2002 WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
25-27 June 2001
The African Roundtable of Eminent Persons was held in Cairo, 25 - 27 June 2001. The purpose of the Roundtable was, in the context of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, to provide governments with independent views on key sustainable development priorities for Africa.
Ten years after Rio Africa still faces a number of critical challenges that will need to be met if the region is to have a sustainable future. Poverty, low economic growth, lack of financial resources, severe degradation of land, water and forests, wars and civil unrest, and major health problems are all familiar problems.
Despite these difficulties Africa has made clear achievements on a number of fronts. Africa clearly realizes that it has to take its destiny into its own hands. There has been an increasing awareness of the need to integrate economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development; increased recognition of the fragility of the African environment; improved access to education especially for females; increasing role that women are playing as agents of change in development; increased market liberalisation and privatisation; increased regional and sub-regional economic integration and cooperation; and democratisation in a number of African countries. Globalisation poses new and major challenges for Africa, which has had more adverse impacts than has been the case in other regions. However, Africa recognizes that globalisation offers opportunities if its countries prepare themselves for them. There is an increasing recognition that Africa needs to primarily draw upon its own resources to deal with the sustainable development challenges faced by the region. But, Africa is also fully aware that its own resources are far from sufficient. Africa realizes that it needs to create a favorable environment to attract and utilize the large foreign resources needed.
The Roundtable agreed that the top priority for Africa is to consolidate and build on sustainable development achievements since Rio, The Roundtable identified a number of other priority issues and action proposals that could help Africa become an active partner in a globalising world: greater regional integration, infrastructure development, nurturing of science and technology, fostering education and learning, engendering a culture of discipline, and enhanced ability for policy analysis of emerging issues. To be part of the globalised economy, Africa has to move from being primarily a producer of agricultural products and other commodities to a manufacturing, value added economy.
Feeding Africa and supplying affordable energy needs is quite achievable given Africa's natural resource base of land, water, oil, gas and renewable energy resources.
However, in the case of agriculture it will be critical to reverse land and resource degradation trends and provide equitable distribution of income to poor farmers. Scientific research for agriculture will need to be increased and its results applied.
Energy is critical not only for individual needs but also for such key sectors as in industry, use of information and communication technology and transport. At present Africa lacks the technology and financial resources to develop the full potential of energy.
The low technology base in Africa is a major constraint to development. Africa must strive to be a learning society through promoting education and scientific research, including sustainability science. Africa must foster links with research institutes overseas and draw on the expertise of expatriate Africans.
Increased regional integration/cooperation is paramount to promote and develop African economic markets, to support economic growth and to strengthen Africa's negotiating abilities with other regional groups and transnational corporations as well as within multilateral organisations.
Development and adequate maintenance of transport and other infrastructure is an essential part of regional integration.
Achieving peace and social stability is one of the top priorities for Africa. Without this basic condition the achievement of sustainable development will not be possible. Good governance, regional cooperation and active mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution are key requirements to counteract this longstanding challenge.
Financing is paramount for achieving sustainable development goals. Currently almost 95 per cent of the financial resources used in Africa are from domestic sources. However, ambitious but achievable time-bound goals to uplift Africa will require much more than the resources available domestically. The Roundtable identified a number of actions to increase the amount of external funding for Africa.
Apart from governance issues generally, the Roundtable identified a number of actions related to institutions, which involve more focussed approaches to sustainable development.
to the Ministers in the African Regional Inter-governmental Meeting
The African Roundtable of Eminent Persons recommends that the African Ministers at their upcoming Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (African Prepcom) give this report serious consideration, for while there is hope for Africa given the strength and resilience of its people, significant social and economic changes will be required. Above all real leadership on sustainable development needs to be shown by the region's heads of government.
The Roundtable further recommends that governments at their upcoming African Prepcom identify from this report time-bound priority proposals that should be taken to the Johannesburg Summit for endorsement and to further develop them, including through specialised task forces The development of such proposals should include objectives, means of implementation, responsible entities, timelines and costs. The costings should identify those costs to be met by Africa, including inkind contributions, and those costs that need to come from international support.
1. At its Millennium Session in 2000, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to undertake a ten-year review of progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Rio Earth Summit. This review will take place at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa in 2002 - the Johannesburg Summit. However, an important challenge is to ensure that the outcome of the Summit is not limited to a review but leads to new visions, commitments, partnerships and plans for practical implementation to make sustainable development real at all levels.
