[Dateline: Addis Ababa | Author: ECA]
UN agencies and organizations, which met recently in Addis Ababa (Economic Commissino for Africa Headquarters) recently have agreed on broad coordinated actions to respond to the challenges posed to Africa by rising food and oil prices, the global financial crisis, climate change and agricultural subsidies in rich countries.
The agencies and organizations met from 21 to 22 October in the framework of the Regional Consultation Mechanism (RCM), which was established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 57/7 (A/RES/57/7), to coordinate the work of UN agencies and organizations in support of the African Union and its NEPAD programme.
The meeting was co-chaired by Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Jean Ping.
The organizations agreed that one of the critical reasons for the food insecurity in Africa was the displacement of the population due to conflicts and the reliance of refugees on food aid.
"To address this issue," they agreed, "Internally Displaced Populations and refugees should be given the opportunity to produce their own food especially when displacement takes a long period due to continued conflict."
The agencies and organizations called for the development of value chains around some strategic commodities as recommended by the Abuja Summit on Food Security. "The value chain approach provides the possibility for better collaboration among UN agencies and its various clusters which are aligned to the priorities of the African Union and its NEPAD programme," the agencies and organizations said in their Outcome Document.
The organizations resolved to improve their cooperation, harmonization and synergy and coherence, stating that these were central to the effectiveness of the operations of the cluster system of the RCM.
Effective implementation of cluster activities depends on the capacities of the various stakeholders, including regional and sub-regional institutions in Africa which have limited capacity to undertake complex and multifaceted activities, they said.
Accordingly, the organizations concluded that there was a "strong need for coordinated UN-wide support in the area of capacity-building of the key players in the continent, including at the levels of African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, NEPAD Secretariat, and other African organizations."
They called on all RCM clusters to work collectively to assist all stakeholders to build capacity. "Instead of individual efforts, the focus should be on joint efforts and how to support as 'One UN'," the agencies and organizations said.
They also agreed to support efforts to enhance the relationships between the UN and African regional and sub-regional organizations, and to strengthen the RCM Secretariat based at the ECA.