April 7, 2005

Tanzanian U.N. Ambassador Discusses Millennium Goals

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Augustine Philip Mahiga, Tanzanian ambassador to the United Nations, spoke Tuesday at the Biotechnology Building on “Africa and the Millennium Goals: Challenges and Prospects,” a lecture sponsored by the Institute for African Development.

Professor Muna Ndulo, director of the Institute for African Development, introduced Mahiga, describing his previous work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Italy, India and Liberia, and as Coordinator and Deputy Director of the Refugee Emergency Operation of the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

Mahiga started by saying that 2005 is going to be a landmark in reviewing the Millennium goals. The U.N. Millennium Development Goals include eight goals: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other disease, ensure environmental sustainability and develop a global partnership. This September, the United Nations will hold a summit to assess how these goals have been implemented and what needs to be done to achieve them by 2015. The ambassador stressed that the three underlying goals for the millennium are: ensuring peace and security in the world, promoting development and upholding human rights. “There cannot be security without development, and there cannot be development without peace and security. These are not cliches; they are true,” said Mahiga.

Democratic, participatory and accountable governments centered around respect for human rights are central to implementing these goals, according to Mahiga. He also talked about the partnership between developed and developing countries, mentioning trade, aid and the debt that is rehabilitating for African countries. He said that in some of the African countries, “conflict management and resolution is a priority, then development can be examined.”

During the short question and answer session following the lecture, an audience member brought up the issue of reparations. “People have to accept that something happened; this language of reparations is just beginning,” said Mahiga. He added, “Reparation is not in dollars and cents; it’s the spirits and values of human beings.” Next, Mahiga was asked about the impact of multinationals on indigenous businesses. He taked about the current economy of Tanzania, dependent largely on gold, tourism and agriculture and said that there is a lot of arable land in Tanzania. “What is important is the unleashing of the entrepreneurial spirit locked in the Tanzanians,” he said. He stressed the idea of international understanding leading to international security in response to a question of whether aid to developing countries comes at a price.

“All semester we’ve been addressing the issues of the millennium goals, so it was great to have someone speak who addresses them on a daily basis as part of his job,” said Alicia Sanabria grad, who is in Africana studies. According to Ndulo, “It’s good for the Cornell community to familiarize themselves with the goals and see how they can participate.”

Lenny Lantsman ’08 and Dawn Kamoche ’07 came to the lecture for AS&RC 134: Swahili. “I thought it was pretty good: a lot of business and trade oriented discussion,” said Lantsman. Prof. N’Dri Assie-Lumumba, Africana studies, led a trip for Cornell students to the UN this year. She said of Mahiga, “He’s a former professor and able to encompass both analytical knowledge from being a professor with practical knowledge from his experience in the UN.” Mahiga told The Sun, “I want to motivate [students] to remain engaged and informed about development issues and I want them to continue to understand the importance of international cooperation and understanding.”

Archived article by Vanessa Hoffman
Sun Senior Writer