2. As a unique and major feature of the preparations for the Johannesburg Summit, it was agreed that the main issues for the Summit would arise from participatory national and regional assessments and discussions drawing from all segments of society and regions of the world.
3. The global inter-governmental process, which will involve three preparatory meetings to be held in the first half of 2002, will benefit from Regional Inter-governmental Preparatory meetings to be held in all regions in the second half of 2001. In order to support this process and to take advantage of the views of experts, the United Nations is convening independent Regional Roundtables of eminent persons and leaders of civil society in the five regions of the world.
4. The Africa Eminent Persons Regional Roundtable was held in Cairo, Egypt, from 25 to 27 June 2001. This report attempts to capture the key points raised and proposals for action made by the participants. The participants attended in their personal capacities and provided their perspectives on m or accomplishments and major lessons learned since Rio in 1992, on the major constraints to sustainable development, on new challenges and opportunities for the future, on priorities for action to achieve sustainable development in Africa and on strengthening the institutional frameworks for sustainable development, both within Africa and globally.
5. The report is intended to help in the preparatory process leading up to the Summit with new ideas, based on the participants' practical experience and interest in sustainable development, to develop a platform which outlines key policy issues, priorities and follow up actions for the region as well as at the global level.
6. This report will be forwarded to all of the regional and sub-regional preparatory committees. It will also be made available to the global preparatory meetings. Furthermore, the Roundtable report will be posted on the Johannesburg Summit web site.
7. The African Roundtable was organised by the Secretariat of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in collaboration with the Government of Egypt. The Roundtable was chaired by Dr. Mostafa K. Tolba. A full list of participants is attached as an Annex to this report.
8. The Chairman opened the meeting and welcomed the participants. He outlined some of the problems for Africa and stressed the need for the region to meet the formidable challenges currently facing Africa. At the opening of the Roundtable, introductory statements were made by Ms. Nadia Makram Ebeid, Minister of State for Environment Affairs and Ms. JoAnne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development/UNDESA. The meeting was also attended by Mr. Mostafa Abdel Kader, Minister of Local Development.
9. This report represents the thrust of the general discussion. It would be surprising if in a diverse group such as this, there were not differences of views and emphasis among individual members. Participants, however, did subscribe to the overall content of the report.
II. Conclusions and proposals for action
1. Achievements in Africa Towards Sustainable Development since Rio
10. There was general agreement among participants that some achievements in meeting the sustainable development goals set in Rio have been reached in Africa during the past decade, but that they have been insufficient overall, due to limited financial support. In this direction, there is recognition that Africa needs to primarily draw upon its own resources to deal with the sustainable development challenges faced by the region. But, Africa is also fully aware that its own resources are far from sufficient. Africa realizes that it needs to get best conditions to attract and to utilize the large foreign resources needed.
11. Life expectancy is still low but has improved during the past two decades. However, this trend is being slowed by the prevalence of HIV AIDS and other infectious diseases in a number of African countries. In addition, infant mortality has declined.
12. Access to education has improved especially for females.
13. Since Rio, women have come to play a crucial role and are increasingly acting as agents of change for sustainable development. There is greater recognition of women's role in natural resource decisions, education and resource management as well as in education, health and social resources. Furthermore, they are instrumental in promoting peace in areas of civil strife.
14. There is an increased awareness of the fragility of the African environment and its natural resources. Examples of African responses include the institutionalisation of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, the ratification of all global environmental conventions, the formulation and implementation of various environmental action plans, rules and regulations and conservation strategies. There have been some improvements in the management of natural resources, such as land, forests and water, though overall the natural resource base continues to deteriorate. These improvements have often taken place through community based management. Specific natural resource management initiatives, such as the reduction of gas flaring, improvements in the pipe-line transportation infrastructure and implementation of national forestry strategies had a positive impacts.
15. During the past decade there has been an increasing awareness about the need to integrate economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development. National sustainable development strategies were developed; institutions that facilitate multi-stakeholder consultations to achieve such development were established; and there were some examples of increased involvement of local communities and NGOs in the planning and implementation of sustainable development plans.
