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We, the Heads of State and Government of African States and of the European Union as well as the President of the European Commission, have met in the First Africa - Europe Summit under the Aegis of the OAU and EU, in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, at the kind invitation of His Excellency Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, under the Co-Presidency of the President of Algeria, His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in his capacity as Chairman of the OAU, and the Prime Minister of Portugal, His Excellency António Guterres, in his capacity as President of the European Council.
The Secretary General of the OAU, and the Secretary General of the Council of the European Union/High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy also participated in the Summit. A representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations attended the Summit.
We solemnly declare that:
1. Over the centuries, ties have existed between Africa and Europe, which have led to many areas of co-operation, covering political, economic, social, as well as cultural and linguistic domains. These have developed on the basis of shared values of strengthening representative and participatory democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good governance, pluralism, international peace and security, political stability and confidence among nations. In the light of the current rapid globalisation trend, We are determined to strengthen this co-operation in our mutual interest and make it more beneficial to the two regions.
In order to give a new strategic dimension to the global partnership between Africa and Europe for the Twenty First Century, in a spirit of equality, respect, alliance and co-operation between our regions, We are committed to the basic objective of strengthening the already existing links of political, economic and cultural understanding through the creation of an environment and an effective framework for promoting a constructive dialogue on economic, political, social and development issues.
2. We stress the importance of regional economic co-operation and integration as an efficient strategy for the orderly and co-ordinated development of the African continent. We recognise the important interrelation between political stability, peace and security on one hand and regional integration on the other. We commend the leaders of the African continent for adopting a number of declarations, plans and programmes, as well as treaties which constitute an appropriate framework for the collective promotion of the development of their countries, which include the Lagos Plan of Action and the Final Act of Lagos of 1980, and the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community of 1991 (the Abuja Treaty), which came into force in May 1994, and the Sirte Declaration adopted at the OAU Extraordinary Summit, Libya in September 1999, on the African Union.
3. We note the progress made in regional integration in Europe and in Africa and recognise that regional integration can be an important step towards beneficial participation in the world economy. We welcome the decision taken at the OAU Extraordinary Summit on the African Union in Sirte, Libya in September 1999 to realise the African commitment to regional integration and to consolidate and strengthen the regional economic communities as the building blocks for achieving the objectives of the African Economic Community.
4. We note the efforts to establish an Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area and, in the framework of the just concluded ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, to create integrated economic areas between the EU and Africa, consistent with the objective of enhancing the economic integration of Africa. In addition, the priorities for action adopted by the Summit will be promoted through the current ministerial discussions between the European Union and the African countries in the framework of the new ACP-EU Partnership Agreement and the Barcelona Process. These discussions will maintain their present format and regularity.
5. We stress the need to promote close co-operation between the EU and African regional integration institutions, notably the African Economic Community (AEC), in the context of facilitating the sharing of experiences and institutional strengthening of the AEC and the regional economic communities (RECs). In that regard, it is worth recalling the OAU document: Relaunching Africa's Economic and Social Development: The Cairo Agenda for Action of 1995.
6. We welcome the progress made in recent years towards more outward-oriented economies by a large number of African countries and we pledge our support to these policies, in such a way as to encourage competitive advantages, economic growth, sustainable development and social stability in Africa.
7. We recall that Africa and the EU have traditionally been important trade partners and We affirm our commitment to strengthen this partnership by removing progressively barriers to trade between both sides, including non-tariff barriers, and enhancing co-operation in all trade related areas, building on regional integration initiatives existing within Africa and in line with the goals and objectives of the Abuja Treaty with a view to ensuring the further development of Africa´s economic and industrial potential. With respect to African Least Developed Countries, We recognise the need for enhanced market access for essentially all their products on a duty-free and quota-free basis.
8. We agree to address difficulties, which may emanate from the application of sanitary and phytosanitary measures, anti-dumping and countervailing duties against the products of African countries.
9. We confirm that the current trend towards liberalisation and globalisation poses serious challenges to African countries in an era of a continuous decline in Africa's share of world trade. We agree on the need to define policies that maximise the benefits from further world trade liberalisation for African countries and that reverse the present trend of marginalisation that African countries are experiencing in the world economy.
