Progress Report on Programme Evaluation (Biennium 1994-1995)


1. In 1993, the ECA Conference of Ministers considered and endorsed an agenda for programme evaluation in ECA for the Medium-term Plan (MTP) period 1992-1997 (see annex).

2. In accordance with that agenda and in line with United Nations policies on programme evaluation, all subprogrammes were scheduled to be evaluated at least once during the period of the MTP. Six sub-programmes were evaluated during the biennium 1992-1993. These subprogrammes were, part of the 21 subprogrammes originally established at the inception of the MTP, for 1992-1997 and which were subse-quently merged into 9 subprogrammes in 1994 in the subsequent revision of the Plan.

3. The results of and follow-up to the evaluations undertaken during the 1992-1993 biennium were reported to the ECA Conference of Ministers in 1994 and 1995, in documents E/ECA/CM.20/27 and ECA/CM.21/13 respectively.

4. The purpose of the present document is to bring to the attention of the ECA Conference of Ministers the results of programme evaluation studies undertaken during the biennium 1994-1995, relating to the following subprogrammes:

Subprogramme 2: Trade, regional economic cooperation and integration; Subprogramme 3: Poverty alleviation through sustainable development; Subprogramme 5: Human resources development and social transformation; Subprogramme 7: Natural resources and energy development; and Subprogramme 9: Women in development. 5. All studies, except that on subprogramme 7, were undertaken in the form of self-evaluations by the programme managers concerned. The study on natural resources and energy development was undertaken in the form of an in-depth evaluation in response to Commission resolution 776 (XXIX) of 4 May 1994 on "Development and strengthening of the Economic Commission for Africa's programme activities in the field of natural resources, energy and marine affairs". 6. In view of its direct relevance to ECA's programme of work, the present report also covers the report of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on "Evaluation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Develop-ment of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF)".

7. The Conference may wish to formulate relevant recommendations, as appropriate, on the course of action emanating from the findings and conclusions of the evaluation studies.


8. Self-evaluations are an integral part of the effort of the secretariat to enhance and strengthen monitoring and evaluation of its work programme. The findings and conclusions of the relevant studies are expected to guide and inspire the implementation of the concerned activities. 9. Information on ECA's self-evaluation studies for the 1994-1995 biennium will also be included in the Secretary-General's biennial report, in 1996, on programme evaluation to the United Nations General Assembly.

10. The following is a summary of the self-evaluation studies undertaken during the biennium.(1)


A. Major thrust, activities and results

11. The subprogramme was created in the revised Medium-term Plan, for the period 1992-1997, from the merger of three former subprogrammes, namely:

(a) Economic cooperation and integration;

(b) Trade development and cooperation; and

(c) Tourism. 12. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, ECA has increased its emphasis on economic cooperation and integration. A number of steps were taken to enhance the impact of the programme. These included:

(a) A relatively small yet significant increase in the 1994-1995 budget appropriation for the subprogramme over the previous biennium (about 12 per cent);

(b) A new programme design;

(c) The introduction of a refocused strategy for implementation; and (d) Reorientation and strengthening of the Multinational Programming and Operational Centres (MULPOCs). 13. The particular concerns about the MULPOCs falls in line with the recommendations made by the Secretary-General in the context of the in-depth evaluation of the "Development issues and policies programme of the Economic Commission for Africa" which, inter alia, focused on the MULPOCs (the report of the Triennial review of this in-depth evaluation was submitted to the Conference in 1994, in document E/AC.51/1994/5). 14. During the biennium, the subprogramme focused essentially on: (a) Strengthening regional economic communities both at the institutional and sectoral levels with emphasis on the rationalization, harmonization and coordination of their activities; (b) Revitalizing African domestic and external trade; and

(c) Enhancing Africa's participation in major international negotiations with regard to money, finance and trade. 15. Efforts made to use major conferences and meetings as platforms for discussing critical issues evolv-ing from current global economic developments are exemplified by the technical documentation and/or resolutions adopted in that regard, such as "The problem of financing development in Africa" and "Impact of devaluation on the African framework for the implementation of the Uruguay Agreements by African countries". 16. The issues of rationalizing and strengthening the regional economic communities and the other inter-governmental organizations (IGOs) continued to receive priority attention. To that end, proposals on a new approach for the rationalization and harmonization of regional groupings and detailed feasibility studies on the rationalization of ECA-sponsored institutions were presented for discussion at the Commission's annual sessions in 1994 and 1995. Although progress in this area has been rather slow, it was noted that member States were increasingly aware of the need to rationalize existing institutions. A United Nations Develop-ment Programme (UNDP)-funded project is being launched to cater for the resources required for furthering the rationalization and harmonization of programmes with regard to regional groupings and technical centres.

17. In addition to statutory conferences, a number of meetings were added at the initiative of the secretariat. Among these was the international Conference on the Uruguay Round Multilateral Trade Negotiations, held in Tunis in October 1994 which led to the adoption of the "Framework for action for technical assistance to African countries within the framework of the implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements".

18. The subprogramme issued several studies and reports during the period. These included 43 parlia-mentary reports, 11 recurrent publications and 30 non-recurrent publications.

19. While some of the non-recurrent publications dealt with trade issues, such as the prospects and problems of expanding South-South trade cooperation, others dealt, inter alia, with the international commodity market mechanisms and its impact on the African countries; trade liberalization of domestically produced goods in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) subregions; and financial institutions in the mobilization of resources for development.

