Joint Statement by the Members of the Millennium Development Goals Africa Steering Group

14/09/2007
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New York, 14 September 2007-As leaders of the major multilateral and inter-governmental organizations working for development in Africa, we, the heads of the United Nations, African Development Bank, African Union Commission, European Commission, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank, met today to establish the MDG Africa Steering Group. Through this group, we will coordinate and redouble our efforts in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) across the African continent. With a clear focus on implementation, we will accelerate efforts to follow through on existing commitments to support development in Africa.

We are deeply concerned that Africa as a whole is not on track to meet the MDGs by 2015. Yet, since many individual countries are on track to achieve at least some of the Goals, there is more good news than meets the eye. Moreover, many African governments have significantly strengthened their policies, advancing the conditions for long-term economic growth. Success stories throughout the continent show that the Goals remain achievable if Governments and the international community urgently implement existing commitments to strengthen domestic policies and scale up investments.

Just past the midpoint to the target date of 2015, it is of paramount importance that we focus on practical steps to implement existing pledges. The Declaration on the Millennium Development Goals of 31 July 2007, signed by a number of Heads of State and Government and major corporations, as well as several other initiatives already underway, all underscore that there is determination to achieve tangible results, and that it is possible to mobilize the international system around shared objectives. In our efforts, we must recognize the primary responsibility of African governments in meeting the Goals, reinforce national ownership and capacity for implementation, and strengthen the commitment to sound policies and accountability.

Today, we resolved to address three central challenges:

  • Identify effective mechanisms for implementing commitments in the areas of health, education, agriculture and food security, infrastructure, and statistical systems: Our organizations will work together to review international implementation mechanisms and support Governments in making the investments needed to achieve the MDGs. We will determine how these mechanisms can be strengthened where they are falling short, and where new ones need to be added.
  • Improve aid predictability, following from the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Our organizations will make our own aid more predictable. We will also work with other donors to help establish country-by-country schedules for official development assistance to rise to meet existing commitments, so that African Governments can plan effectively for the practical investments needed to achieve the MDGs.
  • Strengthen our joint efforts at the country level in support of the MDGs. Starting in a sub-set of African countries, we will launch an intensive collaboration among our organizations to support Governments in preparing and implementing strategies that are ambitious enough to achieve the MDGs.

With the launch of the MDG Africa Steering Group, we reaffirm our commitment to spare no effort in reaching the MDGs in Africa. We will mobilize the full support of our institutions in a spirit of cooperation and partnership. We know that rapid progress is possible, and will work with other world leaders to use all the tools, resources and commitments available to support African countries in halving extreme poverty by 2015, and in charting a path towards sustained economic growth.

About the MDG Africa Steering Group

The MDG Africa Steering Group, chaired by the United Nations Secretary-General, mobilizes the leaders of the UN system and major multilateral and intergovernmental organizations in support of reaching the MDGs in Africa. The group will focus on (i) strengthening international mechanisms for implementation in the five areas of: health, education, agriculture and food security, infrastructure and statistical systems; (ii) improving aid predictability; and (iii) enhancing coordination at the country level. It will be supported by the MDG Africa Working Group, composed of representatives of the UN system and other major multilateral organizations and chaired by the UN Deputy-Secretary General. The Working Group will reach out to African Governments, prepare action plans for achieving the objectives of the Steering Group, mobilize and coordinate the efforts of the institutions represented, and prepare periodic progress reports. The Working Group will convene in New York on 20 September 2007 to launch the operational work.

Signed:

  • Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General (Chair)
  • Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani, President, Islamic Development Bank
  • José Manuel Barroso, President, European Commission
  • Kemal Dervis, Chair, UN Development Group
  • Rodrigo de Rato y Figaredo, Managing Director, IMF
  • Donald Kaberuka, President, African Development Bank
  • Alpha Oumar Konaré, Chair, African Union Commission
  • Robert Zoellick, President, World Bank