10. We reaffirm our commitment to trade liberalisation in the framework of a rules-based multilateral trading system from which all nations should benefit. We recommend to all countries, which are not yet members of the WTO, to consider such membership. We are convinced that a new round of multilateral trade negotiations should take account of the particular constraints of developing countries, including those in Africa, and allow for their smooth and gradual integration into the world economy. In this context, We agree to co-operate so as to ensure that in the framework of multilateral trade negotiations special attention is paid to products, including processed agricultural products, which are of export interest to developing countries, in particular Africa.
11. We underline the importance of special and differential treatment for developing countries, particularly in Africa, within the WTO and the need for the effective implementation for such measures. In this context, We support the call for special consideration to be given to countries facing sudden unforeseeable critical economic situations.
12. We underline the need for African countries for a comprehensive assistance in the area of diversification, both vertical and horizontal, which is instrumental to enhance their effective participation in the new international trade system. We agree to identify and take proactive measures to enable Africa build its production and supply capacities and to support Africas efforts to make its exports more competitive.
Private Sector Development
13. We recognise that the private sector has been identified as the engine of growth and that it requires domestic and foreign private investment flows for sustainable growth. Accordingly, We commit ourselves to the creation of a conducive environment in Africa for an enhanced private sector development, including macro and micro economic foundations of competitiveness.
14. We consider that in order to ensure sustainable development, an improved public-private sector dialogue will have to take place, to better define their respective roles and responsibilities in economic, social and environmental development, and to involve the business community in the implementation of productive oriented activities.
15. We also support the institution of effective programmes for the accelerated development and strengthening of the domestic private sector in Africa through capacity building measures.
16. While recognising the role of the private sector, We are equally committed to strengthening the public sector to create the necessary enabling environment for sustainable development.
17. We are deeply concerned about the decline of foreign investment flows to Africa, especially those of private origin.
18. We acknowledge that African countries have continued to reform their economies and provided attractive investment codes for promoting investment flows. We encourage them to further their efforts to that effect.
19. We reiterate the need for closer co-operation to fight against capital flight from Africa, especially to offshore financial centres.
20. We agree to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa and to promote Europe-Africa co-operation in this field.
21. We recognise the importance of enhancing South-South co-operation through triangular mechanisms, building capacity in business management, exchange of experience, as well as support for joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions.
Resources for Development
22. We welcome the commitments to sustain the ODA flows to Africa, and to provide debt relief with a view to releasing additional resources for poverty reduction strategies.
23. We reaffirm the role of macroeconomic stability as a fundamental precondition for mobilising both domestic and international financial resources. Only stable, predictable and equitable macro-economic policies, in conjunction with necessary structural reforms, can create a climate conducive to economic growth. We recognise the important achievements realised on this front in many countries in recent years as decreasing inflation rates and the better trends of growth presently show.
24. We encourage all partners of development co-operation, donors as well as beneficiaries, to organise their development assistance more effectively, to work for enhanced co-ordination and complementarity, inter alia, by harmonising and simplifying procedures.
25. We recognise that concessionary resources (of the ODA type) are required in order to address as a priority, the structural rigidities that constrain Africa's development effort, especially the development of human resources capacities and poverty alleviation as well as in the expansion of physical infrastructure and production capacities.
26. In this context, We recognise that financial resources commensurate with the needs for Africas development are required and that sustained efforts should continue to be made to create the necessary conditions for increasing Foreign Direct Investment and mobilising external and internal resources, in particular of private origin. Consequently and on that basis, We agree that efforts should be intensified with a view to meeting the internationally agreed targets for development oriented resource transfers.
Infrastructural Problems and Industrial Base
27. We note that the infrastructural problems facing Africa, particularly in the areas of transport, communications energy, and water supply have been major constraints on the continent's growth and development. We agree that the inadequacy of domestic and foreign resources for the building, maintenance and up-grading of required infrastructure and networks are at the root of this problem, and therefore We have to intensify our efforts to enhance the flow of domestic and foreign resources, including those on concessional terms and to promote the effective use of new financial arrangements, with the involvement of the private sector.
28. We note, with serious concern, that at the start of the Twenty-First Century, Africa's industrial and technological base is either non-existent or weak. In view of the critical role that industrial development should play in Africa's integration into the global economy, We agree to support more effectively the continent's industrial development efforts, so as to increase its competitiveness.
Research and Technology
29. We recognise that knowledge, research and technology underpin all development efforts. Integration into the world economy, the fight against poverty and the protection of the environment require improved access to and use of knowledge and technologies.
