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Letter to All African Heads of States by African organisations ahead of the UN Millennium Summit (Plus 5) Review New York, September 14-16th 2005
Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP)
August 31st 2005

Your Excellencies,

Ahead of the UN World Summit in September, we the following fifty national, African and international organizations and networks working in all four corners of Africa write to set out our expectations for the summit on poverty, peace and security. We write under the umbrella of the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), an alliance of millions of people and organisations united in the belief that 2005 offers an unprecedented opportunity for change.

Five years after your office signed the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals, we are in serious danger of failing to achieve even these, the most minimalist of targets.

To achieve the MDGs, we believe that your Government must actively demand better terms for Africa on aid, trade justice and debt cancellation. Small steps were taken at the G8 in July on financing development; but larger steps are needed at September's UN summit to make a real difference. It is critical that the UN Declaration contains commitments on;

  • African countries have the right to determine their own trade policies. This will stop rich countries from pushing African countries to open their economies when it is negative for growth and equity.
  • Cancellation of the debts of all countries that need it to be able to achieve the MDGs and detach them from harmful World Bank and IMF conditions
  • Rich countries to reach 0.7% of their national income in aid immediately and ensure that this aid reaches the poorest men and women in the poorest countries.
  • All Governments to restore and uphold the rights of citizens to control and access quality education, health, water and other public services.
  • All Governments to embrace a shared responsibility to protect people from genocide, crimes against humanity and armed conflict and promote gender equality and women's empowerment.

Many of these commitments are crucial for Africa. Without them, the remaining Millennium Development Goals shall go the way of the first target missed; namely gender parity in primary and secondary education.

Further, we note that since the G8 there have been attempts to roll back the commitment to underwrite the debt cancellation deals of the 14 countries with new monies. More dangerously still, there are current attempts by some Governments to force these important commitments from the text. Should this succeed, the UN Millennium Summit will fall disastrously short of the Common African Position on the Proposed Reform of the United Nations and the decisions of the African Union Summits in Abuja and Sirte earlier this year.

We call on you to stand firm on insisting these commitments are contained in the final Declaration and not allow trade offs between the responsibility to protect, development or human rights. Rest assured of our support in these efforts.

In the next two weeks, national campaigners will be meeting their Heads of State and Ministries of Foreign Affairs to press home the importance of leaders delivering on their promises. On September 10th, White Band Day 2, millions of campaigners across the North and South will shout a loud "wake up call" by participating in rallies, concerts, vigils and press conferences to put pressure on governments to deliver.

We will continue to call on all leaders to make bold, decisive and binding commitments to end poverty and achieve social justice and larger freedom for all citizens. These will be the measures of success or failure of this historic summit and Africa's future may depend on it.

Should you wish further elaboration of these issues contact the offices of the organizations below or to seek further information on the campaign, please visit

Be assured of our highest consideration in these matters. Yours truly,

Signed by the following ten African and regional associations/networks

All Africa Conference Of Churches, Nairobi, Kenya, West African Network for Peace-building (WANEP), Accra Ghana, DAWN Anglophone region, Accra, Ghana, AFRODAD, Harare, Zimbabwe, MWENGO, Harare, Zimbabwe, FEMNET, Nairobi, Kenya, The Global Pan African Movement, Equality Now-Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, Gender & Trade Network in Africa, Southern African Network of Women Economists, African Women's Millennium Initiative on Poverty and Human Rights (AWOMI)

and thirty-four national organizations and networks of organisations

GCAP coalition, Banjul, The Gambia, Alternative Trade Network, Ho, Ghana, Tradeaid, Bolgatanga, Ghana, Women In Law And Development In Africa-Ghana, Accra, Ghana, Market Access Promotion Network, Tamale, Ghana, Kenya MDGs Coalition, Nairobi, Kenya, Econews Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, Sustainability Watch Network-Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya, KeNAAM, Kenya Youth and Community Development Programme, Nairobi, Kenya, Kenya Land Alliance, Nakuru, Kenya, Groots - Kenya, Nairobi, YWCA of Kenya, Espace Associatif, Rabat, Morocco, Mozambique Debt Group, Maputo, Mozambique, Independent Social Science Practice, Windhoek, Namibia, Namibian Voices For Development, Windhoek, Namibia, Media Institute Of Southern Africa, Windhoek, Namibia, MDGs/GCAP Coalition, Abuja, Nigeria, Baobab For Women's Human Rights, Lagos, Nigeria, Adolescent Health And Information Project, Kano, Nigeria, Fédération, Nationale Des Producteurs De Coton, Tambacounda, Sénégal, ENDA/REPAO, Dakar, Senegal, Union Nationale Des Acteurs De La Filière Avicole, Sénégal, Sierra Leone National GCAP Coalition, Free Town, Sierra Leone, Emang Basadi Phakamani Bafazi, Rural & Land Women's Movement, Institute For Justice And Reconciliation, Cape Town, South Africa, SANGOCO, Johannesburg, South Africa, Irrigation Training & Economic Empowerment Organization, Moshi, Tanzania, Tanzanian Civil Society Gcap / MDGs Campaign Coalition, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Women In Law And Development In Africa, Lome, Togo, Albertine Rift Conservation Society, Kampala, Uganda, Uganda Coalition For Sustainable Development, Kampala, Uganda, Sustainability Watch Network, Kampala, Uganda, Anti Corruption Coalition Uganda, Kampala - Uganda, Kaabong Women's Group Organisation, Kampala, Uganda, Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Kampala, Uganda, Zambia Trade Network, Lusaka, Zambia

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