20. Another significant development was putting a greater focus on the specific needs of the subregions covered by the five MULPOCs. Previous assessments and evaluations had stressed the need to "focus the activities of the MULPOCS on the rationalization of subregional groupings and their programmes, with due attention to country objectives, as well as regional strategies, taking into account the first phase of the implementation of the Abuja Treaty ...". During the biennium, the activities of the MULPOCs were closely streamlined with the priorities of each subregion.

21. Technical assistance to member States was mainly focused on providing advisory services to the regional economic communities and IGOs on ways and means of furthering economic cooperation and inte-gration. In this regard, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Preferential Trade Area of Eastern and Southern Africa/Common Market for East and Southern Africa (PTA/COMESA) and the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) benefitted from ECA's technical assistance in such critical areas as monetary and financial, economic and organizational issues.

22. Implementation of programmed technical assistance activities was hindered by the expected shortfall in extrabudgetary resources. Nonetheless, the following field projects were carried out: Coastal shipping in Western and Central Africa [$US 204,000 funded from the United Nations Trust Fund for African Development (UNTFAD)]; development of maize research network and rural development support com-munications [Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) funds in conjunction with the former Joint ECA/FAO Agriculture Division]; Eastern and Southern African Development Information System (ESADIS) (funded by the Government of Zambia); and reinforcement of the ECOWAS secretariat ($128,489 funded by UNTFAD).

23. Cooperation was intensified with other organizations and partners, in particular, as regards the operationalization of the Abuja Treaty which entered into force in May 1994. The Joint OAU/ECA/ADB Secretariat launched a programme for resource mobilization in support of the activities of the African Economic Community, which resulted in the approval by UNDP of a $1.9 million project. Concrete steps were taken to enhance the role of the regional economic communities in implementing the provisions of the Treaty by, inter alia, revising the draft protocol on the relationship between the Community and the regional economic communities and the preparation of a framework and terms of reference for a comprehensive feasibility study to be carried out on self-financing mechanisms for the regional economic communities.

24. On the whole, the subprogramme has shown tangible signs of efficiency and impact. By December 1995, the overall implementation rate was 95 per cent although the delivery rate was extremely low in 1994 (16 per cent). However, in the course of implementation during the biennium, problems and difficulties emerged in several areas. These problems were mainly related to general managerial and administrative issues. Inability to fill vacant posts was also detrimental to the subprogramme.

25. Cooperation between the subprogramme and the ECA Multidisciplinary Regional Advisory Group (ECA-MRAG) focused on river basin development (Niger River Basin Authority) and key sectoral studies (energy in North Africa, etc.).

B. Findings and conclusions

26. The following are the findings and conclusions of the evaluations:

(a) The objectives of the subprogramme addressed key issues which are directly relevant to the expressed needs of member States and their IGOs in the field of trade, regional economic cooperation and integration;

(b) The quantity and quality of activities and outputs was satisfactory. They were relevant to the subprogramme's objectives and were delivered in a well-conceived strategic framework combining in a balanced fashion, parliamentary services, research and analysis and operational activities;

(c) There has been an increasing awareness of the need to sharpen the subprogramme's focus at the subregional level and design plans for effective programme coordination between headquarters and the MULPOCs. This has now been clearly spelt out in ECA's new strategic directions and is expected to be translated at the programme level in the Medium-term Plan and related programme-budgets;

(d) The subprogramme was, nonetheless, negatively affected, to some extent, by a high vacancy rate, inadequate resources at the MULPOC level and delay in the restructuring of the Commission which resulted in difficulties in coordinating the subprogramme;

(e) The lack of extrabudgetary resources and the increasing incapacity of member States to mobilize domestic resources have undermined the implementation of studies and subjects which the sub-programme had prepared for that purpose;

(f) There is increasing evidence that the linkage between national and regional programmes is unsatisfactory and has a negative impact on regional economic integration. Efforts are under way in reinforcing the advisory services of the secretariat to assist member States in their efforts to develop the necessary institutional framework and procedures to make this linkage effective;

(g) Events in Rwanda, Burundi and Zaire have adversely affected programme delivery in the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) area.

C. Recommendations

27. The following recommendations have been made:

(a) The programme focus should be sharpened and more use should be made of the multidisciplinary approaches in dealing with issues of regional integration. This should result in focusing the activities of the subprogramme on precise objectives and targets. This should be fully taken into account in the implementation of the ongoing 1996-1997 programme-budget, and in the next Medium-term Plan.

(b) The MULPOCs should be reorganized in such a way as to reflect the prioritization of development objectives by subregion. Additional required resources should be decentralized from ECA headquarters accordingly;

(c) The member States of the Commission should ensure that linkages between national development objectives and subregional and regional priorities be duly reflected in country strategy notes;

(d) ECA should strive to obtain more extrabudgetary resources for its programme on regional cooperation and integration, especially from UNDP during the Sixth Regional Programming Cycle (1998-2003).


A. Major thrust, activities and results

28. In the revised Medium-term Plan for the period 1992-1997 and in the subsequent formulation of the 1994-1995 programme-budget, this subprogramme emerged as one of the most ambitious within the ECA work programme, with the long-term twin goals of poverty alleviation and sustainable development. The subprogramme encompasses the cluster of issues which were the following previously stand-alone subpro-grammes: Agriculture and rural development; Marine affairs (non-living resources); Environment and development; Human settlements; and Population.

29. The integrated treatment of these issues in a "nexus", was based on the fundamental premise that food, shelter, environment and population are inextricably interconnected issues for human survival and are essential elements for addressing the basic question of poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

30. Thus, the strategic approach to meet the objectives of the subprogramme was to assist member States in designing appropriate policies in the areas of food supply, population, human settlements and environ-ment, it being understood that all other activities of the Commission were expected to contribute in their respective fields to the attainment of poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

31. In implementing the subprogramme, efforts were made in each sector to reach the targets and goals established for the biennium. Activities in food and agriculture were essentially focused on enhancing the capacity of African countries in food security policy analysis and programming and sensitizing decision makers to the need to improve food security, notably through the diversification and strengthening of pro-duction, income and diet base. To this end, concrete measures and actions were developed to ensure sustainable production, rational exploitation and use of conventional and non-conventional food, fishery, forestry and livestock resources. These recommendations were discussed in expert group meetings and conferences convened by the secretariat including the MULPOCs.

32. Published material in the form of recurrent and non-recurrent publications on topical issues in food security were widely distributed to member States, regional and international institutions, including univer-sities, and research centres. There are at present 700 addresses on the mailing list of this subprogramme as compared to 500 at the beginning of the biennium, an increase of 40 per cent.

33. On the whole, many of the subprogramme's activities were well focused, responding to identified needs of the subregions. Many activities were added at the initiative of the secretariat. Thus, in addition to the implementation of 33 programmed outputs, 36 additional outputs were implemented during the biennium, bringing the number of total outputs to 69.

34. The restructuring of FAO in the course of 1995, had a profound impact on this component of the subprogramme. Following the establishment by FAO of subregional offices located in Harare, Zimbabwe; Tunis, Tunisia and Accra, Ghana, the Joint ECA/FAO Agriculture Division was abolished in June 1995. The resources available to the programme were accordingly significantly curtailed (about $2.7 million per annum).

35. The population component of the subprogramme was driven by the need to prepare for and follow up on a series of major conferences, including the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in September 1995. All activities were geared towards ensuring the articulation of an African common position on the issues coming before ICPD. Stemming therefrom were such important reports as "Implementation of the Kilimanjaro Plan of Action and prospects for sustainable development in ECA member States", "Demographic and social consequences of HIV/AIDS and other pandemics in ECA member States". Other publications included the "African Population Newsletter", "African Population Series", a "Manual for the integration of population factors in human resource development", with particular reference to educational sector planning and specific studies related to the follow-up of the Dakar/Ngor Declaration on Population, the Family and Sustainable Development and the ICPD Programme of Action were well received by end-users.

36. There was a continued effort by the responsible (Population) Division to secure and integrate feed-back from end-users into an ongoing process of evaluation of the relevance, efficiency and impact of the sub-programme. Nearly all publications were subject to assessment by way of questionnaires. Exploitation of this material, together with relevant documentary evidence from other sources (conferences/meetings), pro-vided clear indications that member States found the outputs relevant and effective, with a positive impact on their population activities. They requested the secretariat to continue assisting them in the integration of population factors in development planning; dissemination of publications on the activities of the secretariat; organization of more workshops and short-term training sessions for population specialists and heads of national institutions.

37. The dissemination of documents including publications remained limited due to the lack of facilities for translation into the three official languages of the Commission.

38. The need to respond to mandates emanating from global conferences was also evident in the area of environment and human settlements. In the environment field, the secretariat continued to promote the implementation of the regional aspects of Agenda 21 in line with the problems addressed in the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) System-wide Medium-term Plan and the new policy orientation of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). Much effort went into assisting member States to articulate their common position in the implementation of conventions and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Programmes of Action, particularly the conventions on climatic change, bio-diversity, and combating desertification as well as the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Particular emphasis was placed on: environmental monitoring and assessment; institution building and strengthening; and promotion of environmental information and public awareness. 39. Eight issues of the ECA "Environment Newsletter" were prepared and disseminated worldwide. A "Directory of Environmental Experts and Institutions" was also completed and disseminated. Substantial efforts continued to be devoted to collaboration with ECA-sponsored institutions, in particular, the African Centre of Meteorology Applications for Development (ACMAD). 40. Activities in human settlements were largely guided by major conferences for which the secretariat continued to assist member States in the formulation of guidelines for policies and strategies with a view to establishing an African position for the second Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT II) scheduled for June 1996. During the biennium, the number of meetings (two regional and three subregional ministerial meetings), coupled with direct assistance to member States in their preparation for HABITAT II and sustained by well-focused and targeted publications have resulted in a good framework for the African common position.

41. Considerable emphasis was placed on issues specifically dealing with poverty, such as the guidelines on the elaboration and implementation of policies on provision of shelter for the urban and rural poor; guide-lines on improving human settlements management to ensure sustainable development and improved living conditions in member States and guidelines on sustainable energy and transport systems in human settle-ments. Special mention may be made of a "Manual on human settlements planning and management in disaster-prone areas" which was disseminated.

