Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
The commitment of the United Nations to support the African Union and NEPAD “to realise its vision” was stressed by UN Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro when she opened the ninth meeting of the Regional Consultation Mechanism (RCM) in Addis Ababa on 21 October 2008.
The RCM was established by a resolution of the UN General Assembly to ensure that all UN agencies and organisations working in Africa coordinate their activities to promote and support AU-NEPAD priority programmes.
The two-day meeting in Addis Ababa on 21-22 October revolved around the theme of a “coordinated multi-sectoral response” to the food crisis and climate change in Africa.
The participants included the heads of the UN agencies and organisations working in Africa and top officials of the African Union Commission (AUC) and NEPAD.
In her opening address Dr. Migiro said : “When we act with unity of purpose, the United Nations can better support the efforts of African countries. We will go a long way in backing the African Union and NEPAD to realise its vision – from promoting peace, regional integration and good governance, to accelerating development.
“We are facing a financial crisis of epic proportions. The impact of the present turmoil compounded by the food shortages and the effects of climate change, could very well derail the prospects of attaining the Millennium Development Goals”, she said.
“It is timely then, that this ninth meeting of the RCM focuses on these interrelated challenges”, she added.
The Chairman of the AUC, Dr. Jean Ping, described the meeting of the RCM as being critical to the future of African development.
“The current food crisis, with spiralling food prices, has profoundly affected African countries. Indeed, if Africa is to remain on a path of poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth, special attention must be given to dealing with the food crisis,” he said.
The Acting Chief Executive of NEPAD, Ambassador Olukorede Willoughby, commended the UN Economic Commission for Africa – as the strategic coordinator and convener of the RCM — for its continued and steadfast support for the AU and NEPAD strategic priorities.
“NEPAD considers the RCM as a most unique and valuable high-level driver for the implementation of the AU-NEPAD priorities”, he said.
“It is clear that since the creation of the RCM, UN agencies working through the cluster system have been contributing enormously to the better alignment and coordination of UN work in Africa,” he added.
Echoing the sentiments of the AUC Chairman on the progress of the integration of NEPAD into the structures and processes of the AU, Ambassador Willoughby affirmed that the integration process was fully on course.
He said an AU study to determine the exact structure and profile of the new NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Authority had already been commissioned by the AUC and the NEPAD Secretariat.
“African leaders will hopefully make an authoritative stand on the issues regarding AU-NEPAD integration at the forthcoming 20th meeting of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee and the 12th AU Assembly in Addis Ababa, in January 2009,” said Ambassador Willoughby.
“What is required at this stage is the continued support by the UN agencies through the UN cluster system and particularly UNECA to promote, support and implement the work of AU-NEPAD priority programmes,” he added.
Participants at the RCM included representatives from the AUC, NEPAD, UNECA, UNIDO, UNIFEM, WFP, FAO, UNESCO and related agencies. Source : NEPAD - october 24, 2008
27 - 29 October, RUROFORUM Ministers meeting, Lusaka, Zambia. Source : NEPAD - october 24, 2008
Rwanda was committed to addressing its development challenges under the NEPAD umbrella and through the Millennium Development Goals, the country’s delegate, Joseph Nsengimana, told the United Nations General Assembly on 21 October 2008 as it concluded its joint debate on NEPAD, the causes of conflict and promotion of peace in Africa, and the 2001-2010 Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries.
He said information and communications technology was at the heart of Rwanda’s development strategy.
Under the Kigali protocol, the implementation of the NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Network, consisting of a terrestrial and a submarine cable, would provide quality and affordable telecommunications connectivity to the African continent, helping to bridge the digital divide. He therefore urged those counties that had yet to ratify the protocol to do so to ensure its implementation.
He discussed Africa’s Peer Review Mechanism and Rwanda’s progress with elections, budget transparency and other socio-economic development. However, the country’s progress risked being eroded by the food, energy and economic crises, all of which impacted on Africa far more than any other continent.
It was imperative that the international community responded to these crises promptly and decisively. Prevention remained the best and most preferred method to promote peace and sustainable development in Africa.