16. Increased market liberalisation and privatisation has led to the emergence of young entrepreneurs in many African countries. However, not all moves toward privatisation have had positive impacts. In a number of cases it has adversely affected the poor. It has also led to the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few individuals or families in some countries.
17. There is a general recognition that corruption is a major impediment to sustainable development worldwide, and it is encouraging to note that, in Africa, this matter is now widely discussed at the highest levels and that actions are being taken against it in many African countries.
18. There has been increased regional economic cooperation based essentially on sub-regional economic integration. There is a trend to cooperate also on the basis of eco-geographic regions with the aim of conservation and management of natural resources for the benefit of all, such as the Nile Basin and Fouta- Djallon Initiatives.
19. Increased democratisation in many African countries has been enhanced by the increasing role of civil society and media and the devolution of centralised decision-making structures.
20. These achievements have contributed to the sense of hope in the region. Africa now clearly realizes that it has to take its destiny in its own hands.
21. Poverty is projected to grow in Africa, and in twenty years time some 60 per cent of the population could live in abject poverty. Thirty-five out the 49 LDCs are located in Africa. The last 24 places of the Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations Human Development Report are occupied by African countries. To achieve the Millennium Declaration target of reducing poverty of those living on less than $1/day by 50 per cent by 2015 it is estimated that the annual growth in Africa has to be 7 per cent up to 2015, though this will be difficult to achieve. Models of development currently applied to Africa may not be appropriate and new economic development paradigms specific to the region need to be developed. The importance of promoting the idea of self-reliance and a sense of urgency in overcoming sustainable development constraints was noted.
22. Economic growth of African countries during 1994-2000 period has ranged from 2.3 percent to 4.8 percent annually, yet in most counties per capita income has not grown. High unemployment remains a problem and the lack of government resources has led to an inability to provide adequate education, to reduce illiteracy, to promote human and institutional capacity building and enhance management skills. The increasing mobility of labour and the significant disparity between standards of living in many parts of Africa and elsewhere in the world is leading to an overseas exodus of many of the most educated and talented Africans. In addition the slow rate of empowerment of local and indigenous communities and the high rates of population growth in the region are impeding sustainable development.
23. Constraints to sustainable development also include cultural dimensions, including the greater discipline. It was felt that Africans themselves have an unwarranted perception of weak ability to solve problems, and this "Afro-pessimism" was viewed as a fundamental constraint on efforts to achieve sustainable development in the region.
24. Internal and external debt burdens, coupled with dwindling ODA and limited FDI, are constraints faced by Africa in achieving adequate levels of economic growth. Furthermore, low levels of investment, declining commodity prices and capital flight have contributed to inadequate socio-economic development. Structural adjustment programmes and macro-economic policies have had mixed results and may have constituted on sustainable development in some countries.
25. Wars and civil unrest and instability cause destruction of infrastructure, disruption of societies and greatly complicates efforts to achieve sustainable development. Expenditure on arms drains resources from public sector allocations, including those needed for social development, economic growth and environmental protection.
26. Inefficient domestic production leading to higher costs coupled with inadequate transport infrastructure hinder the competitiveness of African goods and services in domestic and international markets and limit inter-African commerce and trade. Low payment to producers, including farmers, also has negative impacts. In addition, inadequate access to appropriate technology, lack of marketing techniques and insufficient regional and sub-regional economic cooperation work as constraints to sustainable development.
27. Unsustainable management of natural resources, including land degradation and desertification, deforestation, degrading aquatic and land-based eco-systems and deteriorating water quantity and quality, is putting serious strains on sustainable development. Access to adequate and safe water resources supply and sanitation is a major constraint on development in Africa. More than 300 million people in Africa lack reasonable access to adequate drinking water and even more lack access to adequate sanitation.
28. Reliance on traditional energy sources, such as wood, animal dung and agricultural waste is associated with health problems and places heavy burdens on women and children. Increased firewood use in rural areas is contributing to deforestation in some areas. Inadequate access to modern sources of energy including electricity, particularly in rural areas, hampers socio-economic development.
29. The incidence of infectious diseases including malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS has reached epidemic proportions in some African countries and has important implications for the health and welfare society as well as for socio-economic development in general.
30. The increased incidence of natural disasters, floods, drought, tropical storms, volcanic eruptions and landslides, partially related to climate change, has resulted in significant human, social and economic losses, posing a major threat to the African continent. Environmental degradation, population increase and increasing poverty make societies more vulnerable to natural disasters. The negative impact of these events serves as a major obstacle to the achievement of sustainable development. The African region suffers from insufficient capacities to predict, monitor, handle and mitigate natural disasters.
