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Africa Day at Rio+20: Continent has Progressed but Faces New Challenges


African leaders and senior representatives of Africa’s leading institutions assessed progress on sustainable development in Africa on 19 June, dubbed “Africa Day” at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20,  in Rio de Janeiro.

They agreed that while Africa has made measurable progress, gains are being undermined by new challenges, such as climate change, water scarcity, and energy crises as well as the global financial turmoil. Strong leadership is required for Africa to achieve the future it wants. However, no institution can meet these challenges alone. They need to be faced in partnership.

They called on African countries to put forward their own resources to drive the sustainable development agenda in Africa, and looked to increased South-South cooperation. At the same time, the international community must make focused investments, develop and transfer technologies, provide adequate financing, and engage in trade that is free of conditionalities.

In closing, participants were clear that Rio+20 should conclude with new commitments to address critical development challenges as this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. It is a chance to move to a more equitable world with greater prosperity, propelled by inclusive green growth that respects planetary boundaries.


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