Progress Report on Preparations for and Follow-up to international and Regional Conferences and Programmes


1. This report is being submitted to the thirty-first session of the Commission pursuant to the need to apprise the Conference of Ministers responsible for economic and social development and planning on developments relating to the preparations for and follow-up to international and regional conferences and programmes that are dedicated to or relevant for Africa. Over the years, the member States of the Commis-sion have used the forum of the Conference to develop common positions for global conferences and share experiences on follow-up, including implementation of various regional and global programmes.

2. This report covers activities relating to the fourth World Conference on Women; the second United Nations Transport and Communications Decade in Africa (UNTACDA II); the second Industrial Develop-ment Decade for Africa (IDDA II); the Dakar/Ngor Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development; and the Addis Ababa Plan of Action for Statistical Development in the 1990s; preparations for the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT-II); the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for the 1990s; and the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF).

3. The report outlines developments concerning the various programmes and conferences since the last session of the Commission in May 1995, indicates the activities of the secretariat relating to the programmes and conferences, and highlights a number of issues on which the member States are required to take deci-sions to guide the activities of the secretariat in the implementation of the various programmes and action plans from the international conferences.


4. The fourth World Conference on Women which took place in Beijing, China from 4 to 15 September 1995 and the NGO Forum held from 30 August to 8 September 1995 were attended by some 50,000 women and men from all parts of the world and from different sectors - government, non-governmental organiza-tions (NGOs), the United Nations system and the media.

5. The Conference adopted a Global Platform for Action which provides guidelines on social, economic and political empowerment of women. It identified 12 critical areas of concern and spelled out actions which will enable full participation of women in the political, social and economic life of their countries, with special emphasis on the rights of the girl-child.

6. In Beijing, government representatives made commitments which included a better access to basic and higher education and the improvement of literacy rates for girls and women and improved health services for women. Programmes to combat poverty and the marginalization of women and to provide them with food security as well as measures to improve working conditions for women were also announced. Some countries underlined their intention to involve women in political decision-making at the local and national levels and some pledged to develop indicators to measure women's unremunerated work, which could then be computed in national accounts.

7. At the Conference, mobilization of new and additional resources was stressed as a key factor to the successful implementation of the Platform. In this connection, United Nations institutions made commit-ments to refocus their programmes and resources towards priorities identified in the Platform.

8. With regard to follow-up action, the Conference stressed that the primary responsibility for imple-mentation of the Platform lies with governments but NGOs, subregional, regional and international organiza-tions also have important roles to play. In this regard, governments are expected:

(a) Design plans of action for effective implementation of the Platform taking into account national realities;

(b) Mount information campaigns to sensitize policy-makers, development agents and various actors on the value of integrating women in the development process;

(c) Organize gender training programmes with a view to mobilizing the public and private sectors as well as the civil society around the issues of the Platform; and

(d) Mobilize resources to meet the needs of women and girls.

9. In the implementation process, particular efforts should be made by African countries, more especially sub-Saharan countries, where almost half of the population live in absolute poverty to fight against feminization of poverty. A three-fold policy was suggested by the Platform for Action, i.e.,

(a) Strengthen state and community-based support systems;

(b) Formulate and implement policies in support of female-headed households; and

(c) Revise laws and practices that limit disadvantaged women's access to ownership of land, credit, inheritance and appropriate technology.

10. Governments should also set up and/or strengthen national mechanisms responsible for promoting women's advancement and national committees for coordination and monitoring implementation of the Platform.

11. At subregional and regional levels, existing organizations are expected to assist and complement efforts made at national level. In this respect, ECA will, in its gender and development programme, give special attention to the following priority areas:

(a) Eradication of poverty and education;

(b) Improvment of the health of women and the girl-child;

(c) Protection of human and women's rights;

(d) Participation of women in politics, decision-making and democratization; and

(e) Participation of women in the peace process.

12. ECA intends to strengthen its gender database; develop closer working links with governmental and non-governmental institutions interested in gender issues; and closely monitor the implementation of the Platform for Action throughout the region. ECA will ensure mainstreaming of gender issues in all its sub-stantive programmes for a wider impact. Efforts will also be made to increase the percentage of women in the professional category and augment their number at high decision-making level.

13. At the global level, the United Nations Secretary-General has recently designated Mrs. Rosario Green, Under-Secretary-General as his Special Adviser on Gender Issues. The primary responsibility of the Special Adviser will be to monitor, in collaboration with the Division for the Advancement of Women, the implementation of the Platform for Action within the United Nations system. The Special Adviser will also ensure the inclusion of gender issues in United Nations policies and programmes as well as in United Nations relations with the civil society.

14. It should be emphasized that the Platform for Action is a comprehensive guide for accelerating the advancement of women. Its full implementation will require a strong commitment from all partners and concerted and coordinated efforts from the actors. But above all, women should play a key role in ensuring its implementation at every stage of the process.


15. The second United Nations Transport and Communications Decade in Africa (UNTACDA II) is a programme designed to mobilize all African countries and their relevant intergovernmental organizations, the United Nations system and external support agencies for a concerted action in the development of trans-port and communication systems in Africa over the last decade of this millennium. The programme provides a framework for all partners to coordinate their individual interventions and create an enabling environment in which their efforts would yield the best results.

