Foreign Min. Ngafuan (left) & co-panelist Japanese Foreign Min. Kishida (right)
Yaoude, Cameroun: On the eve of the target year for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has highlighted some significant progress achieved by the global community since the launch of the MDGs in 2000.
Serving on Sunday, May 4, 2014 as one of two co-panelists at a session of the First Ministerial Meeting of the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) which convened on May 4th and 5th, 2014 in Yaounde, Cameroon, the Liberian Foreign Minister noted that in spite of all its failings and challenges, the nearly fourteen years of the implementation of the MDG’s have witnessed the fastest reduction in poverty in human history, with half a billion fewer people living below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
He said the MDG’s have so far led to the reduction in child death by more than 30% with more than three million children’s lives being saved and the reduction in the number of deaths from malaria by a quarter.
“Therefore, benefiting from a backdrop of wider global, continental, and national consultations, and hopefully stronger and good-faith commitments, the post 2015 Global Development Agenda could indeed occasion the eradication of poverty on our planet and a more transformed, equitable, and developed world by the year 2030”, he envisaged.
2015 is the timeline set for the achievement of the targets of the MDG’s- eight established international goals agreed by all countries and leading international institutions of the world, which includes a commitment to halve extreme poverty rates, halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and provide universal primary education, among others.
Recalling Liberia’s frontline role in the crafting of two very important documents relating to the post-2015 Development Agenda, Minister Ngafuan reminded his audience of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s pivotal roles: first, as one of three co-chairs of a twenty seven (27) member High Level Panel (HLP) appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to craft a new Global Development Framework and the Liberian Leader’s selection by Heads of State of Africa to chair a ten-member High Level Committee (HLC) of African Heads of State and Government to craft a Common African Position (CAP) to be reflected in the Global Development Agenda Post-2015.
Minister Ngafuan cautioned the global community not to allow the focus on drafting a new global development agenda to lead to the abandonment of efforts on achieving the MDGs targets. He stressed that “with more heavy lifting, with more partners delivering on commitments, and a retooling of strategies, it is still possible for many countries to achieve certain MDG targets by 2015. But even if targets are not achieved by 2015, we can take solace in the fact that our last-ditch efforts translated into lifting more people from poverty or probably saving more mothers from the claws of death while trying to give birth.”
Minister Ngafuan also noted that African countries should be proud of themselves for agreeing on a Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda instead of each of the fifty-four (54) member states of the African Union (AU) pursuing their individual agendas in a wide global field: “That we are the only continent or block that has carved a Common Position, distinguishes us positively; and makes it easy for our partners to assist us in the lead up to the conclusion of the Global Development Agenda in 2015.”
Foreign Minister Ngafuan used the occasion to, on behalf of the Liberian Government and people, extend profuse thanks to the Japanese Government and people through its Foreign Minister, Mr. Fumio Kishida, who also served as a co-panelist with the Liberian Foreign Minister, for the level of support Japan has given to Africa’s development over the past two decades through the TICAD process.
Horatio Bobby Willie
Assistant Minister/Public Affairs