Draft Annotated Agenda - Committee of Experts
Over the last decade, African countries have undertaken an ambitious agenda of reforms aimed at improving the economic, political and social conditions in the region. As a result, economic growth in Africa has increased, on average, from 2.6 per cent over the period 1975-1994 to about 3.5 per cent for 2000-2003. And estimates for 2004 indicated further acceleration to 4.6 per cent, the highest level in almost a decade.
Notwithstanding these improvements, growth remains, at its current level, insufficient for a majority of countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. In this context and given the global review of the MDGs by the United Nations General Assembly scheduled for next September, the theme of the 2005 Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development - Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa - is both relevant and timely.
During the Conference, the discussion will notably focus on: i) why African countries are genrally not on track to achieve the MDGs and ii) what can be done in terms of strategies, resources and modalities, to improve the situation.
At the 2002 Conference of African Ministers, the participants agreed that the poverty reduction strategies (PRSs) would be the main instrument for incorporating continent-wide priorities into national programmes and for accelerating progress towards the MDGs. So far, the regional experience with PRSs shows that increased country ownership and participation have had a gradual and positive impact on the formulation of national development plans. However, the PRSs have not been underpinned by comprehensive growth strategies and have not had enough focus on the MDGs. Among the elements to be discussed at the Conference, the experts will share their views on how these issues can best be addressed in the context of the second generation of PRSs. In this context, the experts will discuss ways of strengthening, within the PRSs, growth, employment creation and poverty reduction. The session will, in particular, address the importance of investing in the agriculture and infrastructure sectors and mainstreaming trade in national strategies in order to stimulate growth and achieve the MDGs.
Increasing the likelihood of meeting the MDGs undoubtedly requires a transformed relationship based on trust and shared responsibility for development effectiveness. As agreed at the 2003 Ministerial Conference, operationalizing mutual accountability and monitoring commitments are key to improving performance in the region. The 2005 Report on the Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness in the context of NEPAD, the first joint review prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the ECA at the request of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee, provides the opportunity for an in-depth discussion on this topic. The experts will be invited to comment on the main messages and key recommendations of the report which are addressing two main issues: the extent to which African countries are implementing policies that are consistent with their development goals; and the extent to which the developed countries are meeting their international commitments and adopting policies that are consistent with the development goals of Africa.
These key issues for Africa's development will provide the backdrop for the discussions on the theme of the Conference. It is expected that the dialogue with the experts will contribute to clarifying the issues and reaching consensus on a way forward in order to meet the MDGs in Africa by 2015. The Issues Paper on the theme of the Conference will inform the discussions.
1. Opening of the Meeting
The opening statements will be delivered by the Chairperson of the Bureau, the Executive Secretary and a representative of the African Union Commission. (The session will be presided over by the Chairperson of the outgoing Bureau until a new Bureau is elected).
2. Election of the Bureau
There will be a short break after the opening ceremony, during which the Heads of Delegation will meet to elect a new Bureau as provided for in the rules of procedure of the Committee. The Bureau will comprise five members - a Chairperson, three Vice-Chairpersons, and one Rapporteur to be elected on the basis of equitable geographical representation of the five subregions of the continent. The election will be followed by a short statement by the new Chairperson of the Committee.
3. Adoption of the agenda and programme of work
The Committee will be invited to adopt the agenda and programme of work.
4. Survey of economic and social conditions in Africa 2004-2005
Under this agenda item, the secretariat will present an overview of recent developments in the world economy and their implications for Africa. The presentation will also highlight trends in regional economic and prospects for the medium-term, drawing on the main conclusions of the Economic Report on Africa, 2005. The presentation will be followed by a general discussion on key policy issues highlighted in the presentation.
5. Discussion on the theme of the Conference - Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa
Achieving the MDGs forms a strong basis for global and regional initiatives in Africa. Given the five-year review of the MDGs scheduled to take place during the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly next September, this session with the experts, offers a unique opportunity for an in-depth discussion on how to improve conditions in Africa. It will notably touch upon the need to strengthen growth strategies within the PRS framework and better address employment creation and poverty reduction. The session is expected to reach a consensus on the policy measures that African countries could consider in accelerating progress towards the MDGs.
6. Report on Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness in the context of NEPAD
Under this agenda item, the OECD and ECA secretariats will present the main findings and recommendations of the report on the Mutual Review of Development Effectiveness which had been requested by the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee. The first report will highlight several key issues for discussion aimed at strengthening the development partnership in support of meeting the MDGs in Africa. These include performance measures and benchmarks for measuring progress towards mutually agreed commitments; the challenges of improving aid effectiveness; promoting policy coherence; and supporting capacity development for meeting the MDGs in Africa. The outcome of the discussions will contribute to the development of a new framework for enhancing development effectiveness in Africa.
7. Statutory Issues
The Committee will consider and make recommendations on several statutory issues related to the work and functioning of the Commission, including issues arising from the meetings of various subsidiary bodies of the Commission, which have met since its last session. Under this item, the secretariat will present the Annual Report on the work of the Commission, 2005 which highlights the major achievements including the challenges encountered in the implementation of the work programme by the Commission including its subsidiary bodies and the secretariat in the period since the last session of the Commission. The report will be presented to the Committee for its information.
The Committee will also consider and take action on other statutory issues that may be brought to its attention.
8. Proposed Programme of Work and Priorities for the Biennium 2006-2007
Under this item, the Committee will have before it the proposed programme of work and priorities for the biennium 2006-2007, including the recommendations of the ad hoc experts group meeting held in December 2004 on the programme of work, for consideration and endorsement. The programme of work and priorities forms an integral part of the Secretary-General's proposed Programme Budget for the biennium 2006-2007 which is based on the approved programme plan for the same period.
9. Any other business
The Committee may wish to consider any other matter that may be brought to its attention.
10. Consideration and adoption of the report of the Committee
The Committee will consider and adopt a report of its meeting includinga draft resolution on the proposed programme of work and priorities for the biennium 2006-2007.
11. Closure of the Meeting