Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, recently met with key heads of United Nations agencies in Ethiopia to discuss how the UN in the region can coordinate better and deliver as one.
The UN Chiefs discussed how they can work better together in light of ongoing UN reforms as they seek to fully support the African Union’s quest for peace and sustainable development on the continent.
In particular, the meeting discussed the implementation of the UN-AU Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security and the AU-UN Framework for the Implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Ms. Songwe reinforced the need for joint efforts by the ECA and UN agencies in Ethiopia, especially strong cooperation and collaboration in all their work and highlighted the need for collective, coherent and aligned reporting on their work.
“We need to do our best in supporting the African Union, especially as we implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and the AU’s Agenda 2063,” she said.
Ms. Songwe, who also updated her colleagues on ECA reforms, also highlighted the importance of the agencies and ECA coordination and cooperation in issues connected to climate change, women empowerment, education, agriculture, technology, capacity development, the peace-security-development nexus, energy, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), among others.
The UN agency heads who were present concurred with Ms. Songwe on the need for better coordination and collaboration between the ECA and her sister agencies in their work, in particular supporting the African Union Commission in the critical areas the union has flagged.
Ms. Songwe, UNESCO LO Director, Ms. Ana Elisa Santana Afonso, Fatoumata Seid of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Joy Kategwa’s representative from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Unesco International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa’s Saliou Sall, among others, agreed on follow-ups that are needed to ensure the engagement gains momentum, in particular that it bears fruit for the benefit of the continent’s citizens.
ECA officials also presented the Joint Monitoring and Reporting Tool of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda; the Joint AU-UN Framework for the Implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda; and the Regional Coordination Mechanisms.
The meeting follows the Third African Union-United Nations Annual Conference convened by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on May 6, 2019, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The Secretary-General and the Chairperson welcomed the strong cooperation and collaboration between the two organizations and expressed their commitment to continue to deepen the strategic partnership between the AU and the UN in addressing peace and security issues and achieving sustainable development issues in Africa through a more integrated approach.
Continued collaboration for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and other related instruments, including the Free Movement Protocol and the Single African Air Transport Market, was discussed, notably in view of their significant potential to boost regional integration, strengthen inclusive economic growth, generate jobs for young Africans, alleviate poverty and lead to more stable and peaceful societies.
The Conference urged greater efforts to harness Africa’s youth dividend, notably with investments in health, education, data and in science and technology.