31. Inadequate and unreliable information on natural resources and socio-economic data serve as a further constraint. People and local communities have a right to information, and it is important to make available sustainable development information in local languages. Furthermore, dissemination of data and information is hampered by insufficient information technology infrastructure. Very few people have access to computers and even fewer have access to information technologies. The inadequate provision of electricity in rural areas effectively perpetuates the digital divide.
32. Another constraint is the lack of African sustainable development indicators appropriate for African countries as well as the great shortage in policy analysis and policy advice institutes.
3. Challenges and opportunities in the post Rio era: (Sustainable Development and globalisation).
33. Rio was successful in creating a new development paradigm that challenged developing and developed countries to work together towards achieving a broad spectrum of sustainable development goals. It is hoped that the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002 will seriously address the issue of how globalisation can contribute to the next steps of realizing sustainable development, particularly in developing countries.
34. Aspects of globalisation have to date, resulted in net adverse effects on Africas social and economic development and on its environment. This situation will continue unless Africa becomes more pro-active with regard to globalisation to take advantage of new opportunities that can result from its increased participation in the process. Africa can benefit from globalisation if it can position itself well and identify its unique contributions and market niches to promote Africa as a global player. This must be coupled with a willingness on the part of industrialised countries to assist, not to block, such effort.
35. Overall, the liberalised trading regime and actions of WTO have not assisted Africas development. Further, TRIPS, if interpreted strictly could further disadvantage Africa in relation to the value of its biodiversity and access to new technology, particularly pharmaceuticals for treating major health problems such as HIV/AIDS.
36. Highly visible aspect of globalisation are the regional groupings of States, such as the EU or NAFTA, or free Trade Zones, and the increasing trend towards mergers between large companies to establish huge Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and major banks. The large majority of the 500 biggest TNCs in the world are based in the USA, Europe and Japan. They are becoming so powerful that they can influence government decisions in the North in a way which may be contrary to the interests of the democratically elected government and the society in Africa.
37. The perception of globalisation in developed countries and other factors continue to increase the gap between rich and poor, among States and within States, resulting in increases in unemployment, particularly among youth who are becoming more restless. Violence, exhibition of anti-social behavior, including drug use, and individual ill health are also manifestations caused by this gap.
38. The dramatic developments in the field of information and communication technology, since Rio, has lead to a further consolidation of economic advantage in the north and marginalisation of Africa.
39. With the increased role of the private sector since Rio there has been an associated downsizing of the government sector. This in part is a positive development, as the private sector tends to be more efficient, provided that it does not result in the formation of monopolies. However, it is important that governments in Africa retain sufficient resources and capacity in order to continue to deliver public goods.
40. African countries with well developed manufacturing capabilities and a skilled labour force are more likely to benefit from globalisation. Economic cooperation at the regional level can contribute to increased competitiveness by Africa in global markets.
41. The transition from public to private sector research in developed countries offers new opportunities for Africa, with regard to transfer of knowledge and technology. Knowledge is now more readily available in the market place. In addition, increased research cooperation opens new avenues for participating in globalisation and African research institutions can be instrumental to the success of the region's participation in the process of globalisation.
4. Priority areas for action in Africa over the next ten years
42. Development in Africa is complex and difficult and many areas related to sustainable development can be considered as priorities. It is necessary to prioritise issues according to their urgency, impact and implementability. In this respect, there is an obvious need for greater commitment to national self-reliance coupled with a clear vision and strategic plan for Africa in order to achieve sustainable development.
1. Priorities for the decade
a. Consolidating sustainable development strategies
43. There is a need to consolidate and build on sustainable development achievements since Rio. These achievements include institutional development, increased capacity-building and resources management and development.
b. Investing in people
44. Human resources development and capacity-building are crucial elements of sustainable development and it is important to develop clear policies in relation to training, education and research in the region. It is essential to: a) Upgrade the quality of education to be able to respond to the challenges of the market; b) launch literacy campaigns to cut down the percentage of illiterates to 50% of the current figures with major emphasis on women; c) strengthen and, if needed, establish well equipped and strongly supported specialized research and technology development institutes; and d) apply gender approaches to strategies for investing in people.