30. We acknowledge that for Africa to meet the challenges of globalisation and attain sustainable development, the strengthening of its technological capacity especially in such areas as information technology, education, and technology information centres is critical.
31. We will promote, in the context of globalisation and the progress of the information society, new forms of dialogue and scientific and technological co-operation, as well as trade in services as important factors for closer economic ties between both regions. In this regard, special attention shall be given to building and strengthening the institutional infrastructure to enhance technological transfers and development in Africa.
32. We observe with deep concern that in spite of various efforts to address the debt crisis at the national, regional and international levels, Africa's external debt has grown at a very high rate. It has grown by about 12 percent per annum from about 110 billion US Dollars in 1980 to about 350 billion US Dollars since then.
33. We acknowledge with concern that one of the consequences is that Africa is having less access to private capital markets and has suffered a fall in investors' confidence which has had a negative impact on economic growth, sustainable development and poverty eradication on the continent.
34. We also consider that the existing measures and mechanisms aiming at the alleviation of the African debt overhang shall be appropriately evaluated as far as their modalities and implementation are concerned taking into account their impact on all African needs, especially those of middle income countries with regard to their debt servicing capacity and eventually find equitable solutions. We wish therefore to see a more determined and constructive involvement of all creditors in bilateral and multilateral initiatives.
35. We welcome the recent enhancement of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative, which was launched in 1996, as well as measures taken by EU Member States, with the aim of helping to relieve the debt burden of the poorest countries committed to fighting poverty and are pursuing economic reform programmes. We acknowledge the decision taken at the G-7 Cologne summit and the annual meeting of the IMF and IBRD to provide faster, deeper and broader debt relief to the countries belonging to the HIPC group. We call upon donors to swiftly translate pledges into actual commitments.
36. We welcome the decision to allocate 1 billion Euros out of the European Development Fund for debt relief in the framework of the Enhanced HIPC initiative and note that African countries will be the main beneficiaries of this decision. This initiative will provide additional resources for poverty reduction strategies. We also welcome bilateral contributions to the HIPC initiative.
37. We call on all creditors involved in the HIPC initiative to take the necessary action to allow for them to provide for their proportional share of debt relief in a timely fashion. Debt relief must be accompanied by sufficient efforts concerning official development assistance.
38. We acknowledge that the success of any debt relief initiatives depends on the implementation of the necessary economic reform measures, and in this regard We encourage the African countries to continue to implement such reforms, to institute good governance and to commit themselves to ring-fencing savings from debt relief for poverty alleviation, including the improvement of the social sectors and the rehabilitation of infrastructures. In this context, We commit ourselves to the globally agreed target of poverty reduction by half by the year 2015.
39. We take note of the Sirte Declaration of 9 September 1999 that mandated the Presidents of Algeria and South Africa to engage Africa's creditors with the objective of achieving the total cancellation of Africa's external debt.
40. We note the African position on the issue of external debt, which seeks debt relief and cancellation for all indebted African countries in order to create an enabling environment for sustainable development. In this regard, We agree to intensify our co-operation dialogue both among ourselves and with other creditors.
Co-operation in International Fora
41. We are determined to work together for the improvement of international understanding and co-operation for development and human progress. We reaffirm our commitment to co-operate closely in identifying and furthering common interests in international organisations, major global conferences and fora. We reaffirm the importance of working towards the attainment of the goals and objectives adopted in major international conferences organised under the United Nations' auspices.
42. We reaffirm that democratisation, development and the protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights are inter-related and mutually reinforcing.
43. We reaffirm our commitment to promote and protect all human rights including the right to development and fundamental freedoms taking into account their universal, interdependent and indivisible character, as confirmed by our commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. We acknowledge that the responsibility and accountability for establishing and maintaining such an environment lies primarily with the Governments concerned and requires the broad participation of civil society. We support the endeavour to improve the national capacities to promote and protect all human rights.
44. We express our deepest concern over the massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law, and, in particular, the phenomena of racism, genocide and ethnic cleansing. We condemn all such acts and pledge to co-operate with relevant institutions set up to prosecute and try the perpetrators.
45. We welcome the signing of the Rome Treaty establishing the International Criminal Court with a view to prosecuting crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. We urge all States to sign and ratify the Statute.