16. The UNTACDA II programme was proclaimed following the expressed desire of African member States to continue the pursuit of the objectives of the first Decade which covered the period 1978-1988, and which was aimed at establishing an efficient integrated transport and communication system which would enable the physical integration of Africa, facilitate national and international traffic, foster intraregional trade and the achievement of self-sustaining economic development.

17. The preparation of this programme was based on the following principal objectives:

(a) Improvement of existing infrastructure and equipment through rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance programmes;

(b) Expansion of existing transport and communications systems through the execution of viable projects;

(c) Improvement of transport and communications operations through institutional and financial reforms, policy formulation, human resources development and improved management;

(d) Removal of non-physical barriers through harmonization and simplification of legislation and regulations;

(e) Development of manufacturing capabilities by promoting the establishment of multinational enterprises and industries; and

(f) Improvement of transport and communication services through the promotion of enterprises, liberalization of services and enabling framework for strengthening private sector contributions.

18. In order to increase the prospects of success of the Decade programme, the involvement of all interested parties in the preparation and implementation of the programme was achieved through the setting up of institutional mechanisms such as:

(a) National coordinating committees (NCCs);

(b) Subsectoral and subregional working groups (SRWGs); and

(c) "Advisory Committee for the Promotion of the UNTACDA II Programme (ACPP)" [formerly called Resource Mobilization Committee (RMC)].

A. Overview of programme implementation

19. Since its adoption in 1991, all concerned parties have made individual and collective efforts to carry out the actions defined for the achievement of the objectives of the programme. Notwithstanding such efforts, several problems have arisen that tended to impede progress in achieving rapid and positive results. The progress made at each level of programme implementation is indicated below.

(a) Country level

20. One of the most crucial activities undertaken by African countries was the creation of NCCs or other similar coordinating organs. Indeed, with the decision to embark on a second Decade programme, African countries resolved to set up and facilitate the functioning of NCCs as organs that should actively work in the preparation, implementation and follow up of the programme at national level. The creation and support of the NCC by each African country was to be taken as a sign of their commitment and seriousness to the common programme.

21. Besides the creation of NCCs, another responsibility entrusted to African member States was the formulation and implementation of priority projects responding to the objectives and strategies adopted. Most member States have prepared and are implementing projects which are in conformity with the objec-tives and strategies of the programme.

22. The implementation of the programme definitely requires increased human and financial resources. These requirements have constituted a major challenge to African countries. Indeed, most countries not only lack sufficient funds to implement the development programmes but also the necessary expertise, two factors which constitute major impediments to the success of UNTACDA II. As a consequence, many requests for financial and technical assistance have been directed to the lead agency (ECA).

23. Nevertheless, the financial difficulties experienced by most African countries did not prevent them from making great efforts in mobilizing funds for implementing their Decade projects. Indeed, most of the national projects have been partially funded by the countries themselves without external support.

24. As regards the creation of NCCs, it should be pointed out that not all countries have complied with that requirement. Only 40 NCCs have been established, out of which only eight were reported to be func-tioning in one form or another. The low number of well-functioning NCCs is partly due to the fact that most of them have not received adequate support from their governments and were consequently unable to carry out the tasks for which they were created.

25. An evaluation in early 1995 of the status of implementation of the programme showed that, out of the 544 national projects included in the first phase, 44 had been completed, 219 were fully or partially funded, 21 had been abandoned or were under review, and 100 had not received any financing. This situa-tion might have changed since February 1995. ECA will update this information by the end of 1996.

26. It may be concluded that, although not all the tasks envisaged for implementation of the entire UNTACDA II responsibilities at national level have been completely performed, serious efforts have been made and there is commitment in member States to implement the Decade programme. Assistance is there-fore needed to supplement efforts being made at national level.

(b) Subregional level

27. The important role of subregional economic integration organizations was properly recognized when the UNTACDA II programme was being formulated. Consequently, four subregional working groups were established initially to coordinate the preparation of the programme and subsequently to participate actively in its implementation in their respective subregions. The principal subregional economic integration organizations were designated to coordinate the activities in their respective subregions as follows: the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) for the Central African subregion; the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the West African subregion; the Preferential Trade Area for East and Southern African States [(PTA) - now the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African States (COMESA)] for the Eastern and Southern African subregion; and the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) for the North African subregion.

28. The subregional working groups were entrusted with the following responsibilities:

(a) Assess base-line regional/subregional transport and communication services and identify major systems and corridors, and thematic projects which involve activities for transport data, facilitation and human resources development;

(b) Analyze key issues and constraints to efficient service provision by regional systems and corridors;

(c) Recommend actions for the systems and corridors, i.e., policy, institutional, investment and development measures, etc.;

(d) Outline strategy and programme for main corridors and systems with set goals and targets;

(e) Identify significant ongoing projects and recommend additional projects under UNTACDA II by order of priority; and

(f) Develop subsectoral strategies.

29. Based on the findings and recommendations of the first mid-term evaluation of the programme, the tenth meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Transport and Communications requested that, in addition to the above activities, the IGOs should take an active part in the implementation of the programme by including all UNTACDA II activities which foster regional and subregional integration in their regular work programmes. Member States and IGOs were similarly required to involve the subregional and subsec-toral working groups in the preparation of regional action programmes in transport and communications and provide them with every assistance to enable them to participate effectively.

