In a hard hitting commentary, it says “Reporting processes have become something of a farce. Governments send lower-level staff to subregional reporting sessions on sustainable development and only send the Minister, President or Prime Minister when the reporting is at the UN.” There is a huge bureaucracy to support UN reporting; as large reports, of up to 300 pages, are often developed within one month of the report’s due date, says the report.
Report says Southern Africa’s development is not integrated
Rio de Janeiro: A new report by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says while the linkages between the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development are well understood within Southern Africa, the subregion has not adopted an integrated approach to development. The report, “Progress towards sustainable development in Southern Africa” prepared with the assistance of the African Development Bank, and circulated at the ongoing Rio+20 conference, says that for this reason, the “inter-linkages between the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development are fundamentally not being achieved”.
“Ministries and government departments with responsibility for areas linked to these pillars in respective countries act independently and there is little coordination,“ the report says.
In a hard hitting commentary, it says “Reporting processes have become something of a farce. Governments send lower-level staff to subregional reporting sessions on sustainable development and only send the Minister, President or Prime Minister when the reporting is at the UN.”
There is a huge bureaucracy to support UN reporting; as large reports, of up to 300 pages, are often developed within one month of the report’s due date, says the report.
It calls for a “subregional sustainable development strategy” which would interface with the office of each country’s President or Prime Minister as appropriate and use management of key data to drive monitoring and evaluation.
The report says that the private sector should be held accountable through legislation on reporting and face sufficient penalties to “incentivize them to comply”, while civil society could be strengthened through innovative financing generated from revenues raised from penalizing polluting activities.
On the institutional and strategic frameworks for sustainable development in the subregion, the report says the main frameworks are those developed by SADC, COMESA, SACU and ECCAS. “Unfortunately, the frameworks do not provide for effective implementation mainly because the institutions are under-resourced and are not well coordinated”, it says.
At the national level, the report says countries establish ministries in charge of environment management, whereas, “aspects of sustainable development go beyond ministries of environment and include water, agriculture, energy, trade and industrialization”.
The current institutional set-up within southern Africa is therefore inadequate to address the full spectrum of sustainable development and there is need for a systemic institutional review, at all levels, with a view to coming up with effective and appropriate institutional mechanisms for sustainable development, the report says.
It adds: “This kind of review requires bold and decisive leadership”.
* Related report (1) : ECA study underscores progress in sustainable development within Eastern Africa
Rio de Janeiro: Eastern Africa sub region has taken some concrete steps to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development in the region, in spite of the lingering challenges, concludes a new report being circulated at Rio+20 Conference by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The report states that the three pillars - economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection - are progressively being integrated in the region which has some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, although high levels of poverty persist.
According to ECA's Information and Communication Service, the study "Progress towards sustainable development in Eastern Africa" applauds the progress made in Eastern Africa in deepening regional integration within Regional Economic Communities such as the East African Community (EAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The study also cites specific joint actions within the region to ensure environmental sustainability, including the EAC climate change policy and strategy; regional guidelines on environmental impact assessment and protocols on natural resources.
To create wealth, the subregion has taken interrelated actions aimed at reducing supply side constraints, improving competitiveness and fostering advantage, the study says, adding however that these actions need to be scaled-up and replicated across the subregion.
Citing various interconnectivity projects between Uganda and Tanzania; Ethiopia and Kenya and Kenya/Rwanda, the study shows that the subregion has taken action to improve trade competitiveness through the improvement of regional hard and soft infrastructure, transparency and predictability of trade and the general quality of the business environment.
It refers to Article 13 of the EAC Customs Union Protocol which abolishes non-tariff barriers and the Standards Committee which has eliminated technical barriers to trade, promoting freer flow of goods and services and protecting the health and safety of consumers and the environment.
The study highlights key subregional actions in agriculture, food security and climate change, describing EAC's regional climate change policy and strategy as a good example of an integrated approach to the challenge posed by climate change.
"The advantage of a regional approaches are that the skills across the region can be tapped for the mutual benefit of all partner States while the various levels of implementation offer those involved the opportunities to learn from one another with the possibility of technology transfer where necessary and appropriate," the study observes.
The study, however, says that the subregion faces serious "implementation challenges and constraints", including a lack of critical technical capabilities.
The shift to new and sustainable approaches to production, distribution and consumption requires whole sets of specialized human, knowledge, logistical and technical resources, which, it says, many of the countries in the subregion lack.
The study also points to shortcomings in the areas of coherent policy and institutional resources that could help create the relevant infrastructure and mange the inevitable tradeoffs in the water, energy and agriculture sectors within the subregion.
The subregion is also still struggling with the impact of HIV and AIDS, it states.
The study was carried out with the assistance of the African Development Bank. As the main arm of the United Nations on development issues in Africa, ECA in collaboration with the African Union Commission and the African Development Bank spearheaded Africa's technical preparations for the Rio+20 process.
- Related report (2) : Progress towards Sustainable Development in Africa: Summary Report