The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is this week hosting a Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa retreat in Debra Zeit, Ethiopia, ahead of the 20th Session of RCM-Africa that will be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, in March.
Participants are deliberating on key issues on joint programming, monitoring and evaluation, including revising the RCM-Africa joint work plan, taking into account African Union Commission (AUC) and United Nations reforms, as well as AUC strategic priorities.
RCM-Africa is a platform for the UN system to support the AUC and its organs in the implementation of appropriate policies to promote Africa’s development in accordance with the purpose and principles of the Constitutive Act of the AU and its NEPAD programme.
In welcoming remarks to participants, ECA Deputy Executive Secretary, Giovanie Biha, said the timeliness of the retreat could not be overstated as RCM-Africa sits today at the crossroads of important transformations and the renewal process underway at the UN and the AUC.
“Likewise, the mechanism itself has undergone several transformations since its inception in 1998, evolving from a consultative mechanism of United Nations agencies working in Africa, then to a coordination mechanism of the same, and culminating in a Joint African Union-United Nations Mechanism working to advance Africa’s development agenda,” she said.
Ms. Biha said the ongoing reforms of the two institutions provide ample opportunity to further strengthen RCM-Africa and its Sub-Regional Coordination Mechanisms (SRCMs).
She said work will continue on mapping joint work plans of RCM-Africa clusters to the AUC’s seven priority areas, which are; regional integration; African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM); Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Services; silencing the guns; climate change; gender and youth.
“The complementary implementation of the peace and security and humanitarian pillar, and the development pillar of the work of our two organizations is crucial for attaining the goals of Agenda 2063 and the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda,” the ECA Deputy Chief said.
Ms. Biha added that this realization was at the core of the exercise that will be undertaken during the retreat to align the work of the clusters with the UN-AU Peace and Security Framework, and the AU-UN Development Framework.
The retreat also aims to finalize organizational arrangements for the 20th Session of RCM-Africa that will be in Morocco from 23-24 March under the theme; United Nations system support for the African Union in commemorating 2019 as the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.
The retreat is expected to lead to:
- enhanced understanding of the AU and UN reforms and their implications for RCM-Africa, its SRCMs, the regional UNSDGs and linkages with UN County Teams and the implementation of the statement of collaboration;
- identification of duplications, overlaps and gaps between Partnership on Africa’s Integration and Development Agenda (PAIDA) and the Joint AU-UN Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security and the Framework for the integrated Implementation of Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to promote synergistic implementation; and
- Agreed working modalities to ensure optimal linkages between regional, sub-regional and national level entities, and to mainstream cross-cutting issues into the work of RCM-Africa.
The retreat is being attended by directors and technical staff of various UN entities and agencies working in Africa, the AUC and its institutions, including the NEPAD Planning and Co-ordinating Agency (NPCA), African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Regional Economic Communities and development banks, among others.