30. During the preparation of UNTACDA II, major emphasis was placed on the primary role that the subregional IGOs would play in coordinating and harmonizing projects and activities of subregional and regional impact. This was based on the premise that the subregional IGOs already have the mandate for har-monizing and coordinating regional development programmes within their respective subregions. It was only logical for the principal subregional IGOs to spearhead the coordination and harmonization of UNTACDA II activities as part of their normal work in the subregion.

31. There is substantial evidence that, while the subregional organizations accepted the principle and have the goodwill to support the Decade programme, their meagre or lack of resources has made it very difficult for them to fulfil their intentions and, as such, support is being conditional on the availability of additional financial and technical resources. As a consequence, the SRWGs have been unable to internalize fully the Decade programme as a framework for regional/subregional integration and their role in its coordination.

(c) Subsectoral level

32. The subsectoral working groups (SSWGs) were initially set up to assist in the preparation of the UNTACDA II programme. However, in May 1991, the Conference of African Ministers of Transport and Communications decided that the work of the groups should extend to the implementation phase of the pro-gramme with focus on:

(a) Dissemination of subsectoral strategies;

(b) Promotion of the UNTACDA II programme;

(c) Organization of seminars on subsectoral/modal policies;

(d) Strengthening existing or establishing new professional associations;

(e) Harmonization of projects and programmes; and

(f) Definition of appropriate parameters for monitoring/evaluation of the programme. By their nature, these activities cover both subregional and regional levels.

33. The evaluation found that, without exception, all the SSWGs did a good job during the preparatory phase, mainly because resources for all their activities were provided by ECA. However, during the imple-mentation phase, they have not been able to record significant accomplishments owing to lack of resources. Notwithstanding the decision of the Conference of African Ministers of Transport and Communications that the activities of the SSWGs be internalized by the member agencies and organizations, all the SSWGs had prepared work programmes on the assumption that additional resources would be provided for these activities. Thus, in the absence of such additional resources, the SSWGs were unable to carry out their UNTACDA II responsibilities.

(d) Regional/international level

34. At the regional/international level, responsibilities for various global activities of the Programme were assigned to:

(a) ECA as lead agency;

(b) The Inter-agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) as the highest technical body of the pro-gramme; and

(c) The Advisory Committee on Programme Promotion as an advisory body which reports to the IACC.

35. The IACC is the central technical organ of the Decade in which policy and technical strategies are discussed among the major Decade partners and communicated to the Conference of African Ministers of Transport and Communications for approval. It is the focal point at which technical information encompassing the perspectives and experiences of the various agencies and institutions involved in the Decade converge. In view of the fact that its membership includes all the relevant United Nations agencies, African IGOs and international organizations dealing with the development of transport and communications in Africa, the IACC is a reservoir of the latest and most valuable technical information and therefore plays a major role in the implementation of the programme. As such, its role is comparable to that of a clearing-house where all the major factors affecting the implementation of the programme are identified, critically analyzed and recommendations made to the Conference of African Ministers of Transport and Communications.

36. During the preparatory phase, ECA as lead agency was responsible for providing technical inputs to all activities and organs of the programme as well as coordinating and harmonizing the activities of the entire programme. Resources for all the activities were largely mobilized by ECA. In order to respond more effectively to the implementation of the programme, ECA has fully integrated it into its regular work programmes and organized the staff of the Transport, Communications and Tourism Division (TCTD) on modal and geographical basis, in addition to assignment of specific staff to UNTACDA II global activities.

37. The IACC has continued to meet biennially to review all aspects of programme policies and activities and make appropriate recommendations to the Conference of African Ministers of Transport and Communi-cations. The issues and policies which have been considered by the IACC have largely originated from the various subsectoral and subregional working groups, the ACPP (former RMC) and from ECA.

38. As the highest technical organ of the Decade, the work of the IACC has been fairly successful and has dealt with recommended solutions to problems which were referred to it by the other Decade organs i.e., the issue of resources mobilization, subsequent programme projects/phases, the next mid-term evaluation of the programme in 1997, closer collaboration with and assignment of tasks among various Decade partners at various levels.

39. It must be pointed out that since the IACC is an organ that depends on the work of other Decade suborgans and institutions for its work, the problems that have beset the basic organs such as the SSWGs, the SRWGs, the NCCs and ACPP have all tended to impede progress in programme implementation in general, irrespective of the efforts of the IACC.

(e) Resource mobilization

40. When the UNTACDA II programme was being formulated, the issue of resources for its implementa-tion at various levels was considered. It was agreed that the principal subregional organizations and agencies would regard Decade activities as an integral part of their routine work and, as such, would fund those activities within their regular budgets.

41. In order to cater for activities which were entirely outside and beyond their regular work pro-grammes, the RMC had been established to mobilize funds to assist Decade partners and organs to carry out such activities. The mandate and terms of reference of the RMC had clearly stated, that it was to assist Decade organs in the mobilization of resources.

42. The first mid-term evaluation of the programme indicated that the RMC had accomplished little of the objectives for which it was established and the tenth meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Transport and Communications transformed it into the Advisory Committee on Programme Promotion (ACPP), whose responsibilities have been limited to advising Decade organs on the modalities for mobilizing resources for their programmes and projects, rather than being required actually to mobilize resources as was the mandate of the RMC.

43. The evaluation noted that the general lack of technical and financial support from the Decade mechanism (i.e., RMC), coupled with the overall inherent weakness of the IGOs, has contributed to the poor result of programme implementation at the subregional level or, more specifically, by the SRWGs.

B. Existing problems and future prospects

44. The future prospects of UNTACDA II depend crucially on how well the problems that beset pro-gramme implementation now and in future are adequately resolved. The single most important problem which has influenced and adversely affected various aspects of the programme at all levels, has been and will continue to be the lack of financial resources.

45. Indeed, many activities and actions mandated in the past were not adequately carried out and are unlikely to be carried out due to financial resources constraints. It may be recalled that during its twenty-first meeting in 1995, the ECA Conference of Ministers adopted resolution 804 (XXX) in which responsi-bilities were assigned to the various Decade organs and partners for implementation.

46. The critical responsibilities/activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

(a) Member States to facilitate and encourage their NCCs by providing them with the necessary financial and human resources;

(b) Member States to coordinate and strengthen fund-raising efforts to be able to access regional IPFs, etc.;

(c) Member States and their IGOs to be actively involved in regional/subregional UNTACDA II activities;

(d) IGOs and United Nations agencies to support UNTACDA II activities;

(e) The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to increase its support for the programme;

(f) Donors, the World Bank, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP) and African financial institutions to increase their support and funding of Decade projects/programmes;

(g) ECA to disseminate systematically and promote the programme among its partners through workshops, seminars, symposia, etc; and

(h) The United Nations General Assembly to provide ECA with additional regular budget funds to enable it to implement the additional mandated activities.

47. The general situation of these activities is briefly as follows:

(a) Due to the difficult financial situation confronting them, most African countries have been unable to give substantial financial support to their NCCs or other national transport and communications coordinating organs;

(b) Member States and their IGOs have not improved their involvement in UNTACDA II regional/subregional activities, precisely because such involvements require financial resources;

(c) IGOs and United Nations agencies (with the exception of ECA) have not been able to fully take on the additional duties and responsibilities placed upon them as members, lead agencies, chairmen and members of the various Decade suborgans;

(d) Support in terms of funding UNTACDA II projects and programmes by donors, African financial institutions, etc., at the regional and subregional levels remains extremely weak, but somehow better at the national level, as indicated by the first mid-term evaluation;

(e) UNDP's agreement in principle to support the programme has not yet been translated into action despite ECA's submission of a programme support document (PSD) since May 1995; and

(f) Due to the United Nations financial crisis, the General Assembly was not only unable to provide resources but has revised the 1996-1997 UNTACDA programme by excluding the activities directly related to the dissemination of UNTACDA II, i.e., subregional workshops, seminars, symposia, etc.

48. In view of all these problems and the rather bleak prospects for their immediate solution, it is evident that unless new initiatives are taken, the implementation of the UNTACDA II programme will continue to be slow and unimpressive.

C. Actions/decisions by the Conference

49. The Conference is being requested to renew the mandate for the implementation of Decade activities which have been hindered by lack of financial resources. The activities, as outlined in the UNTACDA II Action Plan, 1995-1997, centre around:

(a) Human resources and institutional development (HRID): These include HRID projects; private sector participation in telecommunication development in Africa; restructuring parastatals and govern-ment institutions in the transport and communication fields; financing transport and communication sectors in Africa (commercialization of); and private sector participation in transport and communication operations in Africa.

(b) Regional cooperation: These include: subregional seminars on implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration on a new African air transport policy; assessment of the implementation of inter-national transit facilitation on selected corridors in Africa; regional cooperation among African ports; seminar on establishment of mechanism for cooperation in maintenance of inter-State inland waterways; trans-African highways; manufacture of transport and communication equipment; subregional (COMESA, ECCAS, ECOWAS) studies on coastal shipping; African postal transit centres;

(c) Management information systems: Activities planned include transport database for Africa; and African transport and communications in figures; and

(d) Seminars and workshops: The following activities are planned: Review of road safety activities in Africa; third African Road Safety Congress; forum on African transport; and subregional work-shops, seminars, etc., on implementation of UNTACDA II strategies.

50. Renewal of the mandate of the various Decade organs is absolutely necessary to carry out the activities which were approved in the regional action programme of the Decade by the tenth meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Transport and Communications. Consequently, the Conference is hereby requested to urge:

(a) African member States to provide all necessary support to their NCCs or other national coordinating organs so as to enable them to function more efficiently;

(b) Member States to show their commitment to the Decade programme by promoting and supporting subregional projects and programmes, as well as the institutions and organizations responsible for the implementation and/or coordination of UNTACDA II subregional actions;

(c) Member States clearly to designate or earmark their United Nations Trust Fund for African Development (UNTFAD) pledges or part thereof to the implementation of selected or general Decade activities;

(d) Financial institutions and agencies should be urged to step up their financing of projects in particular and support in general to the programme;

(e) UNDP to finalize urgently its consideration and approval of the programme support document which ECA submitted in mid-1995;

(f) All members of the SSWGs, SRWGs, ACPP and other permanent Decade organs should be requested to internalize fully the cost of their participation in the activities and work of the various Decade organs in which they are members;

(g) The United Nations General Assembly should be requested to reinstate in the ECA 1996-1997 biennial work programme the subregional and regional workshops, seminars, symposia, etc., which were designed to disseminate information on and promote the Decade in and outside the region. In this respect, ECA should ensure that the appropriate programme amendment is submitted to New York and that resources are made available within the regular budget for these activities; and

(h) The principal subregional IGOs, ECCAS, ECOWAS, AMU, COMESA and SSWG leaders. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) and the Union of African Railways (UAR) should ensure the regular and efficient functioning of their working groups and also provide ECA with the necessary information on the implementation and evaluation of progress in their respective areas.


51. By resolution 1 (XI), the eleventh meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Industry held in Port Louis, Mauritius from 31 May to 3 June 1993, requested the Director General of UNIDO and the Executive Secretary of ECA to report jointly on the progress made in the implementation of the programme of the second Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA II). Since the adoption of this resolution, ECA and UNIDO have undertaken a number of activities within the context of their respective work pro-grammes.

52. The present report covers the period since the twenty-ninth session of the Commission/twentieth meeting of the Conference of Ministers responsible for economic and social development and planning held in Addis Ababa, from 2 to 5 May 1994, whereby the Conference adopted resolution 780 (XXIX) on the pro-gramme for the second IDDA (1993-2002), resolution 781 (XXIX) on the development of the private sector for the accelerated implementation of the programme for the Second IDDA and beyond, and resolution 782 (XXIX) on the development of basic industries for the structural transformation of African economies.

53. Subsequently, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted resolution 1994/41 on the imple-mentation of the programme for the second IDDA which urged African countries to give priority to the mobilization of their own financial resources through increased domestic savings and better management of national resources for the financing and implementation of the programme for the second Decade and invited African countries and African development institutions to take necessary measures to create an enabling environment, conducive domestic, foreign, private and public industrial investment. In December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly considered at its forty-ninth regular session the programme for the second Industrial Development Decade for Africa on the basis of a joint progress report submitted by UNIDO and ECA and adopted resolution A/RES/49/107 on the programme.

54. The twelfth meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Industry, which was held in Gaborone, Botswana from 29 May to 8 June 1995, adopted resolution 1 (XII) on the implementation of the programme for the second IDDA (1993-2002); resolution 2 (XII) on mobilization of resources for industrialization in Africa; resolution 3 (XII) on the development of the private sector for industrialization in Africa; resolution 4 (XII) on the enhancement of women's contribution to the implementation of the programme for the second IDDA (1993-2002); resolution 5 (XII) on African common position for the sixth session of the General Conference of UNIDO; and the reaffirmation of the commitment of Ministers of Industry to implement the programme of the second IDDA: the Gaborone Declaration. The resolutions and the Gaborone Declaration are annexed to the present report.

55. Since the adoption of the above, ECA and UNIDO have undertaken several activities. These include:

(a) Ad hoc expert group meetings: Five ad hoc expert group meetings were organized during the period under review in order to give opportunity to high-level African experts to discuss, share their experience on specific topics and review the technical publications prepared by ECA;

(b) Technical publications: Within the context of the second IDDA, the ECA secretariat has pro-duced a number of technical publications during the period under review. In the field of industrial policies and planning, the thrust of ECA's activities was directed at assisting African countries in reformulating and redesigning national industrial policies and plans with a view to reorienting such policies and plans towards facilitating the implementation of the second Decade programme;

(c) Advisory services: ECA provided a number of advisory services to member States on the implementation of industrial free zones and of the second Decade programme. These included, inter alia, advisory services to: Ethiopia on energy consumption and production costs for Wonji Sugar Factory; Zimbabwe on diesel fuel development; Malawi on industrial development; and Angola on the development of micro small- and medium-scale industries.

A. Key issues connected with the implementation of the second IDDA programme

56. The key issues which still have to be focused on include:

(a) Private sectoral developments;

(b) Impact of the devaluation of the CFA franc on the industrial sector;

(c) Implications of the Uruguay Round Agreement on the industrial sector in Africa;

(d) Competitiveness; and

(e) Regional and subregional cooperation.

57. Cooperation, coordination and harmonization: UNIDO and ECA cooperated in the implementation of various activities. This included the organization of:

(a) Fifteenth meeting of the Joint Committee of the OAU, ECA and UNIDO Secretariat from 5 to 8 September 1994;

(b) Workshop on the participation of women in manufacturing: patterns, determinants and further trends, in Addis Ababa, on 16 and 17 August 1994;

(c) Twelfth meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Industry (CAMI), in Gaborone, Botswana from 29 May to 8 June 1995; and

(d) Private Sector Forum in Gaborone from 3 to 5 June 1995.

58. Activities undertaken jointly by ECA, OAU and other United Nations agencies and international organizations included:

(a) The secretariat participated actively in the meetings of the Joint OAU/ECA/ADB Secretariat in 1994 and 1995;

(b) ECA and ILO organized a meeting on a study of macro-policy framework for small-scale industries in Addis Ababa; and

(c) ECA further strengthened its relations with various international institutions such as World Assembly of Small and Medium Enterprises (WASME) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

59. The implementation of the programme for the second IDDA remains the primary responsibility of member States. Therefore they should endeavour to reflect the Decade programme in their respective national plans and mobilize more domestic resources for the implementation of the Decade.


