On Tuesday, 1st November, 2016, ActionAid International and members of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) engaged in a high-level leadership discussion at the offices of the ECA in Addiss Ababa, Ethiopia.
The ActionAid team, consisting of six country directors from ActionAid countries: Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the host country, Ethipia, as well as the Africa Advocacy Officer and Tax Power Campaign Manager from ActionAid International Secretariat, were hosted by the ECA with the aim of fostering better relations and enhancing productive partnerships between the two organisations.
According to ActionAid, the meeting between the two delegations gives the opportunity to brief each other on their organisational priorities and look into common agenda for partnership engagements.
Representatives from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa include Abdalla Hamdok, Acting Executive Secretary, Stephen Karingi, Director, Capacity Development Division and the Regional Integration and Trade Division, Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director, Social Development Policy Division, Africa Centre for Gender, Adam Elhiraika, Director, Macroeconomic Policy Division, Fatima Denton, Director, African Climate Policy Centre, Special Initiatives Division, Ingrid Cyimana, Director, Strategic Planning, Partnership and Operational Quality Division, who was accompanied by Marlon Lezama, Chief of Partnership at the UNECA.
Mr Abdalla Hamdok, underscored the importance of partnership with organisations like ActionAid, where we have to clout to advance and support the policy analysis function of the Economic Commission for Africa to the African Union and its member states and other actors. He suggested the ECA and ActionAid have a Memorandum of Understanding to formalise their joint engagement.
What emerged from the discussion was the fact that both institutions have their strengths and comparative advantages; with ActionAid being a human rights-based organisation that is rooted within poor and marginalised communities, working with people living in poverty to make a change for themselves, and the Economic Commission for Africa prides itself on being one of the most credible Pan-African organisations that serves as a think-tank and knowledge hub for the African continent.
Established in 1958 by the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as one of five regional commissions of the United Nations and currently made up of 54 member states, the ECA has a mandate to promote the economic and social development of its member states, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development, according to the United Nations.
ActionAid has a mandate of eradicating poverty and in all AA countries in Africa and across other continents, interventions have been enrolled to ensure a life of dignity for people living in poor, rural communities and undergoing marginalisation, infringement on the rights of women and children and empowering community members through education to hold duty bearers accountable and claim their rights.
Key issues for discussions during the meetings and possible areas of collaboration for ActionAid include land and agriculture, governance, Illicit Finance Flows (IFF) and harmful tax incentives, domestic resource mobilisation, climate change, mining through Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM), gender, migration, and the development of data and statistical capacity, especially on the gender markers among many others.
ActionAid also recognised the involvement of the ECA during its just concluded Kilimanjaro Initiative, an event that mobilised hundreds of women to create space for rural women to be able to participate in decision-making processes about issues crucial to their development and empowerment, as the ECA sent a high-powered delegation from the Director of Social Development Policy Division and staff of the Land Policy Initiative.