Victoria Falls — African Union Commission deputy commissioner Mr Kwesi Quartey has called for the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by United States and its allies, saying they were negatively impacting on the country's efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said this in his remarks during the Special Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism during the Sixth Session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Victoria Falls.
"For us to build the conditions to achieve these lofty ambitions, the AU has called for the sanctions on this country to be lifted," Mr Quartey said.
The Sadc and AU last year resolved to call for the removal of the sanctions imposed by the West on the country.
The two bodies also resolved to use international platforms to lobby for their removal.
Mr Quartey said it was time Africa doubled its efforts to achieve goals set by the UN under Agenda 2030 to achieve the SDGs.
"The year 2030 is no longer a distance away, 2030 is already upon us so we don't have time anymore and we have to work together closely and consistently," he said.
"We are caught up with the fierce urgency of now, time waits for no man even more-so for our women and children who continue to suffer from the absence of peace. And as indicated in the AU theme of the year (Silencing the Guns), the most vulnerable groups are women and our children who bear the brunt of all the ill effects of armed conflicts they have nothing to do with.
"Our women and girls continue to suffer disproportionately from gender-based violence and all the abuses and violations of their human rights in armed conflicts."
He added that armed conflicts were the biggest challenge facing the continent.
"It is fair to say the armed conflicts are the biggest challenge for the successful implementation of our Agenda 2063.
"My distinguished boss, Dr Moussa Faki Mahamat, in his address at the last AU summit reiterated that Africa requires the participation of all and most importantly the women if we are to achieve peace and development on the continent and thereby he declared the decade 2020 to 2030 the decade for the inclusion of the women of Africa," he said.
Mr Quartey commended the efforts of the AU and the UN to solve Africa's problems.
"As we gather here today, for the special session, I would want to recognise and commend the efforts of both institutions (UN and AU) have demonstrated in recent years to find appropriate systemic solutions to the systemic problems that face Africa and various complexities that we are confronted with on a day to day basis.
"We need to inculcate a culture of peace and tolerance at the very basics of our children and youth because through true education our children begin to see what is important in the world and become less likely to be taken by the machinations and fantasies of fanatics of religion
Through education, we can have a literate and enumerate continent who are now prepared to use science and technology for the continent's development," he said.
In her remarks, UN Deputy Secretary General Ms Amina Mohammed said: "The AU agenda 2063 and the 2020 AU theme, "Silencing the Guns" create conducive conditions for Africa's development and are central today (yesterday) for our discussions in this special session as we accelerate our efforts for the realisation of the SDGs.
"The session provides an opportunity of how we can continue to work together within the context of reforms the AU and the UN are undergoing to better and more efficiently serve our people. Advancing the integration and implementation of both the Agenda 2063 and 2030 is at the core of the work of the RCM Africa.
"I appreciate and deeply value the tremendous work that has been done and the productive relationship between the UN and the AU and its building blocs, the regional economic communities which provide us a great opportunity to jointly implement and track our progress."