60. The Addis Ababa Plan of Action for Statistical Development in Africa in the 1990s, adopted in May 1990, by the ECA Conference of Ministers responsible for economic development and planing, is based on three cardinal principles:

(a) The central role of an improved statistical system in economic and social development;

(b) The key role of ECA in the development and promotion of statistics in Africa without pre-judice to the important role of other agencies and donors; and

(c) The need for coordinating the support provided by international agencies and donors.

61. Following the report of the twenty-ninth session of the Commission/twentieth meeting of the Con-ference of Ministers on the Implementation of the Addis Ababa Plan of Action for Statistical Development in Africa in the 1990s (E/ECA/CM.20/22), the present report is meant to give an update on the progress of implementation as required by the Commission resolution 734 (XXVII).

62. As a first step towards implementation of the Plan of Action, 10 African countries have conducted needs assessment or programme review exercises to find out current and future data needs. Follow-up actions on the exercise include submission of recommendations to government, establishment of commit-tees/task forces, preparation of statistical development plans, revision of statistical statutes, organization of donor meetings, etc.

63. At its fifth session in March 1988, the Joint Conference of African Planners, Statisticians and Demographers expressed concern about the decline in the quality and quantity of African statistical pro-duction towards the end of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s, and requested that detailed assessments of national statistical capacities be undertaken. In compliance, ECA conducted such assessments in 32 African countries during 1988 and 1989 under a World Bank/ECA/UNDP project entitled "Data collection related to development programmes and aid flows in Africa". This resulted in the adoption of the Addis Ababa Plan of Action for Statistical Development in Africa in the 1990s. The strategy for implementation of the Plan was adopted by the twenty-seventh session of the Commission/eighteenth meeting of the Conference of Ministers. At the same time, the Conference, in its resolution 734 (XXVII) requested the Executive Secretary to report every two years on the progress in the implementation of the Plan of Action.

64. The strategy document describes some of the main steps that should be taken to ensure that the Plan is implemented. A brief account of the actions/activities undertaken during the last two years is given in the subsequent paragraphs.

A. Implementation of the Plan of Action

1. At national level

65. The Strategy urges member States, as first step towards implementation of the Plan of Action, to conduct needs assessment or programme review and strategy development (NASD) exercises to find out what the current and future data needs of primary users of statistics are likely to be; establish statistical priorities, and put in place mechanisms to rehabilitate national statistical capacity.

66. At the time of preparation of this report, information on the NASD exercise was available for 21 African countries. Indications were that 9 of the 21 countries have plans to undertake the exercise in 1996 or 1997. One country did not envisage conducting the exercise in the near future, while another country was not sure when it would conduct the exercise. For the remaining 10 countries, the exercise had been carried out to varying degrees, i.e., quite comprehensively and with or without external donor support, or on a limited scale; in all cases, with government support.

67. The objectives of these exercises have included:

(a) Developing statistical development plans;

(b) Promoting links between users and producers of statistics;

(c) Determining institutional strengths and weaknesses;

(d) Assessing the level and diversity of statistical production, and data gaps;

(e) Reversing the supply- to demand-driven production of statistical data; and

(f) Improving coordination of statistical activities; etc.

68. Recommendations which have emanated from the exercises cover a number of areas such as:

(a) The need to review methodologies for statistical operations;

(b) The need to review the legal framework for statistical activities i.e., the Statistics Act/Decree to make it more relevant and operational;

(c) Reduction of the prevalent high degree of duplication of statistical production in some countries;

(d) Improvement of funding for statistical operations;

(e) Improvement in the timeliness of delivery of statistical outputs;

(f) Formation of national committees of statistics; and

(g) Creation of semi-autonomous statistical bureau; etc.

69. Follow-up actions have taken different forms. For a number of countries, the NASD report has been submitted to government for consideration/approval. In others, committees/task forces have been established to monitor implementation of the recommendations. And still in some countries, statistical development plans are being prepared, statistical statutes revised, and meetings with donors to seek assistance for statis-tical development taking place.

2. At regional level

70. African Statistics Day, 18 November, is now celebrated by ECA member States in order to increase public awareness for the important role which statistics play in all aspects of social and economic life.

71. The Coordinating Committee on African Statistical Development (CASD), established in March 1992, held its sixth meeting on 8 and 9 March 1996 just before the ninth session of the Conference of African Planners, Statisticians, Population and Information Specialists (11-16 March). CASD meetings are usually preceded by those of the CASD Sub-committees on: Training [Convenor: The Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat) and the United Kingdom Overseas Development Administration (ODA)]; Research, Methods and Standards [Convenor: United Nations Statistical Division]; Data Processing (Convenor: Statistics Sweden); and Organization and Management of National Statistical Systems (Convenors: ECA and the World Bank).

72. Highlights of the activities of the CASD and its Sub-committees since 1992 include the following publications which have been widely disseminated:

(a) Focusing statistical training in Africa;

(b) Guidelines for needs assessment and strategy development;

(c) Statistical needs assessment and planning: A review of approaches and current practices;

(d) Regional survey of statistical organization and training: Results of the pilot analysis;

(e) Framework for monitoring statistical development in Africa; and

(f) Directory on Electronic Data Processing Capacity in Africa.