45. Capacity building efforts should be further advanced to manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. Capacity building should enable strategic sustainable development thinking that could tap into the African region and should be directed at mastering the process of negotiations particularly within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the global environmental conventions, as well as with transnational corporations (TNCs). Incentives should be developed to minimize the overseas exodus of many of the most talented Africans and there must be proper utilisation of existing human resources.
46. Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other debilitating infectious diseases, as well as illegal drug use, is an important objective for the health sector. To this end it is appropriate to establish a unified position regarding the application of TRIPS requirements on the production of pharmaceuticals in Africa. In addition, it is important to provide necessary nutritional requirements and to cut by 50% the percentage of under-nourished in the base year 2002. It is also important that the provision of health services, potable water and sanitation reaches a minimum of 50% of the population in the poorest countries and higher figures in the rest.
c. Feeding Africa
47. The increased dependence on science-based agricultural food production and proper management of related natural resources, such as land and water, is essential for reaching food security and food self-sufficiency in the African region. The African continent contains sufficient natural resources for food self-sufficiency. Taking into account current levels of food production and projected population growth it is apparent that current levels of production are insufficient. In this regard, it is important to reverse current trends of land degradation and dwindling water resources for irrigation, as well as to increase strategic agricultural research taking into account indigenous knowledge. It also requires advanced scientific research and appropriate technology transfer.
48. In addition, there should be a clear position regarding genetically engineered food products and their potential role in feeding the growing populations in most African countries, as well as their potential health and ecological impacts.
49. There is a great need of equitable access to strategic natural resources, particularly for the poorest people and countries of the region.
d Energy issues
50. The role of energy is crucial to achieve sustainable development goals. There is a need for access to affordable energy especially in rural areas and in sustainable industrial development. Energy is fundamental in such areas as communications, information technology and transport. The lack of energy availability to develop these areas is severely constraining Africa's involvement in various aspects of globalisation. Africa should allocate far more attention to the development of new and renewable energy sources, such as the utilisation of solar and biomass technologies. New and renewable sources of energy could be utilised to a greater extent and could contribute positively to sustainable development. More generally, Africa is well endowed with energy resources but many countries lack the technology and financial resources to develop its full potential. There is an urgent need to identify new energy projects, such as the Algeria/Nigeria pipeline and to strengthen energy infrastructure.
e. technology issues
51. Introducing and ensuring access to new technologies, particularly information and communication technologies and biotechnology is an important factor for enhancing economic development in Africa. In order to accelerate the development of such technologies and expand their use, the region should strengthen existing, or if needed, establish well equipped and strongly supported specialised research and technology development institutes in the areas of renewable energy, information and communication technology, biotechnology and the indigenisation of desalination technology. Added emphasis must be placed on the need for the adaptation of technology to local needs and the reintroduction and use of indigenous skills wherever appropriate.
f. Investment in infrastructure
52. Infrastructure development is important for Africa's continued socio-economic growth. There is an urgent need for investment in public transport systems, roads, ports, hospitals and schools. These will require huge financial resources and hence the need for innovative financial solutions for raising adequate funds.
g. Accelerating regional integration and expanding African solidarity and cooperation
53. Increased regional integration/cooperation is paramount to promote and develop African economic markets and economic growth and to strengthen its negotiating abilities with other regional groups and TNCs as well as within multilateral organisation, e.g. WTO. In addition, increased regional and sub-regional cooperation is required for efficient and integrated use of natural resources, e.g. shared water resources for the benefit of all. It is important to develop and establish regional and national risk management and disaster reduction systems and to put in place early warning and monitoring systems and emergency preparedness measures, particularly in the most disaster prone areas.
54. The promotion of regional integration/cooperation and flows of people, information, capital and goods would require improvements in information and communication infrastructures and accessibility of appropriate technology.
h. Peace, security and good governance at national and international levels
55. Achieving peace and social stability is one of the top priorities for Africa. Without this basic condition the achievement of sustainable development will not be possible. Fundamentally the achievement of peace and security requires action at the national level. This in turn requires good governance and an aware public. It was noted that in a number cases, civil war and strife was caused by external forces. There is a need for African solidarity in exposing those responsible for war and violence and to take direct action against them. There is a great need for a strategic plan on achieving peace and stability in the African region. In this regard, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) can play a greater role. It can be instrumental in strengthening mechanisms for conflict resolution and conflict prevention. Environmental security should be added as a new paradigm for preventing and solving conflicts.
