OVER 3,000 delegates made up of Mayors, city authorities and leaders from Africa and Africans in the Diaspora, yesterday began a three-day summit in Accra to forge alliance and partnership to promote the development of Africa and people in the diaspora.
High on the agenda on the 4th World Summit of Mayors and leaders of African Descent is the ‘Fast- Track Cities’ initiative intended to ensure that by 2020, go per cent of people know their HIV/AIDS status, answer access to treatment by HIVAIDS patients, and suppression of viral load in people living with the disease.
Other issues to deliberate on are climate change, youth and women empowerment, gender equality, entrepreneurship, and the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
Among the dignitaries present were former President J.J.Rawlings, First Vice President of Honduras, Lorena Herrera, and members of the diplomatic corps.
The Executive Director of the Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders of Africa and of African Descent, Oscar Gamboa Zuniga, handed over the “From Cali to Accra” flame to the Mayor of Accra, Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, President of the Global Alliance of Mayors and Leaders of Africa and of Africa Descent.
Addressing the summit, Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, said Ghana had demonstrated commitment to fighting against the HIV/AIDS, and urged other countries to signed up to the Paris Declaration on the Fast Track Cities: Ending the AIDS Epidemic to reduce the scourge of the disease by the year 2020.
He commended mayors and city authorities on their efforts to foster international cooperation to speed up the rate of development and improve the well being of people, expressing the optimism that “together we will make bright future for Africans and people from the Diaspora”.
Vice President Amissah- Arthur lauded the new vision and inspirational leadership of mayors and city authorities to forge partnership and unite the people of the Diapora to promote socio-economic development.
Touching on the issue of empowerment, Mr Amissah –Arthur said Ghana had long committed itself to the empowerment of women saying that, “We have the highest number of women appointed to public service in the history of the country”.
Mr Vanderpuije challenged his colleagues to take proactive measures to address developmental challenges confronting their countries by creating job opportunities, hence trade and investment to promote economic growth, end racism and the fight against HIVAIDS.
He urged the mayors and other leaders of Africans in the Diaspora to make strong commitment to promote the development and well-being of the people saying “the world is watching us we cannot fail, we must deliver on our mandate to improve the living conditions of the people”.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, in a speech read for him, said the battle against the HIVAIDS would either be won or lost in the cities which are epicenters of human development.
He said city authorities were in a better position to shape the cities for the implementation of right-based approach to respond to the HIVAIDS and achieve the 90-90-90 targets by 2020.
By Salifu Abdul Rahaman