73. With regard to the CASD, the following are among the views that have recently been expressed:

(a) Its terms of reference should be amended and strengthened;

(b) There was an overemphasis on donors and not enough on CASD's contribution to the implementation of the Plan of Action;

(c) The early work of the Sub-committees concentrated on intellectual issues while emphasis is now on implementation of specific activities; and

(d) The Sub-committees could be abolished and replaced by task forces with limited life for specific tasks.

74. The CASD secretariat, located in the ECA Statistics Division, reports to the Conference of African Planners, Statisticians and Population and Information Specialists on the work of the CASD. Although the activities involved in managing the secretariat have been integrated into the ECA regular budget, funds for implementation of CASD activities are usually not available.

3. At global level

75. The AFRISTAT Foundation has been established within the framework of the Plan of Action. Afristat (an economic and statistical "observatory" for sub-Saharan Africa) is an international organization created by treaty of 21 September 1993 by the 14 African members of the franc zone. The objective is to promote the development of economic analysis and continuous training of statisticians in member countries. Membership of Afristat, whose headquarters is in Bamako, Mali, is open to all sub-Saharan African countries.

76. STATCAP is a World Bank initiative for assisting African countries to implement the Plan of Action. First conceived as a global statistical development initiative, STATCAP is now being implemented on a sectoral basis.

77. It should be mentioned that recent developments in some multilateral institutions have meant that technical cooperation missions have been taking a wider look at statistical issues than previously was the case.

78. A report has been issued on the findings of a survey among national statistical offices/agencies on statistical research activities in Africa. The survey shows that the following activities are in progress:

(a) Survey of aid for training, i.e., donor assistance;

(b) Survey of statistical training schools with the objective of identifying problems being faced and proposing practical solutions;

(c) Subsidies as applied to statistical training; and

(d) Dissemination of training information.

79. It is evident from the account of the activities undertaken or being undertaken with regard to the implementation of the Plan of Action that some progress has been made. However, there is need for addi-tional resources if the implementation process is to be accelerated. The need for comprehensive, relevant and timely statistical data on African countries is imperative and urgent, not only for planning and decision-making but also for monitoring and evaluation of plans and programmes.

B. Action by the Conference

80. The Conference of Ministers is invited to make comments and suggestions on progress made so far in implementing the Addis Ababa Plan of Action for Statistical Development in Africa in the 1990s and to provide guidance for future actions in the light of this report, with particular reference to the need to reiterate the appeal, to member States which have not already done so, to take necessary action to set up, as soon as possible, needs assessment and strategy development (NASD) teams to identify needs and priorities of the national statistical system.


81. The second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 3 to 14 June 1996 and the twentieth anniversary of the first Habitat Conference in Vancouver in 1976. Habitat II received its impetus from the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and General Assembly resolution 47/180. The major document resulting from the Conference will be the "Statement of Principles and Commitments and the Global Plan of Action - Habitat Agenda".

82. In accordance with the decision of the first substantive session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom I) for Habitat II (April 1994, Geneva), ECA continues to play a central role in Africa in the preparatory process. Since the last session of the Commission, the following meetings were convened in collaboration with UNCHS (Habitat) and OAU:

(a) Subregional Ministerial Meeting for Central Africa on Preparations for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Brazzaville, Congo, 10-12 April 1995); and

(b) Second Special Meeting of African Ministers responsible for Human Settlements, Preparatory to the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Johannesburg, South Africa, 16-18 October 1995).

83. The purpose of these above meetings was to prepare the ground work for a continent-wide position on human settlements for Istanbul. The last meeting was the crowning event in the preparatory process to negotiate a consolidated regional position which ensured that Africa's concerns were fully reflected in Habitat II's Global Plan of Action. Towards this end, the meeting adopted a Declaration embodying a common African position on key issues of interest to the region. ECA provided substantial services, including secretarial support and interpretation during the meeting. A presentation on the preparation of a Continental Shelter Atlas was made by ECA and Shelter Afrique in slides format.

84. In the Declaration, the Ministers recognized the critical problems common to human settlements in the region; namely inadequate shelter, lack of proper maintenance of urban infrastructure and services, poor sanitation, unemployment and poverty. They evinced awareness of the circumstances giving rise to these conditions, including social and political conflicts and instability, wars, external debt burdens, natural disasters, drought and desertification, population pressures, and an unfavourable macroeconomic climate.

85. The Ministers stressed the necessity of devoting human and financial resources to implement the Habitat Agenda in Africa through effective planning and management of shelter and human settlements by adopting strategies for implementation that emphasize capacity building, enablement and regional and international cooperation.

86. The Declaration also:

(a) Underscored the critical need for government at all levels to create an enabling environment and promote strategies, especially through legislative reform and institution-building/strengthening in the land and housing sector;

(b) Pledged to put in place practical measures as well as needed economic and financial actions to facilitate and support the efforts of all concerned in the housing process to ensure increased production, supply and accessibility of shelter for all segments of the population, especially the poor;

(c) Emphasized the importance of rural-urban development balance and stressed the necessity of planning of sustainable human settlements;

(d) Urged their governments to strengthen administrative and revenue-generation capacity at all levels of government through policies and legislation and ensure greater and more effective decentralization of power and responsibilities to local authorities;

(e) Decided to revise as necessary legal and regulatory systems of land administration and management and give priority to land-tenure reforms; and

(f) Urged their governments to undertake urgent design and implementation of innovative financial mechanisms as well as strengthening the existing ones.

