Committee lauds ECA programme on sustainable development

Addis Ababa, 17 June 2015 (ClimDev-Africa) – The Ninth Session of the Committee on Sustainable Development (CSD-9) of the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) ended yesterday at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa with strong messages on innovations, technologies and management of the region’s natural resources.

CSD-9 provided a platform for the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development and was jointly organised by the ECA, the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

As well as providing discussion for its objectives the CSD-9  oversaw the implementation of its 2014–2015 work programme and the priorities of the sub-programme for the 2016–2017 work programme, in the context of the ECA strategic framework and proposed a programme budget for the 2016–2017 biennium.

On behalf of President of the Republic of Congo, His Excellency Mr. Denis Sassou-Nguesso and as the outgoing chair of the CSD, Mr. Blaise Edouard Ngouende, welcomed delegates to the session. He emphasized that the recent steady growth of African economies – of more than five per cent per year - was commendable but noted that there was also a worrying and different reality. Africa’s economic growth is based on exploitation of non-renewable resources, which do not create enough jobs. Population growth is on the rise, while production models, which shape the mainstream thinking of development strategies, have resulted in pollution and socio-economic discrepancies. As a result, Africa is impacted by hunger, poverty, and numerous social ills.

Mr. Ngouende therefore called for a change to Africa’s priorities in order to foster sustainable development in the region. Lastly, Mr. Ngouende presided over the election of new bureau members to steer the committee activities for the next three years. Senegal was elected as chair while Sudan, Gabon and Kenya were elected as the first, second and third vice-chairs respectively. Malawi was retained as the rapporteur.

Speaking on behalf of Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of ECA, Ms. Fatima Denton welcomed participants to the meeting and to the ECA.  She explained that the objectives of the meeting were threefold:

  • to review and provide guidance for the ECA sub-programme on innovations, technologies and management of Africa’s natural resources;
  • to oversee the implementation of the 2014/2015 work programme and priorities of the sub-programme for the 2016/2017 in the context of ECA strategic work and proposed programme budget for the two biennia; and
  • to provide a platform for the 2015 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development and for the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Following presentations by the Special Initiatives Division of the ECA, participants provided rich feedback on the ECA sub-programme, the highlights of which included requests for closer engagement with member countries. The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) support programme initiated by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) in particular was of interest to many countries in their quest to complete their submission to the UNFCCC in advance of the November deadline. Further, participants from the African Small Island Developing States (SIDS) took the opportunity to laud the ACPC’s programme to buttress the SIDS efforts to combat impacts of climate change.

Other key messages emanating from the deliberations included the observations that science and technology should not be viewed as a "a subject matter forgeeks", but rather as drivers of economic transformation, and that soil regeneration efforts are needed to reduce infertility which is indeed a cause of poverty in Africa.

Issued by: ClimDev-Africa