27 June 2014

Liberia: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Praises President Sirleaf and the High Level Committee

Monrovia, Liberia - The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has lauded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her able leadership in chairing the African Union High Level Committee (AU-HLC) on the Common Africa Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Mr. Ban said the Liberian leader's experience in public leadership over the years has yielded another milestone for Africa by producing a Common Position on how the continent wants to see itself in Post-2015.

According to a Dispatch from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the UN Secretary General was addressing the Opening Session of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government on Thursday, June 26, 2014.

The draft CAP document which is expected to be presented to the AU Heads of State and Government on Friday, June 27, by President Sirleaf contains set goals and targets, as well as a means of implementation package, to be delivered to the UN General Assembly in September.

"I commend the leadership of President Sirleaf Johnson for Africa's vigorous engagement in the intergovernmental deliberations on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda as the UN needs a concise set of ambitious goals and targets, along with a means of implementation package, which will inspire action by people and leaders around the world," Mr. Ban told the audience.

The UN Secretary General believes that President Sirleaf-led AU-CAP could possibly be the best ever Common Position on what a region wants to be as the document is an embodiment of the voices of the people.

Mr. Ban also observed that Africa, being united, is making progress in fighting HIV/AIDS and Malaria on the continent and encouraged Africa leaders to continue the transformation of continent by bringing on board African civil society and gender advocacy campaigners which he believes will further enhance the continent's transformation.

The host of the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Equatorial Guinean President Teodore Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, delivering his welcome statement, thanked the HLC for producing the views of the people of Africa and challenged the UN to see it as the most pressing need for the people of Africa since they themselves provided to the Committee what they want after 2015.

"What President Sirleaf and the HLC has produced is an opportunity for our quest to transform our continent and I welcome the UN renewed commitment to form partnership with Africa in realizing what the people have proposed in the CAP," President Obiang Mbasogo said.

The President of the AU Commission Dr. NkosazanaDlamani Zuma called on Heads of State and Government of Member States to do more in food production and security as the continent cannot afford to lead itself into food shortages.

As demonstrated by this year's theme, Dr. Zuma said this should be a wakeup call to all African leaders to reinforce their commitment to the Maputo Declaration for a food secured Africa.

The AU Commission Chairperson said studies show that young people in Africa are losing interest in agriculture and stressed that this can only be reversed if African leaders recommit themselves to the Maputo Declaration and act on it; which according to her, will not only reverse the situation but will also help to develop rural areas that are the main food producers.

The Spanish President,Mariano Rajoy Brey and the Vice President of Cuba, Salvador Perez also addressed the Opening Session.

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