56. The promotion of peace and stability would also require the securing of cooperation of the United Nations as well as of developed countries. This would help African Countries to reduce military expenditures and instead allocate resources to the alleviation of poverty. Some developed countries' TNCs are buying illegally acquired diamonds and gold and selling arms to warring groups.
2. Means of implementation
a. Institutional and social reform
57. Enhancing good governance . This encompasses a wide variety of elements ranging from the provision of social services (education, health, housing and social security) to ensuring an enabling environment for people, civil society and the private sector that encourages their participation in the formulation and implementation of sustainable development strategies; guaranteeing independent, effective and objective media for the dissemination of correct information; promoting equitable income distribution and fair distribution of wealth; establishing policy development, legislation and enforcement mechanisms; preventing wars; eliminating " Afro-pessimism"; reversing cultural erosion; promoting the culture of debate; and working to change negative attitudes .
58. The legal framework, such as environmental, investment and tax laws need to be strengthened and harmonized on a regional and sub-regional basis.
59. Financing is paramount for achieving sustainable development goals. Adequate financing is critical for the development of a number of economic sectors, including agriculture. The availability of financing is crucial to the ability of African countries to fully participate in a globalized economy characterized by a high degree of economic activities and integration.
60. African countries should clearly show that they rely first on their own limited national resources before they turn to the outside world for support.
(i) Actions at the national level:
1. Rationalization of taxation systems and collecting taxes at sources
2. Encouraging African expatriates to save and send some of their earning to their home countries.
3. Allocating resources efficiently is an important element in attracting both domestic and foreign financing. Performance budgeting can play a role in ensuring that government funds are allocated efficiently. As a start a more transparent budget that is understandable by the public is required.
4. Extending microcredits through social banks and social funds. (Similar to the Grameen Bank)
5. Promoting social responsibility of national corporations for the financing of schools, hospitals, etc
6. Increasing the absorptive capacity to use internal and external financial resources.
7. Sponsoring efforts to increase national savings from 17% of GDP to 30 % of GDP
8. Improving country credit worthiness
9. Ensuring that project proposals for international financing are presented in an attractive way, demonstrating that they are economically viable and environmentally sound.
10. Excessive military expenditure by poor countries is a misallocation of funds. African governments participating in the World Summit for Sustainable Development should take the opportunity to jointly commit, as a start, to the reduction of military spending in the region by at least 25%. The money saved should be directed to social development, particularly education and health services.
11. Learning from the current experience of some African countries about the procedures for ensuring debt cancellation
12. Improving national financial institutions, strengthening domestic financial markets and adopting appropriate laws and regulations and incentives.
13. A meeting of finance ministers and current and former heads of African development banks to discuss creative financing for sustainable development in Africa is proposed. This meeting could be held in conjunction with the UN conference on financing for development.
(ii) At the international level
1. Many African countries are faced with high debt burdens The servicing of debt is costly and reallocates scarce financial resources from social development and environmental protection needs. It is essential when seeking debt relief to review the conditions that come with it and assess whether it might negatively affect credit ratings and the ability to obtain credit in the future. Refinancing debt to obtain better interest and/or payment terms may be appropriate for some countries.
2. Africa's financial needs are much greater than its domestic resources, therefore foreign sources should be tapped. The importance of ODA reaching the target of 0.7 per cent cannot be over-emphasised for the poor countries. Moreover, there is a real need to consider freeing ODA from the current strings that are often attached to it. A number of other arrangements are relevant in this respect including loans and grants, foreign direct investment (FDI), joint ventures and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) projects. Each type of financing has advantages and disadvantages. For example, grants generally have conditions. Procurement regulations by lenders pose constraints on the rational use of funds. The re is a need to renegotiate changes in such regulations. Innovative new financing mechanisms could be considered within existing institutional frameworks .
