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African Leaders Call for Greater Sustainable Development, Climate Support

28 September 2011: During the General Debate of the 66th Session of UN General Assembly (GA), leaders highlighted the many challenges faced by Africa in tackling sustainable development and climate change.

The debate took place from 21-27 September 2011, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea, called for greater support and solidarity from developed nations in assisting countries that are hit by economic and climate change crises. He urged nations to fulfill their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and stressed the involvement of women and youth to ensure future development and progress on the continent.

Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya, lamenting the drought in the Horn of Africa, urged that the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) be transformed into a specialized UN agency as recommended by the African Union (AU). He further called for streamlining international environmental organizations to better respond to global environmental challenges.

Hailemariam Desalegn, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, said more work was needed for sustainable development in the Horn of Africa region. Highlighting a UN "mini-summit" on immediate aid for Somalia, he said poverty as well as lack of inclusion of youth and women in aid is exacerbating instability across the region. He noted collaborative efforts between the AU, the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to address this.

The Horn of Africa mini-summit took place on 24 September 2011 to increase awareness of the region's humanitarian crisis and assist in tackling the root causes of the drought and food shortages in the region. The event raised US$218 million for aid in the region. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged donors and countries in the region to take a long-term view of the situation and address the underlying risks factors, to avoid a recurring crisis. [UN Press Release 21 September 2011] [UN Press Release 22 September 2011] [UN Press Release 24 September 2011] [UN Press Release 26 September 2011] [Communique on Somalia Mini-Summit]