Hon. Mustafa Haidi Makunganya Mkullo,
H.E. Mr. Katsuya Okada,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for organizing this very important plenary session on achieving MDGs - a contribution to UN MDGs Summit in September. Before I begin, I would like to particularly thank our co-chair, Mr. Babacar Cisse of UNDP-Regional Bureau for Africa for his strong commitment and leadership.
Five years from the agreed target date of 2015, we stand at a crossroads. Many African countries have achieved remarkable progress. However, the challenges are still immense in the continent. The financial and economic crisis, the food crisis, climate change and natural disasters threaten to reverse the hard-won gains made in Africa.
The Summit in September is an opportunity to keep our promise to the millions of people in Africa who are still suffering. It is therefore appreciated that the TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) process is focusing on the MDGs, under the approach of “human security,” which aims to build societies in which people are protected from threats against their lives, livelihoods and dignity, and are empowered to realize their full potential.
This approach centered on Human security allows the TICAD process to continue to pay attention to the inter-relatedness of each of the MDGs, their comprehensive nature and to the need to ensure the broadest participation to the decisions aimed at attaining its goals and targets. The TICAD process should also continue to proactively focus on the areas where gaps and delays are most striking in Africa. It is clear that Africa is the continent least expected to achieve many of the MDGs. It is therefore important, on one hand, that African countries should continue to demonstrate strong will and commitment to achieve the MDGs. Development partners on the other hand should continue to work towards fulfilling their commitments to the achievement of the MDGs.
African countries have put in place the necessary institutional and policy reforms in an effort to achieve the MDGs. These include among others: (i) integrating the MDGs into national development plans/strategies; (ii) scaling up the quick impact initiatives such as allocating more resources to education, agriculture, health and water and sanitation and introducing significant institutional innovations-decentralization to improve social services delivery; (iii) improving macroeconomic policy coordination and establishing the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
These reforms have led to increases in agricultural productivity, primary school enrolment, malaria control, access to clean water supply and vaccination campaigns. The reforms have also led to improved economic and political governance and increased mobilization of domestic resources to finance development which provided necessary conditions for the use of scaled-up ODA. All these initiatives have given greater impetus to efforts to reach the MDGs.
After ten years of implementing the MDGs, evidence shows that the continent has made significant progress towards meeting the targets. This includes progress on social indicators such as net primary education enrolment, childhood immunization, stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB, and gender parity including the representation of women in national parliaments and parity in primary education.
However, in the area of poverty reduction, employment and most health-related goals, progress is mixed. Reducing maternal mortality has had the worst performance of all the MDGs with roughly 1 in 20 African women likely to die of a condition related to pregnancy and childbirth, compared to 1 in 2,400 in Europe. This is inconceivable.
It is important to note that if the current trend continues coupled with absence of strong policy response and international support, the African continent will not meet a significant number of the MDGs by 2015.
And now, a short review of the status of each MDG in Africa.
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
The food and global economic crises have slowed down and even reversed progress on these targets. Without a strong policy response and international support, current trends suggest that the continent will not meet the target by 2015.
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
The continent will likely attain the net enrolment target in primary education by 2015, mainly due to the abolition of school fees, school cantine programme and a relatively good level of funding for Education for All (EFA) Fast Track mechanism. Within the past decade, primary school enrolment has increased from 58 to 74 per cent.
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Most African countries continue to show overall progress in gender parity in primary education. It is most likely most African countries will reach gender parity in primary education. In 2009, the overall trend of an upward increase in the proportion of women in African national parliaments remains strong while several countries compare favorably well with global standards. Rwanda, for instance has achieved 56 percent representation in parliament while making up 52 percent of the population.
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Progress is slow in reducing under-five mortality, with rates declining by only 21 percent from 168 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 132 deaths per 1000 live births in 2008.
The continent as a whole is unlikely to meet this target.
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Africa continues to have the world’s highest maternal mortality rates, with an estimated 48% of recorded maternal deaths and more than 800 death / 100 000 birth.
The achievement of this goal has the worst performance in Africa.
Goal 6: Combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases
The number of new HIV infections has declined by 25% since 1995, but remains unacceptably high, particularly among young people and women.
Malaria also continues to be the biggest causes of morbidity and mortality in Africa despite the over whole reduction of the number death related to malaria below 1000 000 in 2009 .