46. We welcome the holding of the UN Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, to take place in South Africa in 2001, and the holding of the Regional Conference in Senegal.
47. We also welcome the adoption of the Grand Bay Declaration and Plan of Action on Human Rights in Africa, as well as the adoption of the Protocol establishing an African Court for Human and People's Rights, which complements the African Commission on Human and People's Rights.
48. We underline the need to combat gender based discrimination and violations against the rights of women in all forms, thus honouring the Beijing Platform of Action and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and We agree to include a gender perspective into policies and programmes, where appropriate, in particular in education and awareness raising, as well as on the need for legislative action.
49. We reiterate our firm commitment and the particular importance that needs to be placed on the protection and promotion of the rights of the child in accordance with the UN Convention on the rights of the child. We will support the ongoing work in the United Nations on additional protocols on the Rights of the Child. We also welcome the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Democratic Principles and Institutions
50. We reaffirm our commitment to continue to consolidate democracy in our countries. We recognise the right of sovereign states to establish their own constitutional arrangements and to institute their own administrative structures according to their history, culture, tradition and social and ethnic composition.
51. We recognise the need to consolidate democratic principles, based on the rights of all citizens, men and women, to freely choose their political leaders through free and fair periodic elections, as well as the need for the existence of an appropriate constitutional, legislative and regulatory system.
52. We condemn all anti-democratic forms of accession to power, and reaffirm the supreme and inalienable right of our people to fully participate in the process of government, through their democratically elected representatives. We welcome the decision adopted by the OAU at the OAU Summit in Algiers in July 1999 on unconstitutional changes of government in Africa.
53. We reaffirm our attachment to the principles of good governance and rule of law. In our endeavour to promote good governance and rule of law, We express our determination, inter alia, to prevent and combat all forms of corruption in our countries.
54. We recognise the need to provide for greater inclusion of civil society in all areas of our Partnership. In this context We emphasise the need for greater participation of the citizen in decision-making concerning the management and allocation of resources, whilst respecting the diverse and complementary roles of the State, decentralised local authorities and the other society actors concerned.
55. We acknowledge that a comprehensive and integrated approach is needed to tackle the issue of migration and the separate but related issue of asylum, and will co-operate in this field. The loss of skilled migrants from Africa constitutes a continental brain-drain problem. We underline the need for co-operation to address the root causes of migration both in countries of origin and transit and in recipient countries.
56. We support the principle of Free Movement of Persons in the spirit of the Abuja Treaty, which encourages OAU Member States to adopt employment policies that allow the free movement of persons within the African Economic Community through the establishment and strengthening of labour exchanges that ensure optimal redistribution of skilled manpower.
57. We express our deep concern over the phenomenon of xenophobia. It is agreed that the African and the European states will further collaborate on the issue of the reciprocal integration of migrants as well as on migrants rights and xenophobia.
58. We recognise the need for measures to secure the respect, the dignity and protection of migrants rights, to which they are entitled under agreed international conventions.
Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)
59. We note with concern the increasingly large numbers of refugees and IDPs in Africa and the problems that have been encountered by host countries, as a result of the influx of 6 million refugees and about 20 million internally displaced persons on the continent. We reaffirm our will to continue to provide substantial assistance to those refugees and internally displaced persons, and to support their repatriation and reintegration, in conformity with international humanitarian law and, more specifically, using relevant OAU Conventions as an important guide in addressing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa.
60. We emphasise the role of the UNHCR and human rights organisations, and the right of asylum seekers to protection.
61. We condemn the systematic tactic by parties to armed conflicts of displacing the civilian population. We affirm the principle that in order to enhance their own security as well as that of humanitarian personnel, efforts should be made to locate refugees at a reasonable distance from international borders in camps of limited size. We support all efforts by UNHCR and other relevant actors to safeguard the civilian and humanitarian character of such refugee camps.
62. We reaffirm our commitment to the principles contained in the Charter of the UN, Article 2, notably the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence and non-intervention in internal affairs. We acknowledge that the parties concerned bear the primary responsibility for preventing, managing and resolving internal armed conflicts. We also reaffirm that the UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
63. We reaffirm our commitment to settle disputes by peaceful means, and to renounce recourse to the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the UN Charter, or against the national territory of another State, including the acquisition of territory by force. We stress the importance of facilitating the return to non-violent, stable and self-sustaining situations. We believe that effective policies of peace-building and conflict prevention necessitate the establishment of an international culture of prevention.