Giulio Terzi of Italy reiterated that, in light of the current global crises Africa’s needs should not be pushed “outside the radar screen of the international community”. He firmly committed Italy’s efforts to ensure the goals established seven years ago at the G-8 Summit in Genoa — an Africa free of conflicts, hunger and violations of human rights — and called for the G-8 to reaffirm its support during the upcoming 2009 Summit.
He went on to say that improving the quality of assistance was a key priority and needed to be more coordinated and more predictable. That would support the goals set by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union and their 10-year capacity-building plan for a conflict-free Africa, the development of a common denominator between donor and recipient states, and the cornerstone to cooperation between the United Nations and regional organisations.
Byrganym Aitimova of Kazakhstan said her delegation supported the efforts towards mobilising resources for the realisation of the NEPAD programmes and projects, noting that Africa remained the only continent that would not achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. In that connection, the United Nations and its structural divisions should reconsider their approach to distributing funds to Africa.
Calling for the United Nations to play a critical role in forming partnerships and fulfilling donor countries’ commitments to the Millennium Development Goals, she was concerned about the decrease in official development assistance (ODA) to Africa. In accordance with the view of African states, such assistance should be provided unconditionally and in compliance with the national and regional priorities of the African continent.
She said South-South cooperation between developing and middle-income countries would enable Africa’s development to progress ; Kazakhstan was ready to cooperate, by providing technical assistance in the financial and agricultural sectors, as well as by training experts and diversifying the economy. Kazakhstan also supported expanding the Security Council with the maximum possible seats allotted to Africa.
Anthony Gioia of the United States said NEPAD’s activities were central to fulfilling the vision “that each generation do better than the one before, in freedom, prosperity, and security”.
Support for Africa’s farmers remained crucial to achieving poverty eradication and fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, along with good governance, infrastructure development and creating conditions for sustainable private investment.
The United States had pledged to tackle key barriers to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and had committed $5.5 billion to combat hunger and promote agricultural development.
He said the United States was supporting the CAADP in six countries that were meeting their pledges, and through the Initiative to End Hunger in Africa.
He urged the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to continue and enhance its support in the field for African states and the implementation of NEPAD programmes, and said his country continued to stand with its African partners in achieving lasting poverty eradication and the promise of a better life for all.
Steve D. Matenje of Malawi noted positive trends such as the launch of the African Union and its socio-economic development programme, NEPAD, and increased African leadership in resolution of conflicts in Africa.
He also noted, among other positive signs, growing commitment to people-centred development and regional integration, and increased willingness through the African Peer Review Mechanism to discuss and deal with political and socio-economic questions.
However, such progress was being impacted by rising food and energy costs, climate change, the failure of the Doha Development Round and the international financial market collapse.
The President of the General Assembly, Miguel D’Escoto of Nicaragua, closing the joint debate on NEPAD, commended the Assembly for its astute assessment of the global financial crises and their effect on the funding, technical cooperation and the opening of markets needed to ensure Africa’s development.
That shared view created solidarity between the industrialised member states and the developing countries, a crucial component in reinforcing the NEPAD framework.
He went on to note that African countries should allocate more resources towards NEPAD priorities and encourage private-sector participation in development and building a stronger infrastructure.
The launching of an African “green revolution” and an increasingly more effective African Peer Review Mechanism would continue to create an environment that enabled good governance, accountability and stability, he added. Source : NEPAD - october 24, 2008
The 1st Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 17 October 2008 with a tacit endorsement of the draft Africa Mining Vision prepared by a team of sector experts under the leadership of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The task force included experts from the African Union Commission (AUC), African Development Bank (AfDB), UNCTAD, and UNIDO.
The conference was attended by 37 African countries and more than 35 Regional Economic Communities (RECs), international organisations and civil society organisations.
African Ministers of Mines convened a roundtable discussion with representatives of international and continental mining companies to discuss the vision, as well as the work that the mining companies are undertaking to promote sustainable development in the sector, and to agree on a future compact for change.
The draft ministerial declaration presented at the closing session of the conference approved the idea of a new resource-based industrialisation and development strategy for Africa , which is a key component of the vision.
Ministers also mandated the AUC , in collaboration with ECA and the AfDB, to help member states in the auditing, review and renegotiation of existing mining agreements.
