Resolutions 57/2 and 57/7 of 16 September and 4 November 2002 of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the position that the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) should be the framework within which the international community, including the United Nations system should concentrate its efforts for Africa's development. In a nutshell, NEPAD has therefore become the fulcrum for United Nations System support to the continent.
To ensure that it can be an effective partner of NEPAD, the United Nations System has reviewed and reinforced its modalities of work and framework for coordination and collaboration in support of NEPAD. An operational framework structured in three levels, namely the global, regional and country levels has been developed to operationalise its support.
The global level is overseen by the Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA) created by resolution 57/300 of December 2002 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, with the responsibility of coordinating the preparation of Africa-related reports, coordinating global advocacy in support of NEPAD and coordinating the interdepartmental task force on African affairs to ensure coherence and an integrated approach for United Nations support to NEPAD.
ECA has been assigned the task of coordinating the United Nations support to NEPAD at the regional level.
At the country level coordination is achieved through the UNCTs, working through the Common Country Assessment (CCA) and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). The United Nations Development Group (UNDG) works to improve programme collaboration of the UNCTs at the country level.
The Regional Mechanism of Support
Two tools have been developed to serve as operational framework to support NEPAD, and as a reporting mechanism:
- UN agencies working in Africa hold periodical Coordination meetings at the headquarters of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- The UN agencies working in Africa and other organizations have been organized into a system of thematic clusters established around the priority areas of NEPAD;
Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa)
The Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa) is a framework for coordination aiming to fast-track programme implementation system-wide by the United Nations. RCM-Africa sessions are convened by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and held on an annually basis. So far thirteen sessions of RCM-Africa have been organized and the 12th session is planned for November 2011.
The Cluster System
As a means of enhancing the coordinated response of the United Nations System in support of the New Partnership, actions were taken at the regional level, to organize the activities of the agencies and programmes of the system, around thematic clusters covering the priority areas of NEPAD.
To date, nine thematic clusters have been established around the priority areas of NEPAD. Each cluster is co-convened by a designated UN agency or organization and AUC.The internal collaboration may differ from one cluster to another; however, each cluster organizes generally at least one meeting per year to ensure efficiency in the support to NEPAD. The annual regional coordination meetings constitute another occasion for the members of each cluster to meet physically and exchange views on their common goals regarding NEPAD. ECA has consistently taken part in cluster meetings and activities.