A. ECA as coordinator of the regional commissions

87. The second substantive session of the PrepCom, held in Nairobi, Kenya from 24 April to 5 May 1995, reviewed national, regional and international preparations for the Conference, considered the draft Statement of Principles and Commitments and the Global Plan of Action, and made arrangements for PrepCom III. Unfortunately, PrepCom II failed to decide on the approach, main elements and outline of the major document of the Istanbul Conference: Draft Statement of Principles and Commitments, and the Global Plan of Action. Therefore, it was decided to continue with the drafting and review of the above documents during the intersessional period in an open-ended informal group with the identical representation of the 15-member core group.

88. Accordingly, the open-ended informal drafting group held its first intersessional meeting at the United Nations office in Nairobi from 17 to 21 July 1995 to continue with the review and drafting of the documents. Pursuant to sub-paragraph (b) of Decision II/8 of the Preparatory Committee, the draft of which was prepared by the Informal Drafting Group at this session was circulated to all member States for comments.

89. The second meeting of the Informal Drafting Group was held in Paris from 9 to 13 October 1995 during which the draft was further reviewed in the light of comments which had been received from governments, United Nations bodies, IGOs and other contributors. With regard to chapter ? of the draft of the Global Plan of Action, which are relevant to international cooperation and coordination, they had neither been discussed or were deferred by the Group to the PrepCom III. In view of the above, the Secretary-General of the Conference was requested to present to PrepCom III a report proposing "suitable and cost-effective coordination and cooperation mechanisms for the full participation of United Nations agencies in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda to be prepared in close consultation with all relevant partners within the United Nations system".

90. As coordinator of the regional commissions in regional preparations for the Habitat II Conference, ECA prepared, in consultation with Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), Economic and Social Com-mission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA):

(a) "Note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the regional commissions on the preparations for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) at the regional level" (document A/50/411); and

(b) "Comments on Interim Draft Global Plan of Action" - the common regional position which envisages a role for the regional commissions in promoting the implementation of the outcomes of the Con-ference at national and regional levels and in monitoring the national and regional plans of action and report-ing to ECOSOC. The common regional position was incorporated in the documentation of PrepCom III.

91. On 5 February 1996, the United Nations Secretary-General opened PrepCom III with a call on the participants to be "creative, imaginative and practical". He emphasized the need to produce a document that is vital and vibrant, a living document, that not only shows the way but provides realistic and attainable goals to which all nations can subscribe and which all cities can implement.

B. Outcome of PrepCom III

92. PrepCom III took note of the progress report of the Secretary-General of the Conference on the activities of the Conference secretariat and adopted a decision on individual statements of priorities and commitments in conjunction with the Conference which envisages that:

(a) Participating States should be invited to make specific statements of national priorities and commitments at or in conjunction with the Conference;

(b) States should be invited to include in these statements a list of specific actions which, in pursuance of the Habitat Agenda, they will take by the year 2000; and

(c) Organizations of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental institutions should also be invited to make their own statements of priorities and commitments, including specific action to be taken by them by the year 2000.

93. PrepCom III adopted, with some paragraphs in brackets, the following sections of the draft Habitat Agenda: Preamble, Goals and Principles, Strategies for Implementation of the draft Habitat Agenda (Adequate shelter for all and Sustainable human settlements development).

94. Because of long-negotiating process on other issues, Section D of the document (Capacity-building and institutional development) was not discussed. The major disagreement concerned many paragraphs of Section E (International cooperation and coordination) where countries had not agreed on the translation of the commitments of Habitat II into financial implications. Section F (Implementation and follow-up to the Global Plan of Action) was bracketed because developed countries clearly want the implementation and follow-up to be handled as an Agenda 21 topic, while developing countries are intent on Habitat implementation as a stand-alone function.

95. In general, PrepCom III was adjourned without completing work on the Global Plan of Action, delegating that task to the Istanbul Conference.

96. The African States made all efforts to participate actively in PrepCom III. Their common position on the Draft Statement of Principles and Commitments and the Global Plan of Action was reflected in many paragraphs of the above document. Every effort should be made by African countries to incorporate this common African position in the major document during the Istanbul Conference.

C. Follow-up actions after PrepCom III

97. ECA, as coordinator, will facilitate discussions with other regional commissions on contentious issues symbolized by any bracketed text after PrepCom III so as to ensure that the collective views of African States will be reflected in the Conference itself and in its recommendations.

98. In order that ECA may better prepare its statement of priorities and commitments, including specific action to be taken by the year 2000, it is essential that member States should make available to the Commis-sion a copy of their specific statements of national priorities and commitments at or in conjunction with the Conference, including a list of specific actions which, in pursuance of the Habitat Agenda, they will take by the year 2000.

99. In the time remaining before Istanbul, a priority for ECA as coordinator of all regional commissions relates to identifying a common position on issues of inter-agency coordination which could be effectively used for furthering the objectives of the Conference and the implementation of the Habitat Agenda at the regional level.