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Poverty alleviation, the environment, sustainable development in a globalized world

Governing Council/Global
Ministerial Environment Forum
22nd Session
Nairobi, Kenya
3-7 February 2003

Highlights : GC Profiles

"I Propose Action, Action & Action!"
Interview with HE Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal and vice president of NEPAD

In his GC address, HE Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal and vice president of NEPAD made it clear that empowering the people of Africa is a priority, if sustainable development is to be an attainable goal. He highlighted the importance of good governance, speaking of the vital role of women and the importance of building the capacities of young people.

"I say, we have succeeded in Senegal in laying the foundations for good governance. The time was right, and the parties, including the opposition were ready to accept the concept and seize the opportunities offered. Partnership with civil society, in this context, is a priority, especially partnership with the private sector.

Women are an important part of the equation. In my government, for example, there have eight women ministers, and they are among the best and most capable there are. I go as far as saying that we must encourage women in Africa to assume their important role in sustainable development by supporting positive discrimination.

We are working in Senegal towards providing a secure and just environment that would be nurturing to sustainable development, and I believe we are making progress.

In order to achieve sustainable development, people need ecological security as much as they need economic security and peace. 62% of Africa's population live in rural areas and depend for their livelihoods on natural resources that have already been stressed by over-consumption. They have to be educated and empowered to participate successfully in the management of the natural resources on which their lives depend.

More challenges face the New Economic Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), of which UNEP has been a strong supporter. We still need to mobilize resources and bring countries to embrace selected projects.

We have achieved considerable results at the ministerial meetings, yet there is a lot more to be achieved. I propose Action…Action…and Action."