81. Over the years, the United Nations has taken several initiatives with regard to the special needs of Africa, including in support of African development and in the promotion of peace and security. Since the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) by African leaders in 2002, the international community's multiple approaches have coalesced around a specifically Africa-defined and Africa-driven approach. The resolutions and decisions of the principal organs of the United Nations have reflected the international community's deep concern for the situation in Africa, and have generated mandates which are being implemented by a large number of United Nations entities. Despite the large number of activities being carried out to implement these mandates, however, there has been a clear mismatch between the mandates and their actual impact on the ground.
Overlap among organs
82. There is an overlap and duplication of mandates in issue areas regarding Africa. This could be explained in part by the particular challenges of peace, security and development facing the continent, and the legitimate concern of the international community. Almost all United Nations global conferences in the 1990s produced outcomes with special sections on Africa in recognition of those concerns, which led to the creation of mandates and activities by various agencies, departments and offices.
83. In examining the active mandates relating to Africa, I would suggest that a sound guiding principle would be the need to concentrate African and international efforts on the implementation of NEPAD, and on sustained support for the African Union. In order to deal effectively with issues relevant to Africa in an integrated and comprehensive way, the problem of duplication and overlap in the work of the principal organs should be addressed through improved collaboration mechanisms between those bodies. Moreover, it may now be appropriate to review all pre-NEPAD mandates with a view to making appropriate recommendations to Member States on streamlining them in the context of NEPAD, and of the priorities identified by the African Union.
84. The mandate review process should clarify the division of labour between the principal organs; include mandates from the subsidiary bodies of the Economic and Social Council, from UNCTAD and the Trade and Development Board; help to shift United Nations activities towards a more robust action orientation; and define the appropriate level for the implementation of specific mandates. The process should be assisted by those Secretariat entities directly supporting African development. It is vital to point out that, in the case of subsidiary bodies dealing with operational activities, achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa should be the highest priority, given the risk facing many African countries of falling behind in this area.
Architecture for implementation
85. Greater efforts need to be made to improve the coherence and coordination of the work of the large number of United Nations entities supporting the development objectives of Africa. Prominent among these are the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UNDP, the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, UNCTAD, the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing Countries, as well as other agencies, funds and programmes.
86. As the focal point in the United Nations system for promoting international support for NEPAD, the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa has an important role to play in helping the General Assembly to revisit its mandates relating to Africa. While carrying out the mandate review exercise, it will be vital for Member States to ensure that the mandates of all entities in place to address the special needs of Africa, in particular the mandates of ECA, are streamlined and fully oriented towards supporting the priorities and needs of the African Union and NEPAD.
87. As part of the process of reviewing mandates on different issue areas pertaining to Africa, there should also be a review and streamlining of the subcategory of analytic reporting mandates stemming from various resolutions. This would facilitate a more coherent and efficient use of the system's analytical capabilities, and could release resources for achieving improved results on the ground. In undertaking such a review, it would be helpful to make a distinction between reports submitted periodically to intergovernmental bodies in the exercise of their deliberative and monitoring functions on support being provided to Africa by individual agencies or organizations, and policy analytical reports that are initiated by various entities or requested by intergovernmental bodies themselves. Examples of the first kind of report could be found in the annual report to the Committee for Programme and Coordination on United Nations system support for NEPAD and the two reports delivered regularly to the General Assembly by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, namely the report of the Secretary-General on the New Partnership for Africa's Development: progress in implementation and international support and the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of recommendations contained in the report of the Secretary-General on the causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa. The review proposed here refers to the second category, that is, reports which deal with more generic thematic issues such as trade, governance, private sector development and the like.