the United Nations, and the African Development Bank to drive and secure infrastructure gains across the continent. We encourage NEPAD to continue its reviews of infrastructure projects and its work in line with its strategic objectives.

Food security remains an urgent challenge in Africa. The United States is committed to increasing agricultural development in Africa, and has committed $3.5 billion worldwide over three years through its global hunger and food security initiative “Feed the Future”. The United States is encouraged by the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program and NEPAD’s efforts to increase the number of countries creating country compacts so as to meet their agricultural investment goals and target growth rates. Our “Feed the Future” initiative draws upon CAADP principles and progress, of which both are essential to providing security against famine and malnourishment.

The crisis in the Horn of Africa is the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world today. Tens of thousands -- mostly children -- have already died, and 750,000 more Somalis are at risk of death in the coming months unless the international humanitarian community can access those in need of critical assistance. NEPAD’s efforts mitigate the impact of the current crisis and provide insurance against these types of crises occurring in the future.

While Africa is host to the largest number of Least Developed Countries, some African LDCs have shown strong growth over the past decade. To ensure that progress towards the MDGs is sustained, we need to support well-governed African institutions that promote policies that enable economies to generate broad-based sustained economic growth and employment. These policies should include accountability, transparency, an investment and entrepreneur-friendly business climate, strengthened indigenous capacity for innovation, investment in women and girls, and attention to basic services, including health and education.

Toward achieving the MDGs in Africa by 2015 and improving food security on the continent, the United States supports an improved comprehensive monitoring mechanism. Such a mechanism should build upon existing processes and add value by leveraging the membership and contributions of the United Nations, as stated in the report of the Secretary General during the last session of the General Assembly. It should be practical, effective, and cost neutral. It would require the combined efforts of the UN system, the African Development Bank, non-governmental organizations, and other African institutions to ensure comprehensive and authoritative results. The United States calls upon the United Nations, the African Union and NEPAD to work together to ensure the creation of a results-driven process.

The United Nations needs to ensure that the more than 25 UN agencies working alongside the African Union and NEPAD are making efficient and effective use of their resources and are responding to the priorities of the African Union and NEPAD. We expect that the Office of the Special Advisor for Africa, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the UN Office to the African Union will work together to strengthen the Regional Coordination Mechanism.

It is important that the African Peer Review Mechanism continue to function as envisioned. The APRM has tremendous potential to advance good governance and socio-economic development in Africa, and we actively encourage the continuation of the peer-review process over the coming year.

Mr. President,

Today the Assembly also addresses its agenda item on the Decade to Roll Back Malaria. The United States is committed to addressing the prevention and treatment of malaria to improve the health and well-being of citizens living in malaria-endemic settings, particularly young children and pregnant women, who are most affected by this devastating disease. We further recognize the negative impact of malaria on household incomes, economic and social development, and political stability in affected countries. Through the Global Health Initiative, the United States will continue to lead in the fight against this and other diseases by focusing on health systems strengthening and broader health challenges, including child and maternal health, family planning, and neglected tropical diseases.

We are pleased to be a leader in support for malaria control programs through the President’s Malaria Initiative and our contributions to the Global Fund. Through the PMI, which is a core component of the President’s Global Health Initiative, we have made a $5-billion, six-year commitment (2009-2014). So far we have spent $300 million in 2009, $500 million in 2010, and $618 million in 2011. These significant funding increases have allowed PMI to expand, and it is now providing malaria prevention or treatment measures to more than 50 million people in 19 focus countries in Africa. We work with host governments, international partners, NGOs, the private sector, and faith-based and community groups to deliver indoor residual spraying, distribute insecticide-treated bed nets, ensure preventive malaria treatment for expectant mothers, provide prompt and accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for malaria illness, and build the capacity of national malaria control programs.

The U.S. contribution to the Global Fund supports in-country capacity-building and health system strengthening as well as direct service delivery.

We encourage all donor and recipient nations to support global malaria-control efforts through appropriate financial contributions and stronger political commitments. We urge affected nations, especially in Africa, to increase their own domestic spending on malaria control as part of their overall plans to boost the share of their national budgets devoted to health.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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PRN: 2011/199