•The President of the Senate of Cameroon, 

•The President of the National Assembly of Cameroon, Current Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, 

•Distinguished Heads of House of Parliament, 

•The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations, 

•The Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

•The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association,

•The Prime Minister, Head of Government of the Republic of Cameroon, 

•Distinguished Members of Government, 

•Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Representatives of International Organizations, 

•Distinguished Members of Parliament,

•Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

First, I would like, on behalf of the Cameroonian people, to wish you a warm welcome to Cameroon, on African soil, and a pleasant stay in Yaounde. I salute in particular our good friends who have come here from afar and those who are setting foot on African soil for the first time. As you know, it is always a great pleasure to welcome friends from distant places.

• Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

• Distinguished Participants, 

Your conference is taking place in an international context marked by the persistence of many hotbeds of tension. Several parts of the world continue to witness political, economic and social crises. Armed clashes abound. There are repeated and senseless terrorist attacks and acts of maritime piracy which challenge the international community.

This gloomy picture has been compounded by the outbreak of the Ebola viral epidemic. Within months, it has already claimed thousands of lives in Africa. The virus poses a real threat that transcends State boundaries, while the international community is yet to find an appropriate response to contain it.

Therefore, we should hail this conference which is opening today despite the hostile international context. Your presence affirms and confirms your determination to address the challenges of this century.

My country is delighted to have been chosen to host the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. The people of Cameroon are honoured by this mark of esteem and confidence. 

The massive turnout of Commonwealth Members of Parliament is an eloquent testimony to their interest in fostering solidarity among the peoples they represent.  For the great Commonwealth family, it is also an excellent example of its deep commitment to working relentlessly and resolutely for a better world. This is truly a source of satisfaction, but also and above all, of hope. 

•Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

•Distinguished Participants, 

The theme of your discussions at the Yaounde Conference is “Repositioning the Commonwealth for the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.

Besides being fully in line with the very foundations of our organization, this theme is highly topical. 

In fact, social progress and human development issues are prime concerns of the Community of Nations. They are interwoven with those of peace and security, as there can be no development without minimum security and stability.

The 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly which has just opened in New York is working on the framework and content of the world’s Post-2015 Development Agenda.

As you are aware, the adoption of the Declaration on the Millennium Development Goals on 8 September 2000 raised new hopes for a world where peace, security and prosperity would be shared at last. 

Fifteen years following the adoption of these goals, it must be acknowledged, unfortunately, that they will not be achieved by 2015 as agreed.

Certainly, significant progress has been made in some areas such as education, immunization coverage, the fight against HIV and malaria, and gender promotion in school. This is commendable.

    Theseappreciable efforts notwithstanding, it should be admitted that much remains to be done in key areas. Hunger has not been eradicated, poverty reduction is extremely slow, unemployment, especially among the youth, remains a thorny problem and health coverage remains inadequate. 

The international community must learn lessons from the difficulties faced over the last fifteen years.  

The Post-2015 Agenda shoulddevise new strategies to substantially improve the population’s living conditions.  

All players will need to demonstrate a stronger political will, greater generosity and more effective, more concrete and more active solidarity. Such are the demands of the interdependence of States and unity of humanity on us. Without this extra touch of the soul, development by the end of the new Agenda may remain a distant goal. 

•Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UN’s adoption of a Post-2015 Development Agenda reflects reckoning with past lapses as well as recognition of the need for immediate action, with greater determination and greater commitment in order to secure the future.

To that end, African countries have prepared a common position which proposes the alignment of the Agenda with national and international development programmes, fully consistent with the African Union’s 2063 Agenda. This common position also comprises new cooperation thrusts aimed at eradicating poverty, creating endogenous conditions for economic transformation, preserving peace and progressing towards prosperity and sustainable development. 

•DistinguishedCommonwealth Parliamentarians,

The challenges I have just outlined are not peculiar to Africa. They are common to all peoples of the world of whom many of you are the elected representatives.

It behoves you to plead with national and international authorities to honour their commitments. It is your bounden duty to work towards giving such commitments force of law in your respective countries. 

While hoping that the Yaounde Conference will be a confirmation of your commitment to shared development in the world, and wishing you every success in your proceedings, I declare open the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.

Long live the Commonwealth and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II!

Long live Cameroon!

Thank you.

 Yaounde, 6 October 2014

Download the speech of the Head of State (pdf)