EU and UNDP discuss challenges and priorities for regional action in Central AfricaApr 21, 2016
Libreville – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) held a policy dialogue today with the participation of the principal regional organizations for Central Africa - the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). The dialogue focused on key security, stabilization and development challenges and priorities in Central Africa, as well as the actions needed to deliver on effective regional level response, led locally and supported by the international community.
Persistent insecurity, combined with political and economic obstacles to regional integration, has had profound effects on Central Africa’s development. Efforts in building lasting peace have been affected by repeated and continuing bouts of violence in the sub-region. Despite vast mineral and other natural resource wealth, Central Africa scores at, or close to, the bottom of global development indices – recording the highest incidence of poverty among all African blocs, according to 2014 UNDP data. Central Africa is the sub-region that has advanced the least with regard to the regional integration agenda laid out in the AU’s Vision 2063: Unity, Prosperity and Peace.
“Building more peaceful, inclusive and resilient countries is key to achieving the long-term sustainable development in the Central Africa region. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our guide to ending poverty and building stable societies on a healthy planet. We will continue working closely with the European Union, ECCAS and CEMAC to build a future of dignity where no one is left behind”, said Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Deputy Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa.
The participants in the policy dialogue discussed a series of recommendations which aim at encouraged and enhanced ownership by the Central Africa region to advance development, ensure stability and peace, and greater citizens’ voice and participation.
“Both ECCAS and CEMAC are important long-term partners of the EU,” said Carla MONTESI, European Commission Director for West and Central Africa. “The European Union is itself in the business of regional integration, and deeply attached to supporting similar processes in Africa. For these processes to succeed they need to be led by Central African organizations themselves with clear goals and priorities, and with strong and resilient institutions. Today's discussions allowed some valuable fresh thinking to emerge and will be helpful to all stakeholders in the integration process. With this in mind I want to reiterate the European Union's commitment to support the reinforcement of these institutions to ensure they have a viable future”.
UNDP and the EU are partnering in 140 countries to deepen democratic governance, prevent or help countries recover from conflict and natural disasters, build resilience, and adapt to climate change.
In Central Africa, the EU-UNDP partnership provides electoral assistance by strengthening national capacities to carry out free and fair elections, and promoting women’s participation as both voters and candidates. The ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme, implemented by UNDP, is working in five Central African countries to support the mining and materials sector through knowledge exchange to increase the sector’s productivity, help better manage mining operations to adhere to national and international environmental and health standards, and prevent conflict through effective community relations.
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Igniacio SOBRINO CASTELLO, Political Advisor, Ignacio.SOBRINO-CASTELLO@eeas.europa.eu