64. We recognise that peace, security, stability and justice are essential prerequisites for socio-economic development. We commend and fully support the efforts being deployed by the OAU, including those aimed at strengthening its Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, to promote and sustain peace, security and stability in Africa.
65. We underline that further efforts are needed to prevent violent conflict at the earliest stages by addressing their root-causes in a targeted manner and with an adequate combination of all available instruments. We further recognise the need to strengthen the international capacity for early response and the ability of regional and international organisations to take immediate action to prevent further conflicts when noting signs of rising tensions.
66. We welcome the Algiers Summit Decision proclaiming the year 2000 as year of peace and security. We also welcome the Sirte Summit decision to convene an African Ministerial Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Co-operation on the Continent, to be held in Abuja, Nigeria, in May 2000.
67. We are committed to fully implementing international humanitarian law and call upon all parties to armed conflict to respect and ensure respect of international humanitarian law. This includes protection of civilian populations affected by armed conflicts, as enshrined in international agreements. We are also committed to ensuring the security of relief workers, to facilitate access to populations in need and to eliminate any hurdles for humanitarian agencies.
Post-conflict Assistance and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration
68. We agree that the main objective in post-conflict situations must be to help countries in crisis to end dependency on emergency aid and return to a path of development. We acknowledge the need in post-conflict situations for urgent disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants, in particular child soldiers. We also recognise that problems such as environmental consequences of conflicts must be addressed in a comprehensive integrated framework.
69. We will continue to collaborate in developing and providing our financial support for programmes of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration; in particular, to provide vocational training to former and demobilised combatants. This could be associated with the development of programmes for the effective management and the eventual destruction of accumulated small arms and light weapons.
70. We reaffirm our unreserved condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, wherever and whenever it occurs, whatever its motives and origin, our opposition to making concessions to terrorist demands and our determination to prevent those committing terrorist crimes from deriving any benefit whatsoever from their acts.
71. We express our deep concern over the scope and seriousness of the phenomenon of terrorism and the dangers it poses to the stability and the security of our states and to the physical integrity of our people. We reiterate that terrorism constitutes a serious violation of human rights and impedes socio-economic development through destabilisation of our states. We express our conviction that terrorism cannot be justified under any circumstances. We express our determination to eliminate terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In so doing, We will be guided by the principles of international law and UN relevant conventions. We welcome the OAU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism, adopted by the 35th OAU Summit in Algiers in July 1999.
72. We welcome the Egyptian initiative supported by the OAU Summit in Algiers, to convene a UN Summit to address this dangerous phenomenon.
73. We will strengthen our co-operation in preventing and combating terrorism, guided by the principles of international law and relevant conventions.
Small Arms and Light Weapons
74. We are deeply concerned by the huge influx of arms and military equipment to conflict areas. We acknowledge that the illicit, excessive and destabilising accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons poses a threat to peace and security on the African continent. We are committed to address the problem of small arms in Africa, taking into account the supply side, and to destroy stocks of such arms and weapons. In this regard, We pledge to fully co-operate at international fora, to combat the problem of illicit trafficking and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
75. We welcome the International UN Conference on the Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects, to be held in 2001. We also welcome the initiatives taken at the regional level, in particular, the ECOWAS moratorium on the import, export and manufacture of light weapons in its sub-region, similar SADC and East African initiatives, as well as the setting up of an EU-SADC joint working group on small arms.
76. We express our deep concern over the problem of landmines and renew our commitment to resolving it.
77. The parties to the Ottawa Convention on the Prohibition of Use, Stockpiling, Transport and Production of Anti-Personnel Landmines and on their Destruction welcome the convening of the first Continental Conference of African Experts on Landmines in South Africa in May 1997. They also welcome the Maputo Declaration that concluded the first meeting of the States Parties held in Mozambique in May 1999.
78. We will pursue our efforts within the framework of the CCW (Certain Conventional Weapons) and the protocols annexed thereto as well as the Ottawa Convention, and will continue to do so within all other relevant international, regional and sub-regional fora.
79. In this regard, We stress the need for intensifying efforts in the fields of mines clearance, assistance thereto, as well as with respect to mine victims and mine awareness.