42. UNDP funded a field project aimed at demonstrating the viability of the commercial manufacture and utilization of soil stabilization blocks in Senegal, fibre concrete roofing tiles in Cameroon and Guinea and lime in Uganda. Pilot production plants came into operation in Cameroon, Guinea and Senegal, while one lime kiln was built and put into operation in Uganda. Various expressions of appreciation were received from responsible ministries and beneficiaries. B. Findings and conclusions

43. The findings and conclusions are:

(a) The subprogramme's concept of integrating various key elements affecting human survival on the continent is to be viewed as an ambitious yet a fully justifiable goal;

(b) Overall, the subprogramme achieved a high rate of performance. About 90 per cent of the programmed outputs were implemented and the issues it addressed were topical and relevant;

(c) Despite the subprogramme's unified programmatic development goals, a strategic approach to its implementation has lagged behind, with the result that each component has more or less pursued its own specific objectives in isolation;

(d) Management of the subprogramme and its activities were fragmented under different authorities with the result that little, if any, coordination of activities was undertaken;

(e) The first meeting of the main policy organ of the subprogramme, namely the Conference of African Ministers responsible for sustainable development and environment was postponed and could take place only in March 1996;

(f) The subprogramme's resources were deeply affected by FAO's withdrawal which led to the collapse of the Joint Division, an unexpected development which has deprived ECA of a major support both in terms of policy coordination with FAO and financial resources to which no alternative has yet been found;

(g) Lack of appropriate monitoring led to overextended programming of activities in the agricul-tural sector at the expense of concentration in key areas;

(h) The complexities of the subprogramme call for more in-depth analysis than was possible in the present exercise.

C. Recommendations

44. The following recommendations were made:

(a) The strategic design of the subprogramme should be reviewed in order to estab-lish the desirable programmatic linkages between the substantive components. To that effect, organizational arrangements should be established in such a way as to facilitate cross-sectoral analysis and programming. The subprogramme should be placed under a single management authority. That aspect should receive particular attention in ECA's current renewal process;

(b) Following the withdrawal of FAO from the former Joint Division, there is need both to review ECA's role in the area of agriculture and rural development and to develop a new framework for cooperation with FAO, in particular with regard to FAO's regional pro-gramme. ECA's specific objectives in the field of food security should be established as a matter of priority. Cooperation should be pursued with other relevant partners such as the World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank;

(c) There was previously no subsidiary organ of the Commission responsible for overviewing ECA's agriculture and rural development programme. The recently established Conference of African Ministers responsible for sustainable development and environment should ensure that all components of the subprogramme are duly addressed in an integrated manner. The Conference should also provide policy guidance on the "nexus" approach which should be kept under review in order to ensure its continued validity within the African development context;

(d) Comprehensive monitoring of the subprogramme should be strengthened at the policy coordination level of ECA, in particular with regard to avoiding departures from programmed activities;

(e) An evaluation of the subprogramme, in the form of an independent exercise, with focus on the regional level, should be undertaken. To this effect, necessary budgetary provisions should be made in the 1996-1997 biennium. Simultaneously but prior to the in-depth evaluation, the subprogramme should develop performance indicators for poverty allevia-tion and sustainable development. In this regard, ECA should collaborate with relevant subpro-grammes and other United Nations agencies to analyze existing indicators, develop new ones and endeavour to come up with a commonly accepted set of indicators applicable in the context of the African countries.


A. Major thrust, activities and results

45. This subprogramme placed considerable emphasis on the interrelated issues of human resources development and social transformation. Thus, during the biennium, activities were focused on providing assistance to member States in the areas of:

(a) Planning, development and utilization of human resources and social development;

(b) Building and strengthening human and institutional capacities, including those of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and people's organizations; and

(c) Fostering popular participation and strengthening the social dimension of development.

46. The implementation of programmed activities greatly benefitted from expanded collaboration with governments, IGOs, NGOs, United Nations and other institutions. The main vehicles for support to member States were technical assistance through seminars, workshops, conferences and meetings organized at national, subregional and regional levels.

47. The restructuring of the intergovernmental machinery in 1993 resulted in the establishment of Conference of African Ministers responsible for Human Development. The inaugural meeting of this Con-ference was held in 1994. At that session, the Conference adopted an African Common Position on Human and Social Development in Africa which had a significant impact to the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development.

48. There is a Ministerial Follow-up Committee of Fifteen of the Conference, which meets bi-annually.

49. The "Human Development in Africa Report", a biennial publication of ECA launched in 1995, will be the main instrument for monitoring progress on human development in Africa.

50. The subprogramme placed much emphasis on integrating new priorities into its activities, in parti-cular through enhanced outreach to all partners of the civic society. A global NGO Forum on "Building sustainable societies: The role of NGOs in emergencies and social development" was held in Addis Ababa in March 1994. More than 200 participants attended this meeting.

51. A series of regional meetings, national conferences and ad hoc expert group meetings was organized with a view to addressing critical problems of human society in Africa. These focused on such issues as "Impact of armed conflict on children", "Famine in Ethiopia: Learning from the past to prepare the future" and "The effects of drugs on youth", etc.

52. During the biennium, collaboration with United Nations agencies in the fields of health, labour, human rights, etc., was intensified.

53. The subprogramme issued reports on such issues as the reorientation of educational curricula towards the new development challenges and education for peace; the state of human resources planning, develop-ment and utilization in Africa; training manual in management and administration of education; the social impact of structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) in Egypt and Cameroon; the socio-economic impact of AIDS on households and families; regional and international overview of the drug situation in the world.

54. An "Atlas of the Child", produced jointly with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), was particularly well received at African as well as international levels. It is planned that the Human Development in Africa Report will appear every two years. The first issue of the series opened with a discussion on the consensus on human development, the concept and measurement of human development and the state of development in Africa. It focused on the themes of goals for the child, health for all and basic education for all.

55. A number of major publications and reports were published on the issue of participatory develop-ment, including several country case studies on Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, etc.

56. Particular initiatives reflecting the new orientation of the subprogramme centred around such issues as linkage between relief and development, in the context of the Rwanda situation; women, constitutionalism and popular participation, in the context of the newly established regional governments in Ethiopia; and development communication strategy in the Southern Africa subregional context.

