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21 May 2010

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

"Let Us Rededicate Ourselves to Fruitful Partnerships in Pursuit of Peace and Sustainable Progress for All the Continent's People"

Message on Africa Day, 25 May 2010

VIENNA, 25 May (UN Information Service) - Africa Day, which marks the founding in 1963 of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the African Union, provides an annual opportunity to reflect on the challenges and achievements of the Governments and peoples of Africa. This year's celebration has particular significance as it marks the 50th anniversary of independence of several Francophone African states and Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation.

The independence movement that swept Africa five decades ago brought many new members to the United Nations, resulting in a new focus on the continent's development needs and heightened emphasis on greater democracy in the management of international relations. By consistently reminding the international community of its responsibility to the most vulnerable, and affirming that we are all members of a global family of nations, Africa has helped to reshape the global agenda.

In turn, United Nations entities have played a key role promulgating the fundamental values of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights among the diverse nations of Africa. From peace and security, to social and economic development and regional integration, the United Nations has proven itself an indispensable partner.

Our extensive presence on the ground in Africa encompasses peacekeeping, peacebuilding, mediation and conflict prevention, and there is growing cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union Commission, exemplified by regular dialogue between the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council. Almost every UN entity is working closely with African partners to tackle internal strife, attempts at unconstitutional changes of power, violence against civilians - especially women - the challenges of youth unemployment, and the burdens of disease, climate change and food insecurity. The September Summit on the Millennium Development Goals offers yet another venue for upholding our commitments to Africa and supporting the continent's efforts to implement its New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

Africa is poised to capitalize on its potential. On this Africa Day, let us rededicate ourselves to fruitful partnerships in pursuit of peace and sustainable progress for all the continent's people.

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