The declaration tasks the AUC and ECA to build on the work which has been started by the International Study Group to Review Africa’s Mining Regimes (ISG), to develop templates, guidelines, standards and codes to assist African countries to maximise the benefits of the activity in their mineral sectors.
Finally, Africa’s Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development instructed the African Union Commission to work together with ECA, the African Mining Partnership, and Africa ’s RECs to finalise the vision by drawing up action plans which can be presented to their next conference in Durban, South Africa in 2009.
The 1st Ordinary Session of the Conference of Ministers Responsible for Mineral Resources Development was a timely follow-up to the 2007 Big Table on managing Africa’s natural resources for growth and poverty reduction www.uneca.org/thebigtable, which the ECA jointly organised with the AfDB in February 2007.
In parallel with several other notable initiatives, the 2007 Big Table created an important change movement and has been the precursor of valuable initiatives in this sector such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the African Legal Support Facility, and the International Study Group to Review Africa’s Mining Regimes, to name a few.
Africa is the world’s top producer of numerous mineral commodities and has the world’s greatest resources of many more. Although a large part of the continent has not been properly surveyed, the resources already discovered are significant.
For example, the continent’s share of world reserves of bauxite and uranium are 42 per cent and 38 per cent respectively. The continent also contains dominant reserves of gold (42%), platinum (73%), and diamonds (88%). Reserves of non-ferrous metals such as chromite (44%), manganese (82%), vanadium (95%), and cobalt (55%), are also of world significance.
This is a potential that needs to be harnessed to foment growth and development of the continent.
After the decline in the share of global mineral production witnessed during the period 1980-2000, interest is now growing exponentially. There is an upsurge in investment and activity across the continent, with West Africa being the last frontier.
This has been driven by improved confidence about the continent’s political trends and security situation, sustained periods of macro-economic stability and economic growth, improving institutional quality, lower barriers to foreign investment and surging commodity prices. There is also the greater competition in the African minerals sector due to the entry of new global players such as China, India, Brazil and the Gulf states.
In 2006, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Africa reached an historic high of US$35 billion. Most of this went to the oil, gas and solid minerals sectors.
Africa ’s share of the world’s mineral exploration expenditure is also on the rise, reaching 16% of the world average in 2007. Source : NEPAD - october 24, 2008
Economic losses in marine fisheries resulting from poor management, inefficiencies, and overfishing add up to US$50 billion a year, according to a new World Bank-FAO report released in Washington on 8 October 2008. Taken over the last three decades, these losses total over $US2 trillion.
But “The Sunken Billions : the Economic Justification for Fisheries Reform“ also argues that well-managed marine fisheries could turn most of these losses into sustainable economic benefits for millions of fishers and coastal communities.
“Sustainable fisheries require political will to replace incentives for overfishing with incentives for responsible stewardship,” said Kieran Kelleher, World Bank fisheries team leader.
“It is not just about boats and fish. This report provides decision-makers with the economic arguments for the reforms needed.”
Strengthened fishing rights can provide fishers and fishing communities with incentives to operate in an economically efficient and socially responsible manner, says the report. Phasing out subsidies that enhance redundant fishing capacity and harvesting effort will improve efficiency.
Greater transparency in allocation of fish resources and greater public accountability for fisheries management and health of fish stocks will help eco-labelling initiatives to certify sustainable fisheries.
According to the report, the bulk of losses occur in two main ways.
Depleted fish stocks mean that there are fewer fish to catch, and therefore the cost of finding and catching them is greater than it might be. Fleet overcapacity means that the economic benefits of fishing are dissipated due to redundant investment and operating costs. The report stresses that the figure of US$50 billion represents a conservative estimate – it excludes losses to recreational fisheries and marine tourism as well as losses due to illegal fishing.
Excess fishing capacity depletes fishing stocks worldwide
Long before the fuel price increases of 2008, the economic health of the world’s marine fisheries was in decline.
The build up of fishing fleets, deployment of increasingly powerful fishing technologies and increasing pollution and habitat loss has depleted fish stocks worldwide. Global marine catches have been stagnant for over a decade, hovering at around 85 million tons per year. Meanwhile, fisheries productivity — measured in terms of catch per fisher, or per fishing vessel — has declined, even though fishing technology has advanced and fishing effort increased.
