3rd TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting: Speech Delivered by Mr. Gustave ASSAH

This is the Speech draft Delivered by Mr. Gustave ASSAH: Chairman“The Civic Commission for Africa”


This is a speech at Third TICAD Ministeral Follow-up Meeting in May 1-2, 2011
In the Session of Climate Change issues', Mr. Gustave ASSAH: Chairman“The Civic Commission for Africa” delivered a speech, which had been drafted by him and considered by civil society participants at the civil society preperatory meeting;


Your Excellencies Mr. Gettu Tagegnework, Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa, UNDP and Co-Chair Mr. Patrick Hayford, Direct of the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, United Nations; Your Excellency Mr. Matsumoto, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic and Counsellor Corpse, Ministers of Government, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen We, the members of the Civic Commission for Africa (C-CfA) wish to thank the organizers of the third TICAD 1V Ministerial Follow-up meeting for giving us an opportunity to present civil society views on the MDGs to this meeting. We would like to begin by sharing our solidarity with, and condolences to the government and the people of Japan, on the catastrophe that led to the demise of many people with many more being injured. We also wish to thank all the countries, especially African countries and Africa's people for heeding the call to help a neighbour in distress. There is a an African saying that translates to "when your neighbour's house is burning, make an effort to put it out least yours catches fire from the neighbours". Even though we could not physically be there to help during the disaster in Eastern Japan but as a long standing partner and friend to the people and government of Japan, Civic Commission for Africa (C-CfA), wishes to send our heartfelt sympathy to all those who lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods due to the earthquake and tsunami, and to those affected by the nuclear disaster. It could be recalled that, World leaders gathered at the United Nations in New York in September 2010 to review progress, assess challenges and gaps, and agree on concrete strategies and actions to meet the eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The report alludes to the fact that (and I quote) "the goals that represent human needs and basic rights around the world are achievable when nationally owned and; development strategies, policies and programmes are supported by international development partners. At the same time, it is clear that improvements in the lives of the poor have been unacceptably slow, and some hard-won gains being eroded by climate change, food and economic crises and especially lack of ownership that is in most cases denied the people as a result of draconian government policies or for unenviable political reasons. "Meeting the goals is everyone's business because falling short would multiply the dangers of our world: whether rich, poor, old young, female or male from political instability, disasters to epidemic diseases to environmental degradation. But achieving the goals will put us all on a fast track to a world that is more stable, more just, and more secure" (unquote). This is why members of C-CfA wish to thank the government of Japan for keeping their promise and commitment made in 2009 to double Japan's ODA, to increase by 25% funding geared towards the Global Fund, following Prime Minister Naoto Kan's commitment to contribute US$ 800 Million in the coming years; a commitment they kept up and until March 2011 when the disaster struck for which we applaud them. Following the disaster, Japan has since announced a cut in their ODA by 10% and suspended funding for the Global Fund. Much as we understand the rationale behind these cuts and the need for Japan to reconstruct, we fear that cutting this funding is going to reverse the gains made towards the attainment of the MDGs. In the circumstances and in meeting the eight MDG goals we fervently plead with the government of Japan to consider reinstating their 2009 commitment to the Global Fund and reconsider reversing the decision to cut their ODA by 10%. We wish to take this opportunity to commend African governments for Africa's growth rate which was shown to have been higher than that of some developed countries in 2010 at 4.9%; with reductions in poverty rates and progress towards the MDGs despite the global economic downturn. However, in acknowledging these efforts, we wish to raise our concern over the recent uprisings in North Africa and other parts of the continent. What is of concern to C-CfA is the fact that this happened within some of those states which scored high in their Human Development Indices (HDI) and some of those African states which were doing well towards attaining the MDGs, as seen from the 2010 Mo Ibrahim Governance Index. The missing link between the favourable HDI and progress in the attainment of the MDGs was good governance hence the upheavals. As civil society, we wish to reiterate the connection between good governance, accountability and effective delivery of services in realising the MDGs, peace and human security. The recent uprisings were clearly a sign of an imbalance between economic progress, social development and political progress in terms of governance, democracy and transparency. C-CfA therefore calls on African Governments to listen to their people to avoid such social unrests; to come up with more responsible policies for peace, security and democracy to avoid, not only regressing on strides made towards attaining the MDGs, but also bringing instability resulting in displacements of people and unnecessary loss of life. We wish to challenge those African governments whose governance and accountability systems continue to display a lack of regard and respect for the people they govern, to learn from the happenings of the recent uprisings, if Africa is to achieve the MDGs. We are of the view that the current MDGs Monitoring and Reporting mechanisms in some cases do not reflect what civil society sees on the ground. We therefore urge TICAD to complement the monitoring efforts of the progress of the MDGs with resources to the Civic Commission for Africa (C-CfA) as the continental non state actor that has taken particular interest in the TICAD process. At the coming COP17 in Durban, it is crucial to reach an agreement on binding multilateral agreements that build on the existing Kyoto Protocol, so that there will not be a gap between the first commitment period and the second commitment period. Africa is one of the most vulnerable countries to the adverse impacts of climate change, and African governments should stand firmly on its previous African position on the climate change. The international community should accelerate its support for adaptation, especially community-based efforts, while stressing the need for development. The government of Japan should take the responsibility for mitigation by agreeing on the second commitment of the Kyoto Protocol, and lead the discussion on financing adaptation needs and efforts. In order to accelerate effort towards attaining the MDGs in the remaining 4 years to 2015, Civic Commission for Africa would like to highlight the following messages to the TICAD process and its stakeholders:-
1. Urgently urge and help Africa to address governance, democracy and transparency policies;
2. Help Africa with Development Aid to adequately address its food shortage and price crisis through its 3 main priority areas of agriculture, governance and capacity building;
3. Ensure that women and youth issues are prioritized in implementation because "women and young people are core" to the development of any country/continent;
4. Call upon the Japanese government and other donor countries to scale-up their contribution to the Global Fund to meet its resource needs from 2011 to 2013, to be able to keep its demand driven model;
5. Ensure that there is optimum funding for specifically MDG 1 on Poverty and Hunger and Decent Work and MDG 5 on Maternal New Born and Child Health;
6. In order to achieve the MDGs by 2015, TICAD should initiate the development of the urgently needed "new strategies" for achieving the MDGs in the remaining four years.
Thank for your attention!!

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