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Enhancing the Role of Economic and Social Councils for Inclusive Socio-Economic Policy Development

Background:

The National Economic and Social Councils (ESC) represent an emerging framework for multi-stakeholder decision-making at the national level and contribute to policymaking in an informed and participatory manner. However, in many developing countries, particularly in Africa, these ESCs, although they exist formally, have no significant role in influencing policy making process, due to a lack of credibility because of their composition, or are restricted by laws to very specifics areas, or because of a lack of capacity in evaluating public policies and lack of financial resources to operate properly.

This project aims to strengthen the capacity of ESC in Francophone Africa to support the participatory process in public policymaking, implementation and monitoring, in order to improve service delivery and accountability in public programmes including enhancing capacities for the achievement of the MDGs.

Objective:

To strengthen the capacity of ESC in Francophone Africa to support the participatory process in public policymaking, implementation and monitoring, in order to improve service delivery and accountability in public programmes including enhancing capacities for the achievement of the MDGs.

Expected Accomplishments:

  • Improved institutional environment and organization of ESCs to enable them to become comprehensive frameworks of multi-stakeholder decision making and institutional vehicles for civic participation in public governance;

  • Improved capacity of ESC members to exercise stronger leadership in organizing, managing and supporting civil society participation in public policy processes, including integrating other participatory processes, such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), into the ESC process

Implementation Status:

The project was organizated a regional workshop in Ouagadougou. While 50 participants from 20 African partner institutions attended the workshop, the prime minister of Burkina Faso and more then 600 persons attended the opening session of the workshop. While the workshop in Ouagadougou mainly focused on discussing how National Economic and Social Council (ESC) can be strengthened institutionally and regarding their visibility, the cooperation process became increasingly focused on the role of ESC in achieving development goals. In the third quarter of the year began the preparation of a capacity building workshop in Nairobi (scheduled for March 2010) which includes training session on how ESC staff and members approach national development strategies.

The organization of several workshops and seminars by DESA and/or ESC (Ouagadougou in June, Cotonou in October) had the positive impact on that visibility and appreciation of ESC grew in African countries.