16 December 2003


NEW YORK, 15 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message to the partners’ conference on the implementation of the Action Plan for the Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), delivered by Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, in Algiers, 15 to 16 December:

It gives me great pleasure to send warm greetings to all who have gathered for this important conference.  On the occasion of this meeting between Africa and its development partners, allow me to reaffirm the United Nations’ continuous support and engagement in the rapid implementation of the Environment Action Plan of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

You are meeting a little more than a year after the Johannesburg Summit on sustainable development.  The Action Plan adopted at the Summit firmly supports NEPAD, which provides a framework for sustainable development on the continent to be shared by all Africa’s people.  In Johannesburg, the international community pledged its support to the implementation of this vision.  Today’s meeting shows that it remains determined to help Africans place their countries on a path of development and prosperity.

NEPAD’s Environment Action Plan will help African countries address the continent’s environmental challenges, while encouraging sustainable development in one of the poorest regions in the world.  Its success is central to the overall implementation of NEPAD, and to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals -- agreed by all the world’s countries.  The achievement of those goals depends on many things.  But none is more vital than forging a truly global partnership for development -- which is itself one of the MDGs.  The partnership that you have established is an example of what we need to do to reach our common objectives.

I express my gratitude to the people and the Government of Algeria, who are hosting this conference in their capital.  It is highly symbolic that this conference is taking place in Algiers, a historic meeting place on African soil of peoples and civilizations which has contributed greatly to the African cause.  Please accept my best wishes for a successful conference.

* *** *