SA, UN sign cooperation framework

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pretoria - South Africa and the United Nations have signed a five-year Strategic Cooperation Framework (UNSCF) that will help government as it tries to meet its development agenda and implement its Programme of Action.

The process for the development of the UNSCF was initiated by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) in 2012, through a participatory process that involved various government departments, provincial representatives and the UN country team.

This culminated in the identification of four key areas of cooperation between South Africa and the UN system, where the UN has a comparative advantage in being able to add real value.

These are inclusive growth and decent work, sustainable development, human capabilities, as well as governance and participation.

These areas are informed by government’s priority objectives, as reflected in the National Development Plan, the Medium Term Strategic Framework, the New Growth Path, the 2012 Millennium Development Goals Country Report and other key government policy frameworks.

The agreement was signed by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Marius Fransman, and the UN resident coordinator and UN Development Programme representative in South Africa, Agostinho Zacarias, in Pretoria.

Fransman said as government, they have high expectations that the framework will provide a framework for cooperation that will enhance the contribution of the UN towards the realisation of the country’s development agenda.

South Africa, the deputy minister said, strongly supported a multilateral, rules-based system as a means of achieving a better country, contributing to a better and safer Africa, in a better world.

“Our struggle against poverty, inequality and unemployment is critical to the successful realisation of the development aspirations that we have for ourselves, as well as for others.

“Our objective of a better life for all in South Africa is therefore closely intertwined with our struggle for a better Africa and a better world for all,” said Fransman.

It was for this reason that Fransman reiterated South Africa’s multilateral, rules-based system, saying it strengthened multilateralism and promoted the development objectives of Africa and the developing countries of the South.

Zacarias said the framework symbolised South Africa’s recognition of cooperation and learning from the global institutions.

He said under the “delivering as one” concept, the UN system sought to further strengthen the management and coordination of UN activities so that they can make an even more effective contribution to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.

To ensure an appropriate oversight of the framework, Fransman said a steering committee -- comprising DIRCO, National Treasury, the Presidency, Economic Development and Social Development Departments and the UN system -- would be established to give strategic direction and guidance in implementing the framework.

It would then be monitored and reviewed on an annual basis, through annual meetings with government and other stakeholders.

UN agencies would develop joint annual work plans and hold joint reviews and monitoring activities as much as possible, in the interests of alignment and harmonisation, and to reduce the transaction costs for government. –