African Union says UN-wide capacity building package important step in the right direction


ECA Press Release No. 1102012


Addis Ababa, 28 June 2012 (ECA) - The African Union Commission (AUC) today lauded the newly completed UN-wide capacity building package in support of the Union as a major contribution that would fashion the work plan of the Commission for several years to come.

The support package is contained in a 151-page document outlining the capacity challenges as identified by AU senior officials as well as the specific areas of intervention in capacity building as requested by the AUC. It was presented to the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, at a ceremony attended by many UN agencies .

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony, UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Abdoulie Janneh said he was sure that even non-UN partners would find the UN support package and its plan of action, to be a useful tool for engaging the African Union and its various organs, and responding to their various capacity needs.

The United Nations supports the African Union capacity needs through the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) consisting of UN agencies “delivering as one” for the AU and its NEPAD Programme. The RCM works through nine clusters aligned to the priorities of the AU. Its joint Secretariat is located at the ECA.

At its 11th session, in 2010, the RCM had mandated ECA to lead the preparation of a work programme to further implement the framework of the UN Ten Year Capacity Building Programme signed in 2006 by Secretary General Kofi Annan and AUC Chairperson, Alpha Konare.

The work programme is published in a document titled “UN System Support to the African Union Capacity Building Programme: Diagnosis and Work Programme of RCM-Africa Clusters”.

Receiving the document, Mr. Erastus Mwencha, praised Janneh for his personal commitment to seeing through all the aspects of the preparation of the work programme, with the active collaboration of the AU. He described the document as “far-reaching and innovative.”

According to the Information and Communication Service (ICS) of ECA, the work programme covers the key target beneficiaries, including the various Departments of the AUC; capacity requirements of each Department and a consolidated programme of capacity building for the Commission.

It also includes a narrative of the proposed work programme of all the 9 UN clusters in the context of the RCM and associated frameworks for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of capacity building interventions.

Earlier, Mr. Janneh, in presenting the report, said that he was pleased to note that the outcome of this process is “a document that is collectively owned by the AU and the UN System”.

He said that developing a work programme is an important milestone in achieving the objectives set out in the Ten Year Capacity Building Programme.  “However, having a work programme is not an end in itself.  What is more important is for us to apply ourselves in implementing the activities in the programme”, he said.

He advised UN Clusters to incorporate activities of the Work Programme in their Business Plans, and particularly their annual work plans, noting with satisfaction that some Clusters were already doing this. He urged all clusters to take this important step.

Commenting on the significance of the event, Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director of ECA's Economic Development and NEPAD Division (EDND) said that its importance lay in the fact that “it marks the end of a major assignment given to the Secretariat by the 11th Session of RCM, namely to develop a comprehensive Work Programme for the Ten-Year Capacity Building Programme for the African Union.”
He praised the consultative approach used in developing the Work Programme, saying that it had paid off because “we now have a document of high quality that is collectively owned by all members of RCM, especially the AUC.”

He described the document as “an excellent management tool, which will be useful to the clusters in planning their activities, and in monitoring, evaluating and reporting progress in the implementation of the overall programme.

The report presentation was followed by a press briefing on the UN support to the African Union that was jointly addressed by Messrs Abdoulie Janneh and Erastus Mwencha.

It would be recalled that in November 2006, a Declaration entitled “Enhancing the UN-AU Cooperation: Framework for the 10 Year Capacity Building Programme for the African Union“was signed by the then Secretary General, Mr. Kofi Annan and the then Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Alpha Konare.

The main purpose of the Declaration was the commitment to assist the Commission of the African Union to enhance its capacity to deliver on its objectives of peace and security, development and integration.

Issued by:

ECA Information and Communication Service
P.O. Box 3001
Addis Ababa Ethiopia

Tel: 251 11 5445098 Fax: +251-11-551 03 65

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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa