Maputo, 29 March (AIM) - Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Saturday received the Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ad Melkert, who briefed him on the annual meeting of resident UNDP coordinators in Africa, currently under way in Maputo.
Melkert assured Guebuza that Mozambique can count on continued UNDP support to reduce the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters.
“We confirmed to the President the desire of the UNDP to continue giving all support so that Mozambique can implement its development plans, particularly in the sensitive areas of education, health and HIV/AIDS, natural disasters, and water and sanitation”, Melkert told reporters.
Melkert, who is also a United Nations Under Secretary-General, promised that the UNDP will not only maintain its current programme of support for Mozambique, but will strengthen it in three main areas - namely, to ensure “more inclusive economic growth”, for the prevention of HIV infection, particularly among women, and support for the country’s relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC). Melkert praised the INGC as “an example of effective management of natural disasters”.
Speaking at a press conference following his audience with Guebuza, Melkert stressed that it was essential to ensure that Africa’s resources are used to benefit Africans. He urged donors to keep their promises to fund development programmes, but insisted that the response to climate change must figure in the national plans of developing countries.
UNDP was paying attention to these aspects, said Melkert, because it recognises that although many African countries are recording appreciable levels of economic growth, this is not being expressed in improved living conditions for the bulk of the population. He blamed this on mismanagement, poor distribution of wealth, and political instability.
Melkert stressed that, in the UNDP’s view, women should be at the centre of the fight against HIV/AIDS since increasingly the pandemic is wearing a female face. The Mozambican statistics show that well over half of all HIV-positive people, particularly in the younger age groups are women.