80. We will continue to co-operate towards a comprehensive resolution of the landmine problem in Africa, in particular by addressing the issue of the removal of existing landmines. We call on those states in a position to do so, in particular States involved in the deployment of mines, to provide the necessary technical and financial assistance for landmine clearance operations and rehabilitation of victims.
The 2000 Review Conference of the NPT
81. We reiterate our common commitment to contribute to the strengthening of the non-proliferation regime and nuclear disarmament.
82. The 2000 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will be an important milestone to assess the progress achieved during the past five years in the implementation of the Treaty. In this regard, We emphasise the importance of the three decisions and one resolution adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference.
83. We stress our intent to work closely in order to conduct a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons with a view to achieving a successful outcome of the 2000 Review Conference, bearing in mind the fundamental importance of the three decisions and the resolution adopted by the 1995 Review and Extension Conference, and considering the peaceful use of nuclear technologies and the establishment of new nuclear weapon free zones, in accordance with the relevant UNGA resolutions, among the States of the region concerned.
84. We emphasise the importance of the PELINDABA Treaty signed in Cairo, establishing the African continent as a nuclear weapon free zone.
Conflicts in Africa
85. We note with great concern the persistence of numerous conflicts in Africa, which continue to cause in a great number of them loss of human life as well as destruction of infrastructure and property. These conflicts threaten peace, stability, regional and international security and hinder the aspirations of African peoples to peace, prosperity and development, in particular in Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Western Sahara.
86. In this regard, We reaffirm our determination to support the rapid and equitable implementation of the peace plans and settlement plans adopted by the UN and/or the OAU, as well as the efforts of the UN and the OAU, with a view to finding peaceful and durable solutions to all conflicts, in accordance with principles of international law, UN Charter and, where appropriate, relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and OAU Charter.
Challenges to Sustainable Development in Africa and Poverty Eradication
87. We deplore the intolerable fact that more than half of all Africans are living in absolute poverty and agree to intensify the fight against poverty. The primary responsibility for alleviating poverty lies at home with each country, but this does not diminish the importance of the international dimension in the war against poverty.
88. We confirm that accelerated economic growth and sustainable development are basic prerequisites for poverty eradication in Africa within its quest for the attainment of sustainable human development as an ultimate goal of the continent's development aspirations. We note that poverty eradication, as an objective is a multi-sectoral issue, which encompasses social development through improvements in such priority sectors as education, health, food security, water and rural development. We also support the efficient allocation of resources that provide adequately for the social sectors, including in national budgets.
89. We note that conservative estimates require that African economies achieve growth rates of at least 7 percent to significantly reduce poverty. We confirm that in Africa's present economic circumstances, this is an enormous challenge relative to the mutually accepted international goal of reducing the proportion of the population living in extreme poverty by at least one-half by the year 2015. We observe that while poverty remains widespread in Africa, there is the need of improving income distribution through poverty-alleviation strategies and policies such as improving the magnitude and quality of social services expenditure, revitalisation of rural economies, and the development and financing of micro, small and medium enterprises.
90. We note that notwithstanding the above, social safety nets should be provided to protect the extremely poor segments of the population.
Investment in Human Resources - Education
91. We recognise the need and are committed to support an approach to education that is explicitly targeted at poverty eradication, and increasing the focus on sector wide approaches to education, which include the achievement of universal primary education, and to increase co-ordination among donors to this end.
92. We recognise the primacy of human resource development for sustainable and equitable development in Africa. We support the high priority to the building of national and regional capacities in the area of science and technology. We support the need to formulate effective national policies for education and training in science and technology for development, with emphasis on the liberalisation of technology flows and the promotion of indigenous technologies on national and regional level. We support the need to create a suitable environment for the retention of African experts within the continent. We also support the need for each African country to devote at least 1% of its GDP to the development of science and technology, and networking national and regional institutions.
93. We reaffirm that an integral part of human resource development is the elimination of gender-based discrimination, and the support of children's rights as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. We support the implementation of the programme of action for the Education Decade (1997 - 2006).
Investment in Human Resources - Health
94. We note with deep concern the prevalence of poverty and high population growth rates, and that a high number of African States have witnessed inadequate and declining health facilities and services. We pledge to work towards the eradication of endemic, parasitic and infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, polio and river blindness, which have retarded the quality, and productivity of Africa's human resources.
