H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Mr. Carlos Lopes co-chair the Seventeenth Session of the RCM for Africa calling on a transformative path on Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063

By African Union Commission (AUC)

The seventeenth (17th) Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) for Africa kicks off on 2nd April 2016 at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, amidst reiterated calls for coordination in the implementation of the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the global Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030). RCM-Africa — a platform for the UN system to support the African Union and its member countries to implement global, and continental development goals in Africa — will play a key role in making this a reality.

The meeting was highly attended by high officials from the African Union Commission (AUC) led by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma; the UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Mr. Carlos Lopes; the Representative of the UN Deputy Secretary General, Under Secretary General and UN Special Adviser on Africa, Maged Abdelaziz; high officials from UN agencies and Systems ; the African Development Bank; the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency; the World Bank and the IMF; and AU Member States.

The deliberations called for strengthen of partnership, accountability, progressive monitoring and evaluation system, transformative path to the economic development of Africa through syncing the Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Officially opening the meeting H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, stated that one important lesson from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa is that initial conditions invariably influenced the pace of progress on global development agendas. However, each region has to consider both what it has and it's aspirations in order to meet obligations to its citizens as well as global obligations.

She indicated that, it comes as no surprise in the technical analysis of the goals of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals that there is over 90% convergent. The implementation of the Agenda 2063 priorities will help in meeting the sustainable development goals. “The RCM in 2015 agreed on the need for joint implementation, and this 17th RCM must therefore focus on the practicalities of this at continental level with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs)”, noted the AUC Chairperson. She further acknowledged the recommendations on the reconfigured RCM clusters based on the agenda 2063 10 year Implementation Plan, on the concrete joined programs for implementation at continental as well as regional level with the sub regional mechanisms.

“The implementation of Agenda 2063 will really help us meet the Sustainable Development Goals of ending poverty, zero hunger or quality education, water, sanitation, protecting the planet, gender equality, reducing inequalities and ensuring prosperity for all», added Dr. Dlamini Zuma, “An integrated, peaceful, prosperous Africa that is driven by its own citizens is in the interest of the whole humanity».

Mr. Carlos in his remark said the timing of the seventeenth session of the RCM is auspicious because it is occurring in the aftermath of the adoption of the Agenda 2063 which aims to support the vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens representing a dynamic force in international arena. He highlighted that both Agenda 2063 and 2030 contain global and regional specific interventions that if effectively implemented, can propel the continent on a transformative path for sustainable development. Mr. Lopes noted that, though African countries also have their own development plans and strategies, the greatest challenge policy makers' face is how to implement these frameworks in a coherent and integrated manner. Dr. Carlos further added that in order for support to be truly effective, UN bodies have outlined works for the priority of the AU in a coordinated and coherent manner which is a fundamental role of the RCM for Africa. He emphasized on the need to strengthen engagement with the science community which may be a necessary solution to seek answers to some of the vexing challenges posed by climate change among others, underlining the need for global partnership which can also be a solution to tackle some of the key socio-economic development challenges facing the African continent. “There is no doubt that global partnerships can provide the impetus for tackling the key socio economic challenges currently facing Africa. Global partnerships can work for Africa if they are aligned with the strategic objectives of the continent and buttressed by a unified continental voice…We have the opportunity to model what such a partnership could be”, said ECA Executive Secretary. He added that global partnership can therefore work for Africa if they are aligned with the strategic vision of the continent and backed by a unified voice from the continent.

Speaking on behalf of UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Mr. Abdelaziz, UN Special Adviser on Africa said: “What is critical for us today is what the implementation of the UN-AU partnership and the implementation of Agenda 2063 and 2030 agenda for sustainable development entail: both agendas are wide and comprehensive, together they will be therefore addressing a range of political, economic, social, and environmental challenges for Africa”.

Mr Abdelaziz recommended that RCM Africa prioritize multi stakeholder and public-private partnerships, facilitate joint work to support national efforts to domesticate and implement both Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030, help address the perennial problem of lack of resources.

He lauded the joint commitment and efforts of the AU and UN in achieving milestones with the RCM with the view of harnessing cooperation between both institutions the United Nations and the African Union through the cluster system. Enabling joint planning and programming of a range of issues including social, economic, agriculture, peace and security, governance, Human Rights and gender free values. “Furthermore, the RCM has improve synergy and coordination, avoiding duplication, enabling a better use of resources and facilitating joint advocacy in communication and outreach” he noted.

Holding under the theme: “toward and integrated and coherent approach to the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Agenda 2063 and the sustainable development goals”, the 17th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa deliberate on the UN-African Union partnership for the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDGs); the African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women; Movement, Migration, Youth and Gender Empowerment; Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade; and Strengthening the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa for an effective Implementation of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs.

The RCM meeting ends on Sunday 3rd April 2016.