3. Currently Africa attracts less than 2 percent of global FDI, and a goal of raising this to 10 percent was viewed as reasonable. To attract FDI and foreign loans it would be important to establish an attractive enabling economic environment. This includes political stability, fiscal incentives, adequate communications and transportation and skilled labor. In addition, efficient production methods are required in order to ensure competitiveness in both domestic and international markets, and modern marketing techniques are necessary. Regional economic cooperation and integration can play a large role in this regard. Other requirements for attracting foreign funds would be to ensure that projects are economically viable, with minimal risks to investors. The availability of risk insurance can play a positive role in attracting financing. Moreover, the credit worthiness of the country and the project sponsor is an important factor in attracting funds.
4. African countries certainly need much better access to international markets for their products and for financing their projects. Projects that produce goods destined for export markets may be better able to attract foreign funding. African countries should set targets for the export of raw materials and manufactured goods, which often provide needed foreign exchange. This will require much improved marketing techniques and certainly much greater improvement in the competitiveness of African exports. Concrete action to promote African commodity price stability should be undertaken with international cooperation.
5. Mobilization of financial resources for sustainable development can be enhanced by strengthening current national and regional financial institutions and financial markets. In this regard measures should be taken to strengthen the African Development Bank.
5. Institutional Arrangements: CSD
61. At the national level a number of countries have developed national sustainable development strategies or other related mechanisms such as National Environment Protection Plans. However few countries have established specific institutional arrangements related to sustainable development such as National Sustainable Development Councils.
62. In order to promote sustainable development, governments should adopt a policy approach that involves the integration of the three components of sustainable development in decision making. Countries should also adopt national sustainable development strategies, and based on these strategies, develop action plans for priority areas with specific targets and financial and human resource commitments. Countries should promote sustainability science. Finally, countries should establish key institutions with high level commitment to ensure the achievement of the approved targets.
63. There is an urgent requirement generally in Africa, as in most parts of the world, for governments to show real leadership with respect to sustainable development.
64. At the regional level the UN Economic Commission for Africa should become a UN intergovernmental commission on sustainable development.
65. Sub -regionally, the existing integration mechanisms and agencies are in a good position to take the lead in promoting a sustainable development approach.
66. Generally, Africa needs to adopt more regional and sub-regional institutional approaches. For example, cooperation in joint activities that benefit all concerned in the area of water use; well planned agricultural production on the most fertile land; production and transfer of energy, particularly hydro power.
67. There is need for an on-going UN global body on sustainable development. However the existing Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has a number of weaknesses. As a functional commission of ECOSOC, the CSD has no power to require action from its decisions. Unlike other related UN agencies it does not report to the UN General Assembly and it does not have sufficient financial resources. A serious commitment by the UN to sustainable development requires a much stronger CSD. While the Roundtable did not identify any specific actions on this matter various options were discussed including giving the CSD higher status than a functional commission of ECOSOC. The possibility of using the Trusteeship Council as a high level UN body on sustainable development should also be considered. The Johannesburg Summit must agree meaningful actions to make the CSD a strong UN organ capable of ensuring the implementation of the Summit decisions.
68. It is critical that the World Summit on Sustainable Development take decisions that lead to the strengthening of the UN institutional arrangements relating to environment. A much strengthened UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is extremely important for the UN's overall approach to sustainable development. The Summit needs to take decisions that can lead to a much stronger UNEP.
69. In relation to the existing arrangements for the CSD, the following actions should be pursued:
III. Follow up to the Roundtable
70. Participants in the Roundtable expressed their strong commitment to facilitate progress within their own constituencies towards the goals of sustainable development and the success of the Johannesburg Summit. The participants also agreed that they will make themselves available to other regional preparatory processes leading up to the Johannesburg Summit. A meeting of the Chairmen of all five Roundtables should also be considered to consolidate the views expressed by participants at each meeting, and thus contribute further to the Summit process.
IV. Presentation to the African Ministers at their upcoming Regional Meeting (African Prepcom)
71. The African Roundtable of Eminent Persons recommends that the African Ministers at their African Regional Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (African Prepcom) give this report serious consideration for while there is hope for Africa given the strength and resilience of its people, significant social and economic changes will be required. Above all real leadership on sustainable development needs to be shown by the region's heads of government.
72. The Roundtable further recommends to governments that at their upcoming African Prepcom they identify from this report concrete time-bound priority proposals that should be taken to the Johannesburg Summit for endorsement and to further develop them, including through specialised task forces. The development of such proposals should include objectives, means of implementation, responsible entities, timelines and costs. The costings should identify those costs to be met by Africa, including in-kind contributions, and those costs that need to come from international support.