Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro HAS stressed that sustainable
development is key to addressing Africa’s economic, social and environmental
challenges, noting that the continent has the capacity to transition to a green
economy without the adverse effects that have accompanied growth in other
“For the most part, Africa has avoided many destructive aspects of unsustainable
development,” Ms. Migiro said
at the meeting of the regional coordination mechanism of United Nations agencies
and other organizations working in the continent in support of the African Union
“And let us not lose sight of Africa’s own wealth and advantages. Countries here
can leapfrog straight to green technology. Many are in a strong position to move
quickly,” Ms. Migiro told the meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa,
where both the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the AU are based.
She said that the UN and AU are strengthening cooperation as the world body
strives to deliver services as a one unified entity.
Africa is also showing impressive economic growth, she said, pointing out that
the continent is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the few regions in the world showing resilience in
the face of the global economic crisis, she added.
“But we know that Africa, as a whole, is still faced with daunting yet not
unsurpassable challenges. From water and sanitation, child and maternal health
to job creation, and from the food crisis and famine – as currently seen in the
Horn of Africa – to stemming armed conflicts where they persist. In addition,
climate change and natural disasters threaten to reverse hard-won development
gains,” she said.
The integrated approach embodied in sustainable development is Africa’s most
promising way forward, Ms. Migiro said, urging the continent to actively engage
in preparations for next year’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development
(Rio+20) in Brazil.
“The Conference is a major opportunity to produce plans for greater economic
dynamism, social protection, and the creation of jobs, especially for youth –
all while protecting our natural resources.
“With concrete plans and political will, we can make the most of Rio+20 and get
the best possible outcome. The benefits will spread across the African
continent,” she added.