Hundreds attend Africa Day celebrations in Rio
6/21/2012 8:30:41 AM -
Accra, June 21, GNA- Hundreds of people attended different activities to mark Africa Day, organised on the sidelines of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The event reflected on the continent's priorities and charted a course for post-Rio action plans.
A release issued by Economic Commission on Africa (ECA) Information and Communication Service in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday announced in Accra.
According to the Congolese Minister for Sustainable Development, Mr Henri Djombo, the fact that all the key activities for the Day registered high attendance was a real cause for satisfaction.
The Information and Communication Service of ECA reported that Africa Day activities were competing with not less than 500 other side events on the Conference schedule.
Presided over by the Mr. Djombo, the Day's activities culminated in a high-level segment under the overall theme: "Accelerating Progress Towards Sustainable Development in Africa."
Speaking on behalf of President Denis Sassou N'Guesso of the Republic of Congo and Africa's Spokesperson and Political Coordinator for the Rio+20 process, Mr. Djombo called on industrialised countries to honour their commitments vis-a-vis sustainable development goals.
He said that non compliance with the commitments was the principal logjam on the global move towards a more sustainable exploitation of the world's diminishing natural resources.
Mr Djombo called on African countries to embark on a large scale information campaigns to improve the level of understanding on sustainable development at the local level, affirming that insufficient knowledge of the concepts was still a clear hindrance to its implementation at community level.
He also harped on the need for conscientious efforts to be made to fully integrate the principles of good governance from the highest echelon of the government to the smallest unit of the administrative structure.
Mr Abdouille Janneh, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, told participants that Africa would need to strengthen its own house through the implementation of deliberate policies that are based on the principles of good governance.
Mr Janneh's presence at the discussion was hailed as part of his untiring effort to promote partnerships for Africa's economic and social integration.
He is widely known and appreciated for his stewardship at the helm of ECA, that leaders credit, in part, for the focused and concerted views that Africa now has on the global stage.
In a statement by Mr Jean Ping, African Union Chairperson, read on his behalf, he recalled how African countries had struggled to meet their own commitments for sustainable development and made an ardent call for more collaboration from other partners.
"Africa's expectations from this Conference are for all nations to show leadership to make Rio+20 a conference of decisive impact and ambition.
'We live in a world of economic uncertainty, growing inequality and environmental decline," he said, calling for agreement on sustainable development goals, accompanied by measurable means of implementation.
Quoting Reverend Desmond Tutu, South African Nobel Laureate, on the need to exploit natural resources in a more sustainable manner, Mr Ping said partners in Rio should remember that "the world was not given to us by our parent; it was lent to us by our children."
There was also a statement from South Africa's Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms B.E.E. Molewa, in which she urged the Conference to promote the adoption of policies that integrate "the true environmental costs of production and consumption into accounting models, in order to address the cause rather than the symptoms of environmental and natural resource degradation and depletion".
She alluded to last year's COP17 in Durban, South Africa, saying: "Faced with the real threat of climate change impacts, sustainable development has become more significant today than ever before... And we must acknowledge that we still have more challenges of poverty and unemployment, especially among women and youth."
All these can be directly linked to the unsustainable policies of the past, she added.