Insights in resilience, social development and integration

Abuja, 29 March 2014 (ECA) - The third session of RCM-Africa was chaired by Erastus J. O. Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson, African Union and brought together a panel of  presenters who addressed  key issues  aimed at the implementation of Agenda 2063. The theme of the session was ‘Resilience and Social Development in Regional Integration and AU Agenda 2063’.

Mustapha S. Kaloko,  AUC Commissioner for Social Affairs recalled that integration has been a major concern and lies at the heart of the OAU as enshrined in the Abuja Treaty: it is not a new programme – he said. 

“The AU Agenda 2063 is not adding new prerogatives to integration, but aims to ensure harmonization in the process,” he said.  Agenda 2063, stated Kaloko, is people centered and it is about an Africa driven and managed by its own citizens. 

The World Food Programme brought into the discussions, insights informed by its work on resilience and food security. The session learnt that since 2008 WFP has moved its mandate from food aid to food assistance. Food assistance requires an analysis of the market and whether other means of food transfer are available.  The meeting was informed that WFP supports local markets and governments in capacity building to ensure good functioning of food assistance. In Sudan for instance, responses require building roads to reach out to the people in need. In this approach, resilience means looking more broadly for solutions that can address the issue of safety and ensuring that supply chains are taken into consideration, through the use of local farmers’ production  as this improves nutrition.

The ILO representative stressed the fact that poverty cannot eradicated by any type of job. What really matters is the quality of jobs. She added that social protection is a key driver for inclusive and sustainable development. However, in most African countries, social protection programmes are funded by donors and Africa needs to find its own resources to finance social protection initiatives. 

The representative of HABITAT recalled that 60% of the African continent GDP is generated by urban based activities, although most African populations remain predominantly rural. Africa still has good opportunity to apply for a sound urban development process. A well planned urbanization therefore can attract investments, facilitate transactions and promote development. Urban and human settlement on the African continent should be appropriately integrated in the integration process, the urban dimension of AU Agenda 2063 entails ownership of the people.

Mr. Mounkaila Goumandakoye, Regional Director, UNEP Regional Office for Africa said that with regard to climate change, Africa is the most vulnerable continent and as such, there is a need for Africa to strengthen its early warning system and commit itself to changing the course of climate change impacts. 

Mr. Charles Kwenin, IOM Senior Regional Adviser for Sub-Saharan Africa highlighted the positive and negative aspects of migration. He said that migration has become a factor of poverty reduction, it promotes remittance, investments and social networks. Yet, said Kwenin, human trafficking remains a major concern as it has changed the role of women. As migration is a platform for regional integration, a way must be found to reduce the cost of cross-border mobility.