Regional Stakeholders’ Consultation Meetings on the 2016 Report of the Secretary-General on the UN Monitoring Mechanism (UNMM)

Summary of the Outcomes

Click on the themes above to read more about each one.

Infrastructure Development

The three stakeholders’ consultative meetings endorsed the report’s focus on infrastructure development as it is a key imperative for Africa’s future. Indeed, infrastructure development is not only critical to unleashing Africa’s growth potential, but also indispensable to the realisation of the African Union’s(AU's) vision of a peaceful, integrated and prosperous continent.  Both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the AU’s Agenda 2063 recognise the critical importance of infrastructure in achieving sustainable development.

Infrastructure represents several sub-sectors, including transportation, telecommunications, ICTs, energy, water and sanitation, etc., each playing an important role in economic development.

The report could focus on those sectors where targeted interventions could have a greater impact in removing the binding constraint on growth and development.

The meetings identified energy as a key infrastructure sector where, if binding constraints are addressed, could have a greater impact on accelerating progress towards sustainable development in Africa. Power outage and shedding is a pervasive problem in much of Africa and it estimated that the continent loses on average 3 % of its output due to lack of energy. 

One of the key constraints to infrastructure development common across much of Africa is financing. The most recent data on infrastructure development in Africa estimates that roughly $93 billion will be required to bring infrastructure development in Africa to a level comparable to that of other developing countries. There is also major capacity challenge across Africa related to the preparation of sound bankable infrastructure projects and, this limits the ability to mobilise private investors to infrastructure projects. Experts also highlighted the importance of shining light on regional infrastructure projects in Africa, which is important for regional integration and trade.

Commitments for the 2016 Secretary-General's report
  1. Reform and harmonize national regulatory environment and promote the development of regional infrastructure projects.
  2. Mobilize increased public resources for infrastructure development, increase financial support for infrastructure development, and help mobilize private sector participation in infrastructure.
  3. Support project preparation and implementation capacity in African countries.
  4. Promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in African countries.

Trade

The three stakeholders’ consultation meetings endorsed the decision of the Inter-Departmental Task Force on African Affairs for including trade as one of the themes for the 2016 Secretary-General report of the UNMM as trade constitutes an essential means of implementation of sustainable development. Both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s (AU's) Agenda 2063 recognise the cardinal importance of trade for development. The report could add an important voice to ongoing efforts to unlock the benefits of trade for development, which is the more urgent in light of stalled negotiations for the conclusion of the Doha Round of trade negotiations.

When the report references Doha Round, it should not simply call for the conclusion of the round but it should focus on specific issues which will support Africa’s development. Despite the stalled Doha Round, progress has been made in other areas of trade reforms agreed during the last 10 years which are of great benefits to Africa. These include duty-free and quota-free access for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs); cotton subsidies; trade facilitation;  Aid for Trade; liberalisation of global trade in IT products as well as a ban on agricultural export subsidies, the last two agreed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) Conference in Nairobi in December 2015. The enhanced integrated framework for the LDCs is also a model that does give them the tools to find their own trade policy priorities and look at trade capacities.

Experts at the stakeholder consultation meetings also emphasised the importance of ensuring a more balanced discussion of both multilateral trade and regional trade. Intra-African trade remains insignificant despite intensified efforts aimed at regional integration. It is however, more diversified than extra-regional exports, thus holding the key for spurring growth of trade in industrial products. The report should highlight the key factors that militate against regional integration and provide concrete, actionable recommendations for African countries.

Commitments for the 2016 Secretary-General's report
  1. Promote regional integration through the removal of barriers to intra-African trade.
  2. Develop policies and business environment to promote supply-side constraints and the diversification of exports. Support the processing of African agro-produce and industrial raw materials, and cooperation mechanisms on trade facilitation.
  3. Reduce with the aim to eliminate trade-distorting measures including domestic support and export subsidies, in sectors where these are harmful to African countries export potential. Enhanced support to African LDCs through duty-free, quota-free trade preference schemes.

Gender Equality

Gender equality and women empowerment is essential for achieving the 2030 agenda for sustainable development given the multiplier effect of women empowerment on other sustainable development goals (SDGs). The African Union (AU) recognises the central importance of gender and women empowerment in promoting sustainable development. To spur greater progress toward gender equality and women empowerment the AU Summit designated 2015 as the African Year of Women Empowerment towards the AU Agenda 2063, and 2016 as “The year of human rights with particular emphasis on the rights of women”. The meetings recognised the importance of pursuing actions on several fronts, including enhancing women participation in key political decision-making structure; promoting women economic empowerment; as well as addressing violence against women.

The three meetings identified lack of political will a key constraint to accelerating progress toward gender equality and women empowerment. The absence of a dedicated funding envelope for gender equality and women empowerment is equally a serious challenge for many African countries. The critical areas of violence against women, the women peace and security agenda, and economic empowerment of women are all under-resourced. It is estimated that only 2% of aid is directed to economic sector targeting women empowerment.

The importance of gender score cards in incentivizing countries to pay attention to their performance in areas such as women empowerment has also been underscored at several stakeholders’ consultation meetings. Experts also suggested that while gender equality and women empowerment is an important strategic issue that should be treated as stand-alone issue in the report, it should also be discussed as a cross-cutting issue in the other thematic areas given the strong interlinkages with other themes.