57. The general thrust and focus of these activities was to assist member States in developing technical and managerial capabilities (knowledge, skills and attitudes) in human resources planning, development and utilization with particular emphasis on developing technical capabilities in manpower and employment planning, training of teacher trainers, curriculum development for peace and nation-building, entrepreneurial development and informal sector development, the social dimension of development, and popular participa-tion in development.

58. On the whole, the subprogramme has been placing increased emphasis on working with NGOs and people's organizations in support of development in Africa and in implementation of its mandates, activities and programmes. Interest in and support of such activities by the international community has been reflected by increased bilateral project support and related funding. This has enabled capacity-building projects to be launched in some Southern African countries.

59. The quality of outputs delivered during the biennium has been regularly assessed in the course of implementation by way of questionnaires addressed to end-users. This has enabled users' reactions to be determined:

(a) By gauging attitudes towards related activities/outputs/publications/reports, meetings, conferences, seminars or workshops;

(b) What the users or participants felt they had learned or gained from a publication, report, conference, seminar or workshop;

(c) The extent to which new behavioural patterns and performance skills had been affected or changed as a result of the activity or output; and

(d) The relevance of the activities/outputs in addressing the issues and problems they were intended to solve.

60. Analysis of these evaluation documents, including review of relevant parliamentary documentation, has indicated the relevance of the subprogramme and its design to the stated objectives and a general interest in and usefulness of the activities undertaken and outputs produced. While impact assessment would require more surveys at the country level, it may, nevertheless, be stated that the subprogramme has effectively contributed to generate new approaches in terms of policy and methodologies to human resources develop-ment, as was amply demonstrated by the vigorous preparation for the World Summit for Social Development.

61. Implementation of the activities of the subprogramme was constrained by lack of adequate resources. The financial crisis of the United Nations, which led to the freeze on recruitment, constituted a serious handicap.

B. Findings and conclusions

62. The findings and conclusions are as follows:

(a) Implementation of the subprogramme has closely involved member States through the newly established intergovernmental machinery dealing with human development issues at the level of the Commis-sion. The meetings of the Conference of African Ministers responsible for Human Development and its Ministerial Follow-up Committee of Fifteen offered appropriate fora where African Governments, IGOs, NGOs and civil society as well as ECA's international partners freely reviewed progress made in solving problems related to human development and develop the relevant strategies;

(b) The subprogramme was particularly successful in cooperating with NGOs and people's organizations in support of development in Africa and in the implementation of the mandates, activities and programmes through concrete operational activities in the field;

(c) The subprogramme has benefitted from the active mobilization of extrabudgetary resources by the responsible Division, especially in the area of popular participation, institutional and capacity building. The popular participation project under the subprogramme demonstrates how a constructive partnership with a bilateral donor can be fostered, as has been the case with Germany through the Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), which has extended its funding for the 1996-1997 programme of work to the tune of one million Deutsche Marks;

(d) There was a strong inter-agency cooperation, collaboration and coordination between the division responsible for the subprogramme, United Nations agencies and other bilateral and multilateral partners to follow up on the implementation of regionally agreed resolutions and strategies. However, inter-divisional coordination and collaboration within ECA itself left much to be desired.

C. Recommendations

63. The following recommendations have been made:

(a) A coherent strategy for the implementation of recommendations emanating from recent major conferences(2) should be undertaken under ECA's auspices. Compiling these recommendations, estimating their costs and proposing a framework for putting them into effect should proceed as soon as possible;

(b) The Division should continue to focus its efforts on activities that provide practical benefits to member States as it is currently the case with the popular participation project. Activities that are not unique or offer no value added to solutions to regional concerns of member States should be cut back or terminated;

(c) There is a need to consider the strengthening of decentralization of activities. Collaboration and coordination between the MULPOCs and the subprogramme should be further developed, in particular with regard to the exchange of data and development information.


A. Major thrust, activities and results

64. While the thematic restructuring of the work programme of the Commission has more or less affected all former subprogrammes, the Women in development subprogramme alone has remained a single independent subprogramme. This unique position within the structure of the 1994-1995 biennium has offered the advantage of clarity of focus and facilitated in terms of programme monitoring and organizational management. On the other hand, the independent character of the subprogramme has continued to perpetuate the isolation of the subprogramme from the other activities of the Commission.

65. During the period under review, the subprogramme continued to pursue the major development objectives as stated in the Medium-term Plan, 1992-1997 to ensure more effective participation of women in the socio-economic development of the region. Accordingly, the secretariat assisted member States in the following areas:

(a) Enhancing women's participation in decision-making, particularly in policy formulation and design of development plans;

(b) Developing new conceptual approaches that analyze women's issues from a gender perspective;

(c) Increasing women's employment opportunities through the promotion of women's entre-preneurship and access to productive resources; and

(d) Strengthening existing information networks through the establishment of a database on women and creating a positive profile on women's issues in Africa.

66. In the light of the foregoing objectives, the secretariat was challenged to provide member States with a comprehensive strategy, including the following activities:

(a) To carry out overall analyses of emerging socio-economic trends and their impact on African women;

(b) To build women's skills and competence to enable them to assume leadership roles;

(c) To conduct training programmes with a view to improving the control and management of production and the distribution of services, particularly for women in the agricultural sector;

(d) To provide advisory services to assist member States in formulating gender-sensitive programmes and plans:

(e) To compile and disseminate data on women in development and publications, including a newsletter on African women; and

(f) To strengthen regional and subregional machineries for the integration of women in development.

