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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yishan, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations at the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole of the General Assembly for the Final Review and Appraisal of the Implementation of the UN-NADAF

2002/09/25

Mr. President,

The Chinese delegation would like to thank the Panel of Eminent Persons and the UN Secretary-General for submitting respectively their reports on the final review and appraisal of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF). These two reports have made comprehensive assessment on the New Agenda and put forward recommendations, thus laying down a good foundation for the work of the Ad Hoc Committee of the whole. The Chinese delegation wishes to express its appreciation in this regard.

UN-NADAF is a mutual commitment by the international community and African countries. In order to achieve the objectives set in the New Agenda, the countries and people of Africa have made unremitting efforts and even paid a price in the relevant political and economic adjustment and reform. However, the objectives established in the New Agenda remain far from being achieved. Many African countries are still suffering from heavy debt burden, poverty aggravation, environmental deterioration and the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases. They are even facing the danger of being further marginalized in the process of economic globalization. One of the central causes for the unaccomplished objectives is the failure of the developed countries to honor their crucial commitments to Africa such as the increase of financial support. Over the past decade, official development assistance to Africa declined instead of growing, debt reduction has yielded few significant results and had little effect and trade protectionism has been on the rise.

Mr. President,

Prosperity and stability in Africa are indispensable to world peace and development. In order to break away from their predicament, the African countries have recently established African Union and launched the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), marking a historical step taken by the African countries on the path of confronting challenges and achieving African development and renaissance through greater unity and cooperation. This has demonstrated the determination, courage and spirit of initiation of African countries in taking into their own hand the destiny of African continent. To accomplish Africa's development is also the shared responsibility of the international community. NEPAD has been widely supported during the recently held High-level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly on NEPAD. China calls on the international community to take real and concrete actions and help the African countries turn to a new page in Africa's development.

Mr. President,

On the basis of taking stock of the experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of the New Agenda in the past decade, I would like to underscore the following points on future actions of international support for Africa's development.

First, African ownership and leadership in African development should be respected. Lessons in the past demonstrate that externally imposed conditions usually do not offer a remedy for the problems of Africa's development. Just as the Panel of Eminent Persons points out in its independent evaluation report, adjustment programmes such as liberalization, privatization and market-based reform have in an overall sense failed to restore economic growth while resulting in serious social problems. As the democratically elected African governments are forced to implement externally imposed policies, their democratic institutions are left with no real choices and democracy is undermined. The international community should learn the above-mentioned lessons, fully understand the real situations of African countries, respect their own choices and development strategy and support the self-initiated efforts of the African continent and impose no political conditionality.

Secondly, commitments must be kept. African countries have already begun to honor the broad responsibilities undertaken in NEPAD. The international community should respond positively to Africa and fulfill its important commitments made in the Millennium Declaration, the Monterrey Consensus and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The developed countries in particular should take immediate and effective measures to sincerely fulfill their commitments on debt, trade, official development assistance and transfer of technology, create a fair and equitable international economic environment for the African development of Africa and enhance the capacity of self-development of African countries.

Thirdly, peace and development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Prevention of and solution to the conflicts is an important guarantee for Africa's development. Conflict prevention, relief and reconstruction and economic development should be managed in a coordinated and integrated manner. The United Nations should play an important role in promoting peace and development in Africa. The relevant UN organizations and agencies should strengthen their coordination and cooperation in order to ensure that their supports for the development of Africa are mutually reinforcing. We welcome in this regard the ECOSOC decision to establish advisory groups on African countries emerging from conflict.

Mr. President,

The Chinese government and people are greatly concerned about the economic development and social progress in African countries. To consolidate and strengthen the friendly cooperative relations with African countries has always been an important component of Chinese foreign policy. As a developing country, China has, within the context of South-South cooperation, initiated the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. At present, debt cancellation agreements with a total amount of $1.25 billion have already been signed with 31 African countries. China will as always support Africa's development and the implementation of the NEPAD.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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