Reporting on Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa

The Millennium Declaration places particular emphasis on the special needs of Africa and calls for focused support to “Africans in their struggle for lasting peace, poverty eradication and sustainable development.” NEPAD has become the guiding framework for coordinated efforts by UN organizations to help address the special needs of Africa. The UN system has adopted a three-tiered approach to coordinating its support for NEPAD. At the regional level, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) acts as the UN system’s key interlocutor with African countries on NEPAD. ECA’s yearly consultative meetings serve as the principal coordinating mechanism for the activities of UN organizations in Africa. Under a cluster arrangement designed to facilitate inter-agency coordination, UN organizations carry out support activities, working closely with the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the NEPAD secretariat. And at the country level, UN organizations coordinate their work through the Resident Coordinator System and through existing mechanisms, such as PRSPs and CCAs/UNDAFs.

ECA African Committee on Sustainable Development
In 1996, the Economic Commission for Africa’s Conference of African Ministers responsible for Economic and Social Development and Planning adopted Resolution No. 826 (XXXII) establishing the Committee on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Committee on Natural Resources and Science and Technology (CNRST). The CSD was created to serve as an expert forum for advising the ECA in the interlinked areas of food security, population, environment, and human settlements. The CSD also provides a platform for advocacy and assessment of follow-up activities to regional and global plans of action by African governments and address specific measures to promote the protection and regeneration of the environment, enhance food security and sustainable human settlements and issues arising from increased population growth in Africa. The CNRST was established to subsume the functions performed by the African Regional Conference on Science and Technology and the Conference of African Ministers responsible for the development and utilisation of mineral resources and energy. CNRST served as a forum for the promotion of cooperation among African countries in the areas of science and technology issues relevant to the development of member States. In 2002 the two Committees were merged into the Committee on Sustainable Development (ACSD), and continued to provides advice to the member States and to ECA on ways to strengthen support for the sustainable development activities of Member States. It also provides a platform for advocacy and for assessment of follow-up activities by African governments to global plans of action, especially the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, Agenda 21, the Habitat Agenda, the Cairo Programme of Action on Population and Development and the Programme of Action of the World Food Summit.
ECA Secretariat.

THE UN-WATER/AFRICA: The UN-Water/Africa (formerly IGWA) comprises many UN agencies, including the Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Environmental Program, World Meteorological Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The United Nations Children's Fund, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Water and Sustainable Development Programme in Africa, The New Partnership for Africa's Development, African Development Bank Group. The collaboration began in 1992 as the Interagency Group for Water in Africa (IGWA) which was formed as African regional counterpart at the initiative of ECA of in response to a request by the UNACC Subcommittee on Water Resources, to coordinate and harmonize water activities in Africa by various UN and other subregional IGOs. The other objective of IGWA was to promote joint collaborative activities in water sector in Africa by these agencies. The UNECA was the Secretariat of IGWA s and continues to serve as the Secretariat of UN-Water/Africa. Members of UN-Water/Africa meet routinely to review progress, to exchange information and to plan follow-up-activities. More.

UNEP’S REGIONAL OFFICE FOR AFRICA: Located at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, UNEP’s Regional Office for Africa’s (ROA) has as its major function to coordinate UNEP's programme of work in the region. ROA acts as the link between the various UNEP units and centers and the countries in the region, as well as promotes collaboration and partnerships with organizations active in sustainable development in Africa. ROA plays a key role in ensuring that environmental considerations are the engine driving Africa along the road to recovery, stability and sustainable development. The office closely collaborates with many partners to put Africa on the global map where critical environmental issues are discussed and addressed. Regional cooperation retains the highest priority as the means to achieve these goals. As host of the AMCEN Secretariat, ROA is ensures and strengthens cooperation between UNEP and the major regional and subregional partners. ROA also provides a wide range of advisory services using either UNEP staff or consultants through an umbrella project known as Regional Advisory Services (RAS). RAS advises on environmental machinery and technical requirements, reviews project proposals, and recommends action by governments and other organizations. In addition UNEP has invested considerable effort in conducting complementary programmes and initiatives to encourage the development and implementation of environmental law by African States. These have included capacity-building in the fields of compliance and enforcement of environmental law at the national level. One continuing UNEP programme, the Partnership for the Development of Environmental Laws and Institutions in Africa, has contributed to the development of legal and institutional frameworks to help curb environmental degradation and consequently reduce poverty. UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment has been instrumental in the preparation and production of the Africa Environment Outlook reports.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S ADVISORY BOARD ON WATER AND SANITATION: The  UNSG  Advisory  Board on Water and Sanitation is an independent body established  in  March  2004  by  then United  Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, in  order  to  give  him advice as well as to galvanize global action on water  and  sanitation  issues. 

Africa Regional Dialogue: The first Regional Dialogue between the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and  the African Union (UNSGAB), the African Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW), the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and other regional representatives took place took place on December 14 in Tunisia. The objective of the Dialogue was to formulate a framework of collaboration between the UNSGAB and African organizations in support of ongoing African water initiatives and programmes including preparations for the 2008 International Year of Sanitation. The Regional Dialogue yielded a joint statement and set of actions to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals regarding water and sanitation.

UN System Resources

Economic Commission for Africa
UN Water
UN Development Programme Water Programme
World Health Organization Water and Sanitation
UN Environment Programme
UN-Water members and their respective Water portals
World Water Assessment Programme
WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for water supply and sanitation
Interagency Task Force on Gender and Water (GWTF)
UN Water for Life Decade
World Water Day 2007
UN CSD WAND – Water Action Network Database
UN FAO: Land and Water Development Division
UN Convention on Biological Diversity: Inlands Water Biodiversity
UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
UN Framework for Climate Change
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
UNICEF: Water, environment and sanitation
WHO: Water
WMO: Hydrology and water resources programme
World Bank: Water resources management

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