67. In the implementation of these strategic goals, the subprogramme tapped the full potential of existing policy coordinating bodies and research, analysis and operational activities. The activities of regional and subregional coordination mechanisms proved to be pivotal in the implementation of the subprogramme.

68. The contribution of the subprogramme to the formulation of an African Platform for Action pre-sented and adopted in Beijing as part of the Global Platform for Action went through extensive substantive and organizational preparations throughout the biennium.

69. The formulation of adequate policies and strategies was, therefore, a key issue during the biennium and was actually addressed as the major issue in one or other form in all activities. Research was undertaken on various aspects of the role of women in the social, political and economic spheres, thus providing a basis for new strategies for accelerating the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women and their refocused version in the Abuja Declaration on Participatory Development: The role of women in Africa in the 1990s.

70. Necessary follow-up action was undertaken in respect of the relevant policy instruments developed during the meetings of the fifth African Regional Conference on Women, held in Dakar, Senegal, in November 1994 and from meetings of the Africa Regional Coordinating Committee on the Integration of Women in Development (ARCC). There was close collaboration in this report with global bodies such as the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the International Training and Research Institute for the Advancement for Women INSTRAW), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and other relevant intergovernmental coordination bodies.

71. Research work and publications covered such issues as legal instruments relevant to women in Africa; political and economic empowerment of women; women's rights; social issues; women, environment and sustainable development; etc. Guidelines on the implementation of the African Platform for Action were also developed.

72. Considerable efforts were made to further strengthen the database on women developed and main-tained under the subprogramme. The newsletter "Up-date" was issued semi-annually with enhanced focus on policy issues. In addition, a wealth of information materials and services were produced in the context of the fifth Regional and fourth World Conference on Women.

73. Capacity building was a major area of emphasis in the work of the subprogramme. Ad hoc expert meetings were a major vehicle for realizing targeted objectives. One ad hoc expert meeting was held on the establishment of an African bank for women, another was convened to review the draft Platform for Action. Four training workshops were held on the preparation of the national reports on the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies.

74. Overall, the implementation rate of the subprogramme was almost 100 per cent, taking into consideration additional activities as well as requirements for some postponements.

B. Findings and conclusions

75. The findings and conclusions are as follows:

(a) The objectives set out in the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies, which were later refined in the Abuja Declaration, were aimed at empowering women for a more effective and efficient participation in the socio-economic transformation of the continent. They called for special emphasis on increasing opportunities for women and ensuring a better access to productive resources and information. The design and activities of the subprogramme responded directly to those objectives;

(b) The main activities of the subprogramme were focused on the preparations for and follow-up to the regional and global conferences on women. The activities culminated in the preparation and adoption of the "African Platform for Action for the Advancement of Women". The Platform, which constituted Africa's Common Position for the fourth World Conference on Women, clearly spelt out the specific actions to be taken by governments, NGOs, IGOs as well as international institutions to build the capacity of African women to cope with the challenges of the twenty-first century. The Platform was endorsed by the ECA Conference of Ministers and the African Heads of State and Government as a blue-print for all efforts aimed at advancing African women;

(c) Another achievement was the capacity-building process launched by the subprogramme through the enhancement of skills and opportunities. The setting up of the African Federation of Women Entrepreneurs, in June 1993 has resulted in continued services to women to enhance their capacities in the business and industrial sectors. The impact of these activities has been steadily growing as evidenced by the Federation preparing for a global trade fair and investment forum to be held in Accra, Ghana, in June 1996;

(d) The subprogramme responded to the increased demands of member States for advisory services for the formulation of national gender plans and programmes and the active follow-up of the implementation of regional and global strategies and plans and for publications on women issues. However, many demands could not be met due to the lack of financial resources, in particular those expected from voluntary donor contributions;

C. Recommendations

76. The following recommendations have been made:

(a) More realistic forward planning and budgeting taking into consideration possible emerging critical issues should be undertaken to minimize the adverse effect of various constraints to implementation;

(b) In view of the expansion of the scope of the subprogramme's objectives, following the adoption of the African Platform for Action and new requirements for its implementation, the next revisions of the programme-budget for 1996-1997 and the Medium-term Plan, 1998-2003 should reflect those concerns;

(c) More flexibility needs to be achieved in the implementation of the subprogramme by mobilizing additional extrabudgetary resources for expanding operational activities, with particular focus on women's capacity building. A portfolio of relevant project proposals should be prepared for negotiation with donors;


77. In-depth evaluations are to be viewed as essential complement to self-evaluations which are mainly confined to managerial issues at the subprogramme level. These studies require considerable technical inputs in terms of organization and substantive analysis. In general, they are undertaken by the Central Evaluation Unit (CEU) at United Nations Headquarters which has been integrated into the recently established Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS).

78. In-depth evaluations should be carried out when major programme issues require in-depth consideration and reviews for making appropriate recommendations that would help the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the General Assembly to formulate decisions intended to increase the overall relevance, effectiveness and impact of United Nations programmes in the context of intergovernmental goals and policies.

79. In the course of the 1994-1995 biennium, two major in-depth evaluations of direct concern to ECA were undertaken.

A. In-depth evaluation of the natural resources and energy subprogramme

80. The ECA Conference of Ministers, in operative paragraph 4 of resolution 776 (XXIX) adopted on 4 May 1994, entitled "Development and strengthening of the Economic Commission for Africa's programme activities in the field of natural resources, energy and marine affairs" requested that "an in-depth evaluation of the subprogramme be undertaken during the 1994-1995 biennium". That request emanated from the findings and conclusions of self-evaluations of the respective components of the subprogramme, undertaken during the 1992-1993 biennium.

