Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s regional commissions, ECA’s mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member states, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.
Made up of 54 member states, and plying a dual role as regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape, ECA is well positioned to make unique contributions to address the continent’s development challenges.
ECA’s Modus Operandi
ECAs strength derives from its role as the only UN agency mandated to operate at the regional and sub-regional levels to harness resources and bring them to bear on Arica’s priorities.
To enhance its impact, ECA places a special focus on collecting up to date and original regional statistics in order to ground its policy research and advocacy on clear objective evidence; promoting policy consensus; providing advisory services in key thematic fields. ECA’s thematic areas of focus are as follows:
Regional integration and Trade
Innovation and Technology
ECA also provides technical advisory services to African governments, inter-governmental organizations and institutions. In addition, it formulates and promotes development assistant programmes and acts as the executing agency for relevant operational projects.
Specialized regional advisory services and meaningful capacity development support to member states is provided in the following priority:
Promotion of industrialization
Design and Implementation of macroeconomic policy
Design and articulation of development planning
Supporting mineral resources contract negotiations
Promoting the proper management of natural resources for Africa’s transformation
ECA’s Organizational Structure
ECA is headed by an Executive Secretary, who is assisted by two Deputy Executive Secretaries. Its work programme is supported by two pillars: knowledge generation and knowledge delivery. There are five substantive divisions responsible for policy research:
Regional Integration and Trade
Social Policy Development
Special Initiatives and,
The African Centre for Statistics.
The Capacity Development Division, IDEP (ECA’s training arm), the Division of Administration and ECA’s Sub-regional Offices in Rabat, Niamey, Yaounde, Kigali and Lusaka comprise the knowledge delivery pillar.
Knowledge generation and knowledge delivery at the ECA are underpinned by the Strategic Planning and Operational Quality Division and the Public information and Knowledge Management Division. The ECA Partnerships Office and the Joint Secretariat Support Office of the ECA, African Union Commission and African Development Bank (AfDB); complement the work of the substantive divisions.
ECA’s policy work aims to shape Africa’s transformation by supporting a growth path which addresses the vulnerabilities that impact on people’s lives.
Celebrating UNEP Baobab Awards
The UNEP Baobab Awards is organized as a yearly event to celebrate the dedication and achievements of its staff. This year’s event which held on the 13th of June in Nairobi, Kenya, continue the tradition established in 2007 by the outgoing Executive, Achim Steiner, to recognize and reward exceptional performance and dedication to achieving the goals of United Nations Environment Programme.
It takes its name after the baobab tree, which symbolizes strength, power and resilience. The programme is an initiative within the framework of the wider human resources management reforms. It provides staff members with an opportunity to express their appreciation for the achievements of their colleagues and for the cooperation and support they have received from their peers and managers by nominating the awardees for a UNEP Baobab Awards.
The award seeks to recognize staff who exhibit outstanding examples of professional and personal commitment to UNEP and the global environment.
Winners of the Baobab 2016 awards were named on June 13, at a ceremony which was presided over by Mr. Steiner. This year, the awards had five categories namely: Environmental Service Award, Managerial Service Award, Outstanding Team Award, Programme Innovation Award and Support Service Award.
Dr. Richard Munang, Regional Climate Change Programme Coordinator in Africa, was the sole winner in the Programme Innovation Award category. He won the award for spearheading the creation of the Africa Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), an innovative regional policy framework to harmonize, in a participatory way, policy and implementation actions toward up-scaling solutions in EBA-driven agriculture and value chains, to achieve EBA policy integration and concrete implementation through country driven processes and institutions.
Established just under a year ago, EBAFOSA has already been launched in seven countries and more are expected to follow suit.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Munang thanked the UNEP staff for nominating him and said he was very humbled to be recognized and honoured with the award. He added that the project’s achievements are the result of excellent teamwork, hence expressed his appreciation for his colleagues for their continuous support and contribution in making the project a reality.