Commitments for the 2016 Secretary-General's report
  1. Provide policy and financial support to the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment also in light of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and African Union’s Agenda 2063.
  2. Support the promotion of women’s economic empowerment in all economic activities.
  3. Support the protection of women and girls from human rights abuse and the end of any form of gender-based violence, including conflict-related violence and human trafficking.

Conflict-free Africa

The meetings also recognised the challenge that conflict and fragility posed for sustainable development as rightly reaffirmed in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The The African Union’s (AU's) Agenda 2063 also recognises peace and security as an important enabler for development. African countries proclaimed the goal of a conflict-free continent by 2010 in their Declaration on the Review of the Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals adopted in Sirte, Libya in July 2005. In light of persistent conflict, African leaders reaffirmed the goal to silence all guns, this time by 2020, in the 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration of the AU in 2013 and in the AU’s Agenda 2063, which was adopted in January 2015.

To strengthen the AU capacity to preserve peace and security, African Heads of State and Government established the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and other mechanisms such as the Panel of the Wise, African Stand-by Force. However, most of the components of APSA are not operational. The operationalisation of these components will considerably strengthen African countries capacities to manage and resolve conflict. Experts argued that other mechanisms such as African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) are important in addressing peace and security challenges. However, there is lack of follow up and implementation of their recommendations made by the panel.

The meetings also identified financing as a critical constraint to the peace and security in Africa. Though African countries have commitment to mobilise increase financial resources from domestic sources, there is a concern that African countries continue to rely heavily on external funding for peace support operation. Many experts also highlighted the challenge to peace and security posed by the prevalence of small weapons. The report should also highlight this important issue.

The Africa and OECD-DAC consultation meetings underscored the importance of strengthened mutual consultation between Africa and international partners for resolution of conflicts within Africa. This will also require the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to play a more proactive role since they are the building blocks of the African Union.

There was also mention of set of commitments arising from the endorsement of the New Deal for engagement in conflict affected and fragile countries which could also be taken up in the Secretary-General's report of the UNMM. The New Deal is a framework that some 40 countries have signed up to, suggesting the way in which they were to be approaching conflict affected situations to prioritize five peacebuilding and state building goals.

Commitments for the 2016 Secretary-General's report
  1. Intensify security cooperation under the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and institutionalize innovative conflict prevention, management and resolution mechanisms at continental and regional levels.
  2. Support African efforts in the fields of peace and security, including conflict prevention, resolution, management and peacebuilding through exchange of expertise, as well as training and equipping the peacekeeping forces, and providing the funding for these efforts.
  3. Address drivers of conflict, including the trafficking of small arms and light weapons, and the illicit trade in natural resources such as conflict diamonds and the promotion of conflict-sensitive private sector investments.

Background

At its meeting of 30 June 2015, the Interdepartmental Task Force on African Affairs (IDTFA) endorsed the following four themes for the 2016 Secretary-General's Report of the UNMM:

  • Infrastructure development;
  • Trade;
  • A conflict-free Africa; and
  • Gender equality and women empowerment. 

In identifying the themes for the report, the IDTFA sought to align the UNMM report with important issues on the intergovernmental agendas at both regional and global levels. The four thematic areas are also closely aligned with the priorities identified in the strategic frameworks of both the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as well as with the AU’s Agenda 2063, the transformative agenda for the continent’s development over the next fifty years.

In its role as the Secretariat of the UNMM, OSAA launched the preparation for the 2016 biennial report of the Secretary-General on the “Review of implementation of commitments made toward Africa’s development”. In line with the General Assembly Resolution 66/293, OSAA organised stakeholder consultation meetings engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders:

  • The first consultation meeting of African stakeholders took place on 5-6 October 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and was organised jointly with the UNECA and the AU Commission (AUC).
  • The second consultation meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development/Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) development partners took place on 23-24 November 2015 in Paris, France, and was organised jointly with OECD.
  • The last consultation meeting for the New and Emerging Development Partners organised in collaboration with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) took place on 8-9 December 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Participants for the meetings were drawn from a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including:

  • Government representatives from African Member States,
  • OECD-DAC development partners and New and Emerging Development partners;
  • Regional Economic Communities (RECs);
  • Regional organisations as well as
  • Non-state actors including:
      • academia,
      • think tanks,
      • private sector,
      • civil society organisations (CSO).

Participants were either policy-makers and or experts involved in the four thematic areas of the 2016 report.  For the New and Emerging Development partners, the countries represented at the meeting were Brazil, China, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Iran and Kazakhstan and South Africa.

Objectives of the Meetings

In establishing the UNMM, the General Assembly underscored the importance of an inclusive and participatory process that involves a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including governments, parliaments, private sector, academia, think tanks, civil society organisations in both African countries and their development partners in the review process.

Against this backdrop, the objectives of the stakeholder consultation meetings were to consult with experts from a broad spectrum of stakeholders in government, academia and civil society organisations across the OECD member countries on the 2016 Report of the Secretary-General on “The review of the implementation of commitments made towards Africa’s development”.

More specifically, the meetings aimed to:

  • Identify key important commitments in the four thematic areas the report could focus on;
  • Highlight major achievements and challenges in the implementation of commitments to Africa’s development; and
  • Generate consensus on measures to advance national, regional and international actions in the proposed thematic areas.

Related Documents

Consultations in Addis Ababa (5 - 6 October 2015)

Consultations in Paris (23 - 24 November 2015)

Consultations in Bangkok (8 - 9 December 2015)

Reports and Resolutions