If world fish stocks were rebuilt, the current marine fisheries catch could be achieved with approximately half of the current global fishing effort, the report says.
Underperformance and hidden costs
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), over 75 percent of the world’s fish stocks are either fully exploited or overexploited. But, the focus on the state of stocks has tended to obscure the even more critical economic health of the fisheries.
When fish stocks are fully exploited, the associated fisheries are almost invariably performing below their economic optimum, the “Sunken Billions” reports. In some cases, fisheries may be biologically sustainable but still operate at an economic loss.
And while many fisheries are profitable, the global picture is that fish catching operations are buoyed up by subsidies, the report finds.
“At the global level, each ton of fish caught uses almost half a ton of fuel – much of it wasted in redundant harvesting effort,” it notes.
"Right now, no one is winning,” said Rolf Willmann, senior fishery planning officer of the FAO, one of the report’s authors. “The real income levels of fishers are depressed, much of the industry is unprofitable, fish stocks are depleted and other sectors of the economy foot the bill for an ailing fishing industry.”
According to the report, the recovery of “the sunken billions” can take place through two main approaches.
A reduction in fishing effort would increase productivity, profitability, and net economic benefits. Rebuilding fish stocks would lead to increased sustainable yields and lower fishing costs. Benefits for developing countries include jobs and growth
Economically healthy fisheries are fundamental not only to the restoration of fish stocks but also to improved livelihoods, exports, fish food security, and economic growth.
Marine fishing operations are only part of the $400 billion global seafood industry, but economically healthy catch operations underpin the sustainability of supply and profitability of processing and distribution activities, a major source of employment, particularly in developing countries.
“For each person employed at sea another three people are employed on shore,” noted Willmann. “Fish is the main animal protein for over a billion people. It provides livelihoods for over 200 million people and 90% of these people are in developing countries.”
Signs of progress – the tide is turning through NEPAD and ASEAN
The good news is that governance reforms have turned the tide in some fisheries, “The Sunken Billions” notes.
“Strengthening fishing rights systems is fundamental to addressing the problems facing the sector,” said Ragnar Arnason, a fisheries economist at the University of Iceland and a co-author of the report, pointing to successful experiences in Iceland, New Zealand and Namibia.
Strengthening the use, access, or ownership rights of fishers is supported by a growing number of organisations that see the need to create incentives for responsible stewardship.
Promotion of ‘rights-based fisheries’ features in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s Resolution on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security for the ASEAN Region. The Abuja Declaration on Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, adopted by the African Heads of State and Government at NEPAD’s Fish for All Summit in Abuja, Nigeria on 25 August 2005 also endorsed ‘rights- based fisheries’.
The world’s largest fishery, Peru’s anchoveta fishery, is also moving towards a rights- based approach, where it is proposed to make the fishery pay for a social safety net for fishers.
“Governance reforms are often politically difficult, particularly if some reduction in fishing fleets or in the numbers of fishers may occur,” says Kelleher. “And the rights and livelihoods of fishers should be secured in any reform process,” he added.
The production of The Sunken Billions : the Economic Justification for Fisheries Reform was supported by PROFISH, a World Bank partnership which is focused on policy initiatives for sustainable fisheries. Source : NEPAD - october 24, 2008
The first Extraordinary Summit of the APR Forum will be held on 25-26 October 2008 in Cotonou, Benin and will be chaired by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the APR Forum, Meles Zenawi.
The Summit will be followed by a meeting of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) on 27 October.
The APRM, launched on 9 March 2003, is voluntarily acceded to by member states of the African Union as an African self–monitoring governance mechanism. It ensures that the policies and practices of participating states conform to internationally agreed governance values, codes and standards as a means of fostering political stability, economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration.
The APR Forum has the ultimate responsibility for the oversight of the APRM organisation and processes, for mutual learning and capacity building, and for exercising the constructive peer dialogue and persuasion required to make the APRM effective, credible, and acceptable.
The peer review is a process of sharing information and experiences and mutual learning to assist the country concerned in improving on identified weaknesses as well as providing other participating countries with the opportunity to learn from the best practices of the country under review.