Tuberculosis remains a significant health risk and major contributor to Africa’s burden of disease.
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Protected areas, the corner stone of efforts to conserve the world’s species and ecosystems have been expanding in Africa. Many of them have developed National Adaptation Plans of Action (NAPA).
However, many countries are experiencing water stress.
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
Development assistance to Africa rose in 2008 in spite of the global financial and economic crisis. Overall, ODA is still far below the 0.7% commitment made by development partners.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we proceed with our discussions today, I would like us to focus on the following areas which have been identified by the MDG Africa Steering Committee as key for Africa’s success in attaining the MDGs:
Agricultural Productivity and Food Security
According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the additional amount necessary to meet the MDG of halving poverty and hunger by 2015 is US $14 billion annually. A total of 9 Sub-Saharan Africa countries allocate significant portions of their own public budgets to agriculture, reaching 10 percent of public spending. In order to bridge the financing gap, discussions are ongoing to establish a Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a vertical fund which has been proposed under the L’Aquila Declaration. The Declaration pledges about $20 billion over three years, of which Africa is expected to be the main beneficiary.
National budgets in Sub-Saharan Africa faces a potential loss of around US$ 4.6 billion annually in financing for education in 2009 and 2010, equivalent to a 10 percent reduction in spending per primary-school pupil. There is a need to honor the donor pledges in the Dakar Framework for Action, strengthening the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (EFA-FTI) to fund all countries with qualifying strategies.
The World Bank estimates that about US$ 48 billion dollars is required to focus on the highest impact and lowest cost interventions and strategies to accelerate progress towards the neglected MDGs, to reduce child and maternal mortality, in the period 2009-2015 in Sub-Sahara Africa. There is a need to advocate and support the proposals of the Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems, which expects to mobilize an additional US$ 10 billion per year through innovative financing for health MDGs in 49 low income countries – including 33 Sub-Saharan African countries.
Infrastructure and trade facilitation
Africa already spends $45 billion a year on its infrastructure needs.
Coverage of piped water has barely expanded in recent years, making it unlikely that many countries will reach the MDG target access to an improved water source. The annual price tag for reaching the target is estimated to be $15 billion, far greater than present-day spending ($3.6 billion).
To fill the existing financing gap, the Statistics for Results Facility (SRF) was launched in September 2008.
In summary, the TICAD process and the MDG Africa Steering Group of the United Nations Secretary-General should create synergies in their objectives and identify jointly the ways and means to reach those objective in the lead-up the High Level Plenary of the 65th General Assembly on MDGs.
The rational behind such a proposal is the following:
First, both processes have the same constituencies, the African countries;
Second, the MDG Africa Steering Group is the illustration of a strong partnership between 8 of the most reliable and respected institutions, some of which are also co-organizers of the TICAD Process, including UN, World Bank, UNDP, OSAA. The steering Group also includes African Union Commission, AfDB, OECD, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and IMF.
Aside of being on of the most inclusive monitoring mechanisms for the Development cooperation, MGD Africa Steering Group is also result oriented. It sets specific targets and benchmarks level at the regional and identifies mechanisms of delivery. Now, it is moving forward by broadening its Gleneagles Scenario beyond the original 10 pilot countries to cover all the countries. It is also developing an aggressive advocacy and resources mobilization plan for the attainment of the set targets.
Third, UNDP, who is doing the substantive backstopping for MDG Africa also happens to be a major co-organizer of the TICAD Process.
How can the TICAD process be of use to the High level Meeting?
The TICAD could endorse the Report of MDG Africa Steering, which quantifies the needs of the Continent in different MDG related priority areas and consolidates the existing mechanisms of delivery for international Development cooperation;
The TICAD process should assess its own contribution to the attainment of the targets of development cooperation as is the case in the progress Report; help identify the gaps in meeting the support requirement; and help in the advocacy efforts for resources mobilization;
Stakeholders of the TICAD process should take advantage of one of the six (6) Round Tables dedicated to the most vulnerable countries, including countries emerging from conflict, to contribute substantively to its outcome by providing their inputs based on their own assessment.
Finally, my Office is preparing a Monitoring Mechanism to follow-up the delivery on the commitments to Africa to meet its special needs. The process for this mechanism is on going. It will feed in the MDGs. The TICAD process could contribute to that exercise also.
I will stop here and hear some other perspectives.