Holy See's Appeal at U.N. in Favor of Africa

Continent «Is Doing More and More,» Says Archbishop Migliore

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NEW YORK, OCT. 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address delivered Tuesday by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See’s permanent observer to the United Nations, in the plenary session of the 59th General Assembly dedicated to the analysis of the progress and the international support for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and for the initiative to stop malaria in the next decade in developing countries.

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Mr. President,

My delegation is glad to intervene on this item on the progress in implementation and international support for NEPAD. The context is that of the duty of the international community, especially the more powerful countries, of redressing the economic imbalances that penalize Africa and of helping it to resolve its regional and national conflicts, beyond the mere discussion of their causes. The conflicts in Africa are well known. The reasons for them however are complex and the actors or motives behind them are due not only to African states or factions, but are also found beyond Africa and its interests.

My delegation wishes to recognize that, with regard to peace building, common security, prevention of conflicts, peacemaking and peacekeeping, Africa is doing more and more, notwithstanding the many adversities it faces and the lack of means to overcome them. The report of the secretary-general on the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa (A/59/285) gives a good overview of the results of the effective ongoing political and military cooperation between the U.N., the AU and subregional agencies, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and many other organizations.

Management of conflicts in Western Africa also deserves special mention. The current trend in harmonizing international, regional and subregional levels is not only a measure of the success achieved by the members of the African Union; it is a success that contains valuable lessons for the solving of crises in other parts of the world and for the reform of the U.N. itself.

Similarly, at the national level, it must be acknowledged that there are many examples of good governance, rule of law and the fight against corruption under the impulse of APRM (African Peer Review Mechanism), the African self-monitoring mechanism established by the African Union in order to further the realization of NEPAD, to which a number of countries have already adhered. This management in solidarity of Africa’s affairs by Africans will allow important advances in the provision of basic necessities — clean water, food, housing, access to health care and reduction in the spread of malaria and HIV, not to mention a safe environment to live, work and bring a family into the world. Parallel to the regional cooperation for peace, the helpful role APRM can play in promoting sound national policies and practices is an example and a precedent for other regions of the world.

The adoption of the July Pack of the WTO, which reopened the negotiations of the Doha Development Round, is to be welcomed, especially since it has taken on board some of the difficulties expressed by African nations. The realization of economic policies suitable for Africa, for the well-being of urban and rural families alike and for the preservation of African values, is surely an urgent international obligation. And so it is regrettable that the recent Councils of Governors of the IMF and of the World Bank, as well as the meeting of the Ministers of Finance of the G-7 which preceded them, failed to agree on the total cancellation of debt of the 27 poorest countries. At least it can be said that consensus was reached for the first time in history on the necessity of eliminating such a debt.

On another front, the management of natural resources deserves further attention, both from Africans and from the international community. As conflicts come to an end, the durability of peace will depend greatly on the capacity of each government to take control of its natural resources and manage the wealth of the nation in a transparent manner that will benefit all the people. Moreover, the international community should increase its support for mechanisms that prevent the introduction of war-fueling products on international markets. In this regard, the Kimberley Process on the trafficking of diamonds is both a significant achievement and an important precedent which should be extended to other strategic or high value products.

Much has still to be done to rebuild trust among the peoples and ethnic groups in each country so that a new framework of solidarity can pave the way towards development. The evidence of the active role of Africans themselves in the resolution of conflicts recently, shows that African solutions to African problems have started to emerge. The rich patrimony of friendship and of family solidarity in Africa could, if allowed to flourish, also play a role in solving conflicts and building peace. The promotion of greater cooperation among religions in Africa could also be a decisive factor in peace-building and peacekeeping.

Mr. President, my delegation sincerely hopes that the collaboration for peace accomplished by the U.N., the AU and other regional and subregional groups, as well as the NEPAD initiative, will become a true alliance, founded on a common sense of responsibility. Africa’s present difficulties, which are not any different from what other regions of the world have also undergone, should be seen as a window of opportunity to create a new paradigm of global solidarity. The U.N. should seize this chance to demonstrate that it is indeed a family of Nations, ready to assist those in need.

Thank you, Mr. President

[Original text in English]

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