UN General Assembly: Agenda Item 63: New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Progress in implementation and international support: Statement by Counsellor Jyrki Nissilä, Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, New York, 11 October 2011
Sustainable economic growth is one of the key elements of poverty reduction. In particular, during the ongoing global economic crisis, we have seen that efforts in Africa to improve economic performance and private sector development have started to bear fruit. In fact, as many developed economies have been struggling to keep growth going, many African countries has shown enviable GDP growth figures. Economic growth, investments in infrastructure, social protection systems, the promotion of good governance and human rights are all key elements. While developing appropriate social protection mechanisms, it is important to pay particular attention to the promotion women’s and girls’ rights, and the promotion of social equality.
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has been one of the key players in these developments. Finland believes that the active cooperation with other international organisations that NEPAD has engaged in can further enhance sustainable economic development in Africa. The process of economic integration in Africa is very important for the development of the continent. The African economy has to be strengthened, diversified and integrated into the world economy.
Thus, Finland has been a strong supporter of the NEPAD-OECD Africa Investment Initiative. In particular, the initiative supports a large-scale programme on Unlocking Investment Potential in Southern Africa. It assists members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in identifying and implementing concrete policy reforms to strengthen their investment climate. The programme entails four country-level investment reviews and facilitates the sharing of national experiences through regional forums and peer review. Zambia and Mozambique have started to assess their investment regime within the framework of the programme.
Finland currently acts as Co-Chair for the Africa Partnership Forum, a high-level dialogue forum for the G 8, NEPAD, the AU and OECD. As a Co-Chair, Finland has stressed the development of Africa´s own capabilities as well as the issue of responsible investment.
I would now like to touch upon agenda item 63 (b), relating to the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa and to thank the Secretary-General for his excellent report.
The report highlights a number of crucial issues, such as youth, education and employment as well as issues relating to conflict and natural resources. The report stresses the importance of more active engagement of young people in the promotion of peace and security.
I want to take up some examples of how Finland supports its African partners in the field of peace and security. Firstly, Finland has supported the building of mediation support capacity of the African Union through a three-year project financed through development cooperation funds. The project has made good results and it will continue. The purpose of this programme is to develop Africa’s own capacities to prevent and resolve conflicts, including support in the participation of women and adequate consideration of gender issues in peace processes. We wish to congratulate the African Union for its work in advancing the agenda on Women, Peace and Security.
Finland also contributed to the work of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan, led by former South African President Mbeki. It is also important to stress the role of non-governmental organizations in mediation and all peace building efforts. Finland has together with a South African non-governmental organisation ACCORD established “the African Peacebuilding Coordination Programme (APCP)”. The Programme focuses on enhancing coherence and coordination in peacebuilding, with the aim of promoting local ownership in peacebuilding processes, as well as supporting the design and implementation of peacebuilding policy frameworks. We have also been a longstanding supporter of Femmes Africa Solidarité; most recently in their work in assisting DRC (the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Ruanda and Burundi in the preparations of their National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security.
Peace and Security is a pre-requisite for sustainable development. At the same time, economic and social development, including the rule of law and human rights, is a major contributor to political stability and, ultimately to the peace and security. It is of utmost importance for Africa and for the international community to strengthen peace and development, which allows African countries to use their resources for human development and the well-being of their citizens.