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Message-Id: <v01530501ae0bc2617054@[]>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 1996 08:52:23 -0500 (EST)
Sender: owner-nuafrica@listserv.acns.nwu.edu
From: M_Bastian@ACAD.FANDM.EDU (Misty Bastian)
To: "NUAFRICA: Program of African Studies Mailing List" <nuafrica@listserv.acns.nwu.edu>
Subject: Africa: UN Special Initiative

Date: Thu, 11 Jul 1996 19:10:20 -0500
From: apic@igc.apc.org
Subject: Africa: UN Special Initiative
To: apic@igc.org

United Nations Special Initiative

From Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), Washington Office on Africa
11 July 1996

DEV/2115 3 July 1996


GENEVA, 2 July (UN Information Service)--Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali today chaired informal consultations with donor governments on the implementation of the United Nations System-wide Special Initiative on Africa.

The Special Initiative was launched on 15 March and brings together the development agencies of the United Nations system in partnership with the Bretton Woods institutions, in a broad-ranging programme designed to provide renewed impetus to African development over the next decade.

The Geneva meeting was not a pledging conference, but a continuation of the United Nations campaign to mobilize high-level political support for the Initiative focusing on the development needs of the poorest continent. Africa is home to 33 of the world's 47 least developed countries.

The role of the Initiative was highlighted in a statement entitled "A New Partnership for Development", which was issued on 29 June at the summit of the "Group of Seven" most industrialized countries in Lyon, France, following a meeting between the leaders of those nations and the heads of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The statement declared that all participants "decided to pay particular attention to sub-Saharan Africa. A medium-term strategy will be framed for this continent, taking as its starting point the initiative launched by the United Nations Secretary-General on 15 March."

The Initiative focuses on five main project clusters aimed at providing a basis for genuine sustainable development across the African continent. The five areas are as follows:

--Education: It involves the World Bank and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and seeks to achieve universal education by the year 2010;

--Health: It involves the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank and includes reforms geared to improve health-service delivery systems and provide better coverage of the population at large, as well as specific measures to fight malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other epidemic diseases, and takes into account reproductive health and population issues;

--Food security: The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is in charge; it seeks to regroup priority actions in land degradation and desertification control, soil quality improvement and water for food production;

--Water: With the involvement of the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it aims at ensuring sustainable and equitable freshwater distribution through reliable assessments, household water security and proper water management; and

--Governance: Involving the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), it establishes strategies and support for peace building, conflict resolution and national reconciliation. Its implementation will lead to strengthening of the capacity of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in peace building and enhancing the role of civil society organizations.

Other components of the Special Initiative are information technology for development, assistance to the informal sector and employment generation to combat poverty, and trade access.

The total cost of implementing the Initiative is estimated at $25 billion over the next 10 years. The World Bank has agreed to lead the resource mobilization drive for the Initiative.

Also recognized in the Initiative is the impact of external indebtedness on African States. In 1994, sub-Saharan Africa's total debt stock stood at $211 billion, which equals 255 per cent of export income. In those countries, average per capita spending on debt servicing was $43, compared with $35 spent per capita on education and health.

The informal consultations included a presentation on the needs of countries that are currently experiencing or have recently emerged from civil conflict that destroyed the social fabric, disrupted the economy and resulted in prolonged human suffering.

Note: This document, and others dealing with the Special Initiative, can be found on-line at: http://www.un.org/News/Press/

The declaration of the G-7 Lyon Summit, including the section on "A New Partnership for Development" can be found at: http://www.usia.gov/topical/econ/g7/96g7eco.htm

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), the educational affiliate of the Washington Office on Africa. APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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