20th AU Summit Discusses MDGs, Post-2015 Development Agenda
28 January 2013: The 20th session of the African Union (AU) Summit met from 21-28 January 2013, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme of “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.” Heads of State from 37 countries discussed a range of issues, including peace and security, maternal health, poverty, malaria, climate change, and the post-2015 development agenda.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon applauded regional and national leaders' progress on development, good governance and human rights, while urging leaders to redouble efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Ban also praised the African Group for leading the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to adopt for the first time a call to end female genital mutilation.
On climate change in Africa, the UN Secretary-General underscored UN support for the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative, as well as for the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL). Kandeh Yumkella, Director General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), also endorsed SE4ALL, of which he will serve as Chief Executive Officer after leaving his eight-year post at UNIDO in June. Yumkella, echoed by UNGA President Vuk Jeremic, further stressed the importance of the UN's continued support for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and other African-owned and African-led processes.
On the post-2015 development agenda, Yumkella emphasized education, skills formation, and advanced manufacturing capacity needed to move the continent from a growth model built on commodity exports to manufacturing and value-added services. The new AU Chairman, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, pledged to prioritize the implementation of AU plans on industrialization and agriculture.
Other discussions addressed the African high-level trade committee, and progress on the Continental Free Trade Area in accord with the Abuja Treaty road map. [AU Summit Website] [UN Secretary-General Statement to AU Summit] [UN Secretary-General Statement at Joint Press Conference] [UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Press Release on the Summit] [UNECA Press Release on Ban's Statement] [UN Press Release] [Statement of UNGA President] [UNIDO Press Release] [UN Women Press Release]