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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06USUNNEWYORK2140 2006-11-09 23:49:00 UNCLASSIFIED USUN New York
Cable title:  

UN BUDGET: SUBREGIONAL OFFICES OF THE ECONOMIC

Tags:   AORC UNGA KUNR 
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DE RUCNDT #2140/01 3132349
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 092349Z NOV 06
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0723
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZO/OAU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PRIORITY
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 USUN NEW YORK 002140 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AORC UNGA KUNR
SUBJECT: UN BUDGET: SUBREGIONAL OFFICES OF THE ECONOMIC
COMMISSION FOR AFRICA

REF: A. 2005 USUN 2189

B. USUN 0050



1. SUMMARY: In reponse to General Assembly (GA) resolution
60/235, the Secretary-General has presented a comprehensive
action plan with regard to the subregional offices of the
Economic Commission for Africa (A/61/471). The report
explains how the Secretary-General is implementing the
recommendations made by the Office of Internal Oversight
Services (A/60/120 and reftels), as well as the results of
the Commission's own review of its work. The
Secretary-General proposes to increase the staffing of the

SIPDIS
subregional offices by 16 posts, seven to be redeployed
through existing resources and an additional 9 to be
requested in the context of the 2008-2009 budget The reports
are currently under discussion in the Fifth Committee. END
SUMMARY.



2. The OIOS review of the management of the subregional
offices (SROs) at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
led to 14 recommendations, including the need to clarify the
mandates and roles of the SROs, enhance the impact of the
SROs, align staff expertise and skills with subregional
priorities, and ensure reliable mechanisms of coordination
between SROs and ECA headquarters. In addition, the new
Executive Secretary of the Commission, also conducted a
review of ECA, with a view to repositioning the organization
to better respond to the challenges facing Africa. The
current action plan presented to the GA reflects the findings
of both reviews.



3. The report states the Secretariat's intent to refocus the
mission for the SROs. The new mission will include: taking
the lead in shaping the Commission's agenda and implementing
it at the subregional level; promoting and supporting
specific subregional priorities and programs; operating as
subregional nodes for knowledge management and networking;
and coordinating United Nations system activities for
subregional integration. In addition, there will be
increased clarity with regard to services provided and the
SROs will now play a more active role in: advisory services
and technical cooperation; knowledge-sharing and networking;
and advocacy and consensus-building.



4. The ECA has also changed its planning and programming
framework, whereby planning will begin at the subregional
office level and then build up. As requested by the GA in
resolution 60/235, the strategic framework for this program
includes indicators at the subregional level. The report
also states that the subregional offices will work to improve
partnerships with other subregional actors by: acting as
privileged partners of the regional economic communities;
partnering with subregional intergovernmental organizations,
including regional and subregional technical cooperation
institutions; engaging Member States through UN country
teams; participating in a joint African Union/African
Development Bank/Economic Commission for Africa program on
regional integration; strategic use of regional advisory
services; and other key partnerships. The partnership with
the regional economic communities will include the signing of
partnership agreements with those entities.



5. In order to implement these changes, the ECA proposes to
redeploy 5 professional and 2 local level posts to SROs. The
plan is to ultimately deploy up to 30 percent of ECA staff to
the SROs; currently the percentage is 22.2%. ECA will also
request 9 additional P-4 posts in the 2008-2009 budget.
Eight posts will be at SROs, with one post at headquarters to
coordinate subregional office activity. The
Secretary-General requests the GA to take note of the

SIPDIS
measures mentioned in this report.



6. The report (A/61/544) of the Advisory Committee on
Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) notes that the
changes being proposed in the Secretary-General's report
raise fundamental questions about the respective