95. We note with deep concern the problem posed by the growing threat of HIV/AIDS, which has now infected more than 36 million people worldwide with the largest majority in Africa and among the poorest populations. We recognise that the HIV/AIDS pandemic is no longer just a health issue but a serious threat to development.
96. We commit ourselves to devising appropriate actions and initiatives in order to assist African countries in promoting national drug policies, the rational use of pharmaceutical drugs and access to affordable essential drugs, including the promotion of research and the registration of new treatment regimes, and the use of anti-retrovirals in the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS, as contained in the Dakar (1992) and Tunis (1994) Heads of State and Government Declarations on HIV/AIDS.
97. We recognise that economic performance and poverty eradication are strongly linked to food security in Africa, which includes issues such as agricultural development, fisheries, livestock, and forestry development. To address this problem, We believe it is necessary to improve access to and availability of food, as well as ensure adequate nutritional quality. We express deep concern that in spite of the fact that Africa is predominantly an agrarian and pastoral continent, food availability at household level is insufficient to ensure food security.
98. We recognise the role women play in many African countries in food production and food security.
99. We agree on the need to take concrete steps to ensure that agricultural promotion is not excessively centred on traditional export commodities, and that food crops, especially those produced and consumed by poor people, should be given particular attention. We agree on the need to support overall food security and nutrition strategies adopted by Africa and to enhance co-operation in these areas.
100. We recognise that the use of environmentally sound food production technologies and sustainable management of natural resources contribute to permanent improvement of food security. We will support investment in research in the areas of high yield crops as well as durable modes of preservation and storage.
101. We recognise that environmental factors have become increasingly important to Africa's development. The rate of degradation of the natural resource base poses a grave problem in various regions for current and longer-term development.
102. We recognise that the primary responsibility for identifying and responding to environmental issues lies with the countries concerned themselves. We affirm our commitment to co-operate in combating environmental problems. We, therefore, place emphasis on a strategic and participatory approach for the elaboration and implementation of national strategies for sustainable development and, through this process, integration of environmental issues into national development programmes.
103. Particular emphasis must be given to the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and to the sustainable use of scarce water and soil, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Agenda 21, the Kyoto Protocol and the African Common Position on Environment and Development. We also recognise the need to improve international co-operation, co-ordination and coherence to promote integration of environmental issues into other relevant policy sectors. Furthermore, there is a need to ensure both nationally and internationally that trade and environmental policies play a mutually supportive role in favour of sustainable development.
104. Although predominantly rural in nature, Africa is currently the fastest urbanising continent, and the consequences of this shift, and its impact on the environment, need to be recognised in rural and urban development strategies. Other issues, which require attention, include sustainable forestry, transboundary environmental problems and soil and water degradation.
105. We note with deep concern the problem of soil erosion and water degradation. We commit to put in place capacity building measures for the effective means of monitoring these environmental problems in Africa.
106. We recognise that natural disasters have severe impact on many African countries, which adversely affects the prospect of economic growth and sustainable development. We will therefore continue to co-operate actively with competent international organisations, building on the experience gained under the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.
107. We affirm our commitment to co-operate with the African States in combating environmental problems through the provision of financial and technical assistance and in the support of national co-ordinating strategy to integrate environmental issues into national development programmes. According to relevant international conventions, We also agree on the prohibition of the export of hazardous waste to Africa.
Drug Abuse and Trafficking
108. We note with deep concern the problem of drug abuse and trafficking as a global phenomenon which reinforces crime, spreads diseases and reduces the productivity of human resources, especially through the negative impact on the youth of our countries. The need to control this situation is accentuated owing to the fragile socio-economic environment in Africa.
109. We agree on the need to combat the supply and consumption of illicit and psychotropic drugs and to offer the population a lawful alternative to the growing of illicit crops, and stress the need for strengthened co-operation to combat drug abuse, illicit drug production and trafficking as well as the monitoring of trade in precursors, chemical products and psychotropic substances. To this end We agree to implement the pertinent recommendations of the 20th Special Session of the UN General Assembly aimed at reducing substantially the illicit drug phenomenon.
110. We pledge to accord importance to cultural cooperation between Africa and Europe as an integral aspect of development.
With regard to cultural goods stolen or exported illicitly, We have taken note of the concerns of African States and request senior officials of the bi-regional group to examine the legal and practical consequences of further action in this area and prepare a report for assessment at ministerial level in the framework of the follow-up mechanism, within reasonable time.