The Extraordinary Summit of the APR Forum will conclude the peer review of Nigeria and Burkina Faso. It will also deliberate on selected cross-cutting issues encountered so far in the APRM process, among others the issues of managing diversity and xenophobia ; elections in Africa ; resource management ; land ; corruption ; and the Gacaca Court system in Rwanda.
Twenty nine countries have formally acceded to the process so far - Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Senegal, Sao Tome e Principe, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia. Source : NEPAD - october 24, 2008
A two-day retreat to evolve a better way for effective delivery of the NEPAD mandate in Nigeria, was held at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Plateau State.
It was organised for the senior staff of NEPAD Nigeria to deepen their understanding of NEPAD principles and programmes to improve on their delivery capacity.
Opening the retreat NEPAD Nigeria Chief Executive Ambassador Tunji Olagunju reminded participants that the establishment of a country office within the Presidency was to ensure effective monitoring of the implementation of NEPAD progammes, data collection and usage, and putting in place a coordinated and effective response to the challenges of creative development.
Dr. Olagunju expressed confidence that the retreat would assist the participants to have a clearer appreciation of the vision and mission of NEPAD, assign responsibilities to departments and identify critical capacity gaps for further improvement.
The presentations focused mainly on effective organisational structure for mandate delivery, targeting and promoting effective partnerships and domesticating the NEPAD policy framework in Africa.
In a presentation on domesticating the NEPAD policy framework in Africa Dr. Hesphina Rukato, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Programmes) of the NEPAD Secretariat, gave a holistic view of NEPAD as well as the workings of the Heads of States and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) which is the highest policymaking body of NEPAD.
Explaining the roles and functions of the NEPAD Secretariat, she said that among other things the Secretariat coordinates the presentation and implementation of better-focused programmes and time-bound action plans for identified priority areas.
On domesticating the NEPAD policy framework, the Deputy Chief Executive identified leadership at the national level - both political and technical - as creating a regional and continental linkage to national actions as well as ensuring the efficient use of own resources and using partner resources to complement national efforts.
The retreat also featured a special session of the participants with Dr. Tunji Olagunju. This offered an opportunity to brainstorm on NEPAD Nigeria to fashion the way forward and ensure that it accomplishes its mandate.
This special session set the tone for three syndicate groups. Each group was assigned a specific task ranging from NEPAD policy review, content and context of advocacy in delivering the NEPAD mandates, to the appropriate management structure for domesticating NEPAD in Nigeria. Participants raised some salient issues on the different dimensions of poverty, definition of the NEPAD Nigeria mandate, the concept of inclusive economic development challenges and strategies in relation to the seven-point agenda to meet NEPAD priority areas as well as stakeholders and partnership.
At the end of the session, participants agreed that the mandate of NEPAD is about the development of NEPAD priorities recognising the fact that the framework is interactive, that there is need to forge strong partnerships between and among all government levels, the private sector, NGOs, civil society and so on.
Participants also agreed that there is a need to review the present management structure of NEPAD Nigeria to reflect the clustering nature of NEPAD. Source : NEPAD - october 24, 2008
A series of important events took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 24 October 2008 (UN Day) as part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The daylong programme consisted of four major ceremonies, which started with a UN flag-raising ceremony to mark United Nations Day.
This was followed by a ceremony to launch the ECA Jubilee Book and Africa Hall Historical Project. The Jubilee Book chronicles and examines ECA’s main contributions to African development over the past 50 years at global and regional level through programmes of the UN and as a pan-African institution.
The Africa Hall Historical Project seeks to have the Africa Hall declared of historical and cultural value and to mobilise resources for renovating and upgrading the building to include a museum/permanent standing exhibition related to historical events that have taken place there.
The afternoon session was dedicated to a ceremony marking the presentation of the first Grinzane-Cavour Literary Prize for Africa, an event jointly organised by ECA and the Italian embassy.
The evening session was capped with an Ethiopian cultural evening hosted by the Government which culminated in a ceremony recognising long-serving ECA staff members who have dedicated their lives to the UN. Source : NEPAD - october 24, 2008