Time for the UN and African Union to coherently address Africa’s development priorities

Marrakech, 23 March 2019 (ECA) - The African Union declared 2019 as a year of: "Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa". A vision which experts say could be attained when institutions operating in Africa work together and ensure coherence and complementarity in the implementation of development projects.

Senior officials of the United Nations and the African Union met at the of Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa) meeting to discuss how to harmonize efforts and better coordinate solutions that will address the challenges of refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons.

The two-day meeting was held on 23 and 24 March 2019 on the margins of the fifty-second session of the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, in Marrakech, Morocco.

RCM-Africa is a platform for the UN system to support the African Union and its organs in the implementation of Africa's development priorities.

Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN stressed the urgency to address in a coordinated manner the root causes of refugees and internally displaced persons.

"Rather than coming to a table with everyone's mandate and everyone's piece of the pie, we actually need to remember that there are people waiting out there for us to do the acceleration of what we need to do,” said Mohammed.

ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, said that the RCM-Africa meeting is in line with the reform currently taking place to strengthen the UN’s intention of "Delivering as one". Songwe emphasized the need for working together to advance the cause of development on the continent.

"Africa is growing at only at 3.2 per cent and we need to create 16 million jobs every year to ensure that our youth have jobs and issues of peace and security work are addressed,' she said.

"We cannot continue to talk about development in silos. Because we know that if we need to improve maternal mortality you need to get better clean water. We know that if you need to improve gender balance, you need a better education, “she said.

Sarah Mbi Enow Anyang, the Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and technology at the African Union Commission (AUC) commended the efforts underway by ECA and AUC that are aimed at finding systemic solutions to address Africa's development complexities.

"Since its establishment, the RCM-Africa has evolved from a consultative body to a Joint AU-UN Mechanism looking at coordinating support to the African Union and its organs.  This shift has been of particular importance in deepening ties and collaboration between the African Union and the UN system", said Anyang. "We expect that this mechanism will continue to provide guidance and visibility on the achievements at continental level".

Ahunna Eziakonwa, the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP's Regional Bureau for Africa also stressed that the problem of displaced people is a global issue, that needs a collective approach. “Coordination is fundamental to make it happen”, she said.

The meeting in Marrakech was attended by Senior Officials of both the African Union Commission and the United Nations, as well as Africa regional economic communities and other development partners.


Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
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Addis Ababa
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