81. The findings and conclusions of these self-evaluations stressed, inter alia, the need to strengthen the subprogramme in accordance with evolving priorities, in particular with regard to regional cooperation on shared lake and river basins, marine resources development in the context of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, mineral resources and energy development strategies and cartographic inventories.

82. The subsequent in-depth evaluation of ECA's subprogramme on natural resources and energy development was conducted by the United Nations Department for Development Support and Management Services (DDSMS) under the auspices of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and in close cooperation with ECA. The terms of reference of the evaluation study were presented to and endorsed by the ECA Conference of Ministers, at its meeting in 1995.

83. The evaluation focused on the six components of the subprogramme, namely mineral resources, water resources energy resources, cartography, remote sensing, and marine affairs. The evaluation report was based on a review of the programme orientation and technical assessment of the quality and relevance of main outputs delivered during the 1992-1995 period and a survey of officials of ECA member countries and United Nations agencies.

84. The outcome of the study has suffered from various problems essentially caused by the financial crisis which developed in the second half of 1995. Consequently, no field visits were undertaken to assess impact on the spot. Regrettably, the study had to be limited to a desk review and responses to a questionnaire which, nonetheless, carry the weight of independent views of experts in the respective fields.

85. The study is being submitted to the ECA Conference of Ministers for consideration, comment and views on desirable follow-up (E/ECA/CM.22/10/Add.1).

86. The evaluation report noted that, in general, the technical outputs reviewed were of good to excellent quality and that the activities undertaken were consistent with the objectives indicated in the Medium-Term Plan. The limitation of resources available to the subprogramme was recognized as a serious constraint necessitating further prioritization of activities. It was also observed that the proposed programme budget for the biennium 1996-1997 reflected an allocation of resources too small to implement the marine affairs programme.

87. In addition to specific conclusions under each of the six components of the subprogramme, there were two overall recommendations as follows:

(a) Recommendation 1: Focus on subregional cooperation

88. The current levels of resources available to ECA do not allow for an effective treatment of the range and scope of the substantive activities included in the mandates of the subprogramme on natural resources and energy development. The ECA natural resources and energy subprogramme should streamline the number of publications and focus its activities and priorities on subregional cooperation and collaboration with the United Nations agencies.

(b) Recommendation 2: Responsibility centre for collection and dissemination of information

89. The 10 officials of the United Nations agencies (interviewed) and the four readers (selected from relevant United Nations officials) expressed interest in establishing collaborative arrangements that coordinate formulation of strategies and policies at regional and subregional levels, for which the Commission has a unique role, with the operational activities of the global agencies that command more resources for such activities than does ECA. As part of that collaborative effort, ECA should be designated as the responsible centre for the collection and exchange of information on minerals, water and energy resources, generated by both the United Nations agencies and ECA, and its dissemination to member countries. The availability of this information will also be useful to ECA as the lead organization for policy analysis and formulation of strategies. The Commission could start this process first in the field of water, where ECA serves as the secretariat of the Inter-agency Group for Water.

B. Programme 45: Africa: Critical situation, recovery and development

90. An independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the United Nations system in the implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF) and its system-wide Plan of Action was undertaken by the JIU during January and May 1995. A progress report on the evaluation was considered by the ECA Conference of Ministers in 1994.

91. The evaluation has addressed the critically important issues of development ownership and control by African Governments and people. It also provided substantial background information on the extent to which Africa's evolving development policies are responsive to UN-NADAF's priorities and objectives.

92. At the outset of this evaluation, separate questionnaires were addressed to African member States, United Nations system Resident Coordinators based in Africa and the headquarters of organizations of the system, requesting information on their current development priorities and their views on measures required to lift the continent out of its current situation. In addition, the inspectors visited in separate missions nine African countries in Central, East, Southern and West Africa in order to obtain first-hand information on development priorities pursued by African Governments and United Nations system organizations at the field level in the context of UN-NADAF. Extensive consultations were also held between the inspectors and ECA during a mission in February 1995.

93. The JIU report offered 14 recommendations specifically addressed to the United Nations system; the United Nations; the Organization of African Unity (OAU); and African member States. The operative paragraphs of these recommendations which are of particular relevance to ECA are reproduced below: Recommendation 5: Inter-agency cooperation and coordination

(a) UNDP and ECA should play a more vigorous role in assisting African countries in the preparation of national long-term perspective studies and development plans that include strong subregional integrative dimensions and commitments at the global level, and serve as the master plan for all other country programming exercises;

(b) Regional level: In order to reduce the financial costs and duplicative nature of existing ECA and OAU consultative meetings with the system organizations and donor community, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in his capacity as chairman of the Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC), and the Secretary-General of OAU, in consultation with African Member States, should jointly propose the establishment of an African development conference that would expand the membership and authority of the ECA Conference of Ministers, and have system-wide scope. The Inter-Agency Task Force on African development and the Joint OAU/ECA/ADB Secretariat could initiate the draft terms of reference of the proposed conference for review at ACC level, and submission for appropriate action to the relevant intergovernmental bodies;

(c) Global level: In the context of the new ACC initiative on Africa, consideration should be given to the setting up of a standing inter-agency working group on the commodity sector composed of ECA, FAO, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), UNDP, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other relevant organizations such as the World Bank and the Common Fund for Commodities, charged with:

(i) developing and promoting a comprehensive view of Africa's commodity sector development issues, as analyzed in paragraphs 93 to 107 of this report, and proposing practical actions to be taken by African countries, central intergovernmental bodies especially the General Assembly and ECOSOC, and by Africa's principal trading partners;

(ii) generating technical, action-oriented proposals for increasing and structuring cooperation between exporting and importing countries for commodities not yet covered by international agreements, especially in the area of fresh fruit and vegetables, and for strengthening existing commodity agreements;

(iii) providing technical advice on commodity issues to African countries and LDCs generally, especially in the context of future reviews of the implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreements, and promoting actions to secure further reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers, improved market transparency, pricing mechanisms, and other enabling measures likely to increase the commodity export earnings and diversification dividends of African countries on a sustained basis.

