Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, on Wednesday lauded the African Union Commission’s commitment to effective partnerships, collaborative approaches and actions in support of the continent’s development aspirations.
In a speech read on her behalf by Stephen Karingi, Director of the ECA’s Regional Integration and Trade Division, at a Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa) Stakeholders Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ms. Songwe praised efforts by the AUC and its partners to collectively work together in championing sustainable development in Africa.
The RCM-Africa, established more than two decades ago is at a crossroads, she said.
This is in view of the African Union institutional reforms and ongoing United Nations reforms, particularly as they relate to longer-term re-profiling and restructuring of regional assets.
“I am glad to note the cross-section of participants in person and virtually, from AU and UN entities at regional and sub-regional levels, representing important stakeholders of RCM-Africa and its SRCMs. I am confident that the meeting will produce useful outcomes that will contribute to charting the way forward,” said Ms. Songwe.
“I would like to thank all stakeholders of RCM-Africa and its SRCMs for their tireless efforts over the years towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of support for the AU development agenda. The ongoing reforms provide the opportunity to add new life and dynamism to our collective quest for achieving impactful results from regional to national levels.”
RCM-Africa and its Subregional Coordination Mechanisms (SRCMs) serve as a framework for the UN system to work collaboratively in supporting the priorities of the AU and its organs and agencies at regional and sub-regional levels, particularly the AU’s 2063 Agenda.
“Today’s meeting provides a platform for information sharing and reflections on the ongoing UN reforms to engender understanding on, and appreciation for what lies ahead, to mobilize for the effective implementation of transitional activities pending the outcomes of the regional consultations, and to begin preparing for the transition,” said Ms. Songwe.
For her part, Ambassador Rosette Nyirinkindi Katungye, Advisor of the Regional Integration Bureau of the AUC Chairperson, said; “We thank you, especially those of you joining us through teleconference and those who travelled all the way from outside and our colleagues from the UN system as we resume our activities.”
“We are looking forward to your usual and crucial partnership. Your presence shows how this Coordination Mechanism is to all of us in our constant efforts to be innovative to effectively deliver as one.”
She continued: “Indeed these are challenging times and we count on your wisdom to qualitatively contribute to the betterment of our systems.”
RCM-Africa exists to promote and enhance UN system-wide policy coherence, coordination and collaboration at the regional level to ‘deliver as one’ in response to identified regional priorities and initiatives of the AU. Similarly, the SRCMs serve as vehicles for UN agencies and organizations operating at the sub regional level to support AU organs at that level, particularly the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and other intergovernmental organizations in a manner that minimizes fragmentation in their operations and increases coherence, coordination and collaboration.
RCM-Africa is supported by four SRCMs that cover Central Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa, North and West Africa.
Since the RCMs are now linked to Regional Forums for Sustainable Development (RFSDs), the 2020 session of RCM/RCP Africa will be held back-to-back with the 6th Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD) in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in February.
The ongoing UN reforms are critical to determining how regional UN entities are organized and work together in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as regional and subregional development frameworks with effective linkages to national level actions for optimal results and impact.