At African Union Summit, UN chief Guterres spotlights need to strengthen cooperation
30 January 2017 In his first address to the African Union since taking office, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today underscored the importance of a strategic AU-UN partnership for building sustainable development and advancing peace and security on the continent.
Speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in English, French and Portuguese, the Secretary-General told African leaders that “I am here to listen to you, learn from you and work with you for the people of Africa and the wider world.”
He expressed gratitude to African countries for providing the majority of UN peacekeepers around the work, for being “among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees [with its] borders remaining open for those in need of protection, when so many borders are being closed,” and among some of the world’s fastest growing economies.
“I am convinced we have much to gain from African wisdom, African ideas, African solutions,” Mr. Guterres told the 28th African Union Summit.
He said he was open to the AU’s ideas on how best to strengthen cooperation and partnership between the two organizations, as well as Africa’s eight Regional Economic Communities.
Secretary-General António Guterres briefs the press in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. UN Photo
One of the main goals for both the AU and the UN is to promote peace and security and human rights. Mr. Guterres noted that the AU is working to find ways to break the cycle of conflicts caused by a race for power and competition for resources, as well as inequality and sectarian divisions.
The UN, in turn, would “spare no effort” to more systematically provide the AU with the assistance needed to strengthen counter-terrorism capacity and aid populations threatened by conflict.
The most effective means of prevention and the surest way to achieve lasting peace, however, is inclusive and sustainable development, Mr. Guterres emphasized.
He noted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and called for global commitments to be respected “at all costs” because Africa needs and deserves international solidarity. In addition, Africa has its own development plan known as ‘Agenda 2036,’ which is being carried out by the AU’s development arm, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Mr. Guterres reiterated the UN’s support for these international and national goals through the UN and its agencies working in country, known as the UN Country
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