Recommendation 6: Support for subregional integration

In view of the decisive importance that African Member States now assign to the subregional economic groupings they have established to accelerate implementation of the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community, the development organizations concerned should accordingly reorganize their country and intercountry priorities and activities around subregional development poles, as follows:

(c) ECA and its MULPOCs and, whenever feasible, the secretariat of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Africa, should participate in country programming exercises offering opportunities for intercountry initiatives;

(d) Each organization should, to the extent possible:

(i) establish and support on a continuing basis a subregional or country-group twinning network of similar country institutions (public and private) in order to strengthen technical collaboration among them and promote exchange of personnel and rational use of resources within each subregion;

(ii) collaborate more intensely with ECA's MULPOCs in the different subregions;

(e) Organizations with country offices in Africa, but without subregional offices, should take the necessary action to ensure that:

(i) one country office in each subregion or group of countries [e.g., Sahel (Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel - CILSS), Horn of Africa (IGADD) Eastern Africa (East African Community - EAC), Southern Africa (SADC), etc.] is designated and appropriately equipped to serve as a subregional office or focal point responsible for programming and managing subregional intercounty activities; operational management responsibility for such activities should accordingly be decentralized from headquarters to the field level. Offices thus designated by the organizations should be located in the same city together with ECA's MULPOCs, whenever possible;

(ii) all country offices in Africa develop a strong subregional or country-group focus, especially in country programming exercises; the allocation of country resources should be optimally rationalized on a subregional or country-group basis in order to maximize intercountry approaches to the solution of common development problems in a more cost-effective manner.

(f) In order further to reinforce the harmonization and rationalization of the organizations' country activities within each subregion, the Inter-Agency Task Force on African Development, ECA and UNDP should institute annual or biennial programme coordination meetings of United Nations system country representatives or Resident Coordinators in each subregion, chaired by the executive heads of the respective subregional economic communities and serviced by ECA and/or its MULPOCs;

(g) The organizations should replace their continental programmes for Africa or sub-Saharan Africa with subregional intercountry programmes covering the main economic communities of the region.

Recommendation 7: Women in development

In view of the major role played by women in the development of Africa, the organizations of the system should give priority consideration to the implementation of the recommendations contained in the African Platform for Action adopted by the fifth African Regional Conference on Women, held in Dakar, Senegal, in November 1994, and briefly outlined in paragraph 67 of this report.

Recommendation 8: Strengthening UN-NADAF implementation in Africa

(a) In order to rectify the serious weaknesses observed by the Inspectors in existing NADAF institutional arrangements within the United Nations Secretariat, the Secretary-General should, in the context of his Special Initiative on Africa, propose to the General Assembly new objectives for Programme 45 in the next medium-term plan and programme budget so that the programme's resources are optimally utilized in direct support of African countries and in leveraging additional resource mobilization and other operational actions by the system organizations;

(b) The secretariat of the Economic Commission for Africa should be further restructured, taking into account the Inspectors' recommended measures outlined in paragraph 151 of this report, and the need to strengthen complementarities in general and a division of labour in particular with other Secretariat entities (DDSMS, UNCTAD, UNEP, HABITAT) as well as with the specialized agencies, especially FAO and UNIDO.

94. Given the critical importance of the evaluation report, the full document is being submitted to the ECA Conference of Ministers as document E/ECA/CM.22/10/Add.3 for consideration and further recommendations, as may be appropriate, by member States. Annex




 New subprogrammeBiennium








Development issues and policies (in part)

Least developed, land-locked and island countries

Monetary and financial policies and strategies

Management of Africa's external debt (in part)

*1.Development issues and policies *



Economic cooperation and integration

Trade development and cooperation


*2.Trade, regional economic cooperation and integration* 





Agriculture and rural development

Marine affairs (living resources)

Environment and development

Human settlements


 3.Poverty alleviation through sustainable development* 
6.Public administration and fiscal affairs 4.Development administration and management *


Development issues and policies (in part)

Social development

*5.Human resources development and social transformation  


Development issues and policies (in part)

Statistical development

 6.Statistical and information systems development *



Marine affairs (non-living resources)

Natural resources

Energy, including new and renewable sources of energy





7.Natural resources and energy development  



Industrial development

Science and technology for development

Transport and communications

 8.Infrastructural and structural transformation *
8.Advancement of women 9.Women in development* 
 Total5(*)  4(*)




* Reflecting new structure of revised Medium-term Plan (MTP) and merger of former subprogrammes.

(*) Self-evaluation.

() In-depth evaluation.



Page 2

1. 0 The studies are available as in-house documents.

2. 0 First meeting of the Conference of African Ministers responsible for human development (20 and 21 January 1994, Addis Ababa); World Summit for Social Development (6 to 12 March 1995, Copenhagen, Denmark) and first meeting of the Ministerial Follow-up Committee of Fifteen of the Conference of African Ministers responsible for human development (13 to 16 November 1995, Addis Ababa).