Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal
H.E. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
H.E. Jean Ping, Chairperson of the AU Commission
H.E. Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECA
H.E. Ogunlade Davidson, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Sierra Leone
H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO, NEPAD Secretariat,
H.E. Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy-Chairperson AU Commission
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am most honoured to deliver a few words on behalf of the development partners, both the non-G8 constituency Portugal represents, and the G8 constituency represented by Italy. I would like to start my brief remark by saluting all members and participants of this high level Special Session of the Africa Partnership Forum and by thanking Ethiopia and UNECA for hosting us.
We have a quite intense working day ahead of us, where we will discuss the immediate concerns and
expectations of Africa on climate change, especially the ones related to mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. These are the most urgent themes of our times as we come close to the Copenhagen Summit, but they are not only topical themes. The manner in which we deal with these issues will be decisive for the lives of millions of people around the whole of humanity, and consequently the way that all of us, our leaders and each one of us, is judged by history in terms of our capacity to respond to the challenges of our time.
In this respect I would like to dedicate these words to highlighting what I consider to be the role and the potential of the APF, a body that I believe to be increasingly relevant for conveying political messages of interest to Africa to the wider international community, and to the emerging global governance mechanisms.
During 2009, the APF’s co-chairs have worked hard to enhancing the Forum’s role as a body that effectively feeds into international mechanisms and processes, taking the opportunity to draw attention to specific messages related to Africa’s concerns. Exploring ways to confer real added value to the work of this Forum has been a priority for all co-chairs, exchanging views between APF members, through formal and informal channels and at co-chairs meetings. As co-chairs from the OECD side in 2009, we have worked to promote this discussion among our constituency and contributed to the debate by putting forward our vision of how this Forum should evolve, namely as a contribution to policy making on Africa’s development agenda, as well as for a reinforced monitoring function of mutually agreed commitments.
The APF March co-chairs meeting in Lisbon had the important result of agreeing on interesting steps forward and, last April, the APF co-chairs put forward Africa’s concerns to the G20 London Summit, through a letter signed by the Prime Minister of Portugal to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on behalf of APF Co-Chairs H.E. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and H.E. President Jean Ping. We hope that similar steps will be taken in regards to the forthcoming G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, both relating to the reform of global governance structures to ensure enhanced voice and participation of Africa and also with regard to some of the political messages on climate change that will undoubtedly emerge from today’s meeting.
This session and the way its results will be fed into UN negotiations on climate change and be shared with other ongoing relevant processes is testimony to the seriousness of the commitment of the African partners to the continuation and improvement of this Forum’s relevance and quality.
Building a coalition around Africa’s climate change interests and ensuring that the continent has a voice in the run-up to COP-15 in Copenhagen in December this year are very important objectives. We are all aware that we can’t afford to loose the momentum.
Let me finish by thanking you very much for your attention and by appealing to the adoption of our joint statement at the end of the day as a strong step for the reinforcement of the APF, while allowing for further reflection and consultations on the issues where we could not find a common view.
May this be a fruitful work day!