Pretoria — The Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has called on all African states to move swiftly, so that the agreement on climate change can come into effect to unlock the wealth of nations and save the planet.
Speaking at the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and of the African Union (AU) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dlamini-Zuma noted that in the climate change negotiations last year, Africa showed that it was not indifferent to its responsibility to the planet.
"Even though we contribute the least to global emissions and are most affected, we are leapfrogging to promote climate smart agriculture, renewable energy, to save our lakes, forests, oceans and rivers, and to insure against natural and other disasters through the African Risk Capacity Agency.
"Through renewed commitment to the beloved continent, 50 years after the birth of the OAU, we affirmed our determination to build an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven and managed by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena," said Dlamini-Zuma.
By adopting Agenda 2063, Dr Dlamini-Zuma added, we pledged to act to change the present and build the Africa we want.
"It is our generation's mission to ensure that we build a rich Africa, with prosperous people."
Speeding up transformation
She also emphasised the need to speed up transformation and use 2016 as a platform to advance human rights of all the inhabitants of the continent in their full diversity.
"During 2016, as we celebrate the Year of Human Rights, with particular focus on the rights of women and girls, we must therefore speed up transformation. We must continue to place our people and their basic human rights at the centre of Agenda 2063. T
"This includes our people's rights to education, to food and nutrition, to health care, to safe water, sanitation and energy, to join in peace, to be safe from violence and extremism, to reach their full potential, in addition to the right to association, to free speech, to freedom of the media and to be protected from discrimination on any grounds. We are making progress, but our pace is very slow," she said.
The aspirations of Agenda 2063, she said, reflect our desire for shared prosperity and well-being for unity and integration, for a continent of free citizens and expanded horizons, where the full potential of women and youth are realized, and with freedom from fear, disease and want.
"It is indeed those ideals that are enshrined in Agenda 2063 that need to be translated into individual and collective action.
"As we reflect at this summit on how best to realize the aspirations of the African people, and resolve the paradox which Foreign Ministers debated about in Mek'ele, we need to ensure that the words of wisdom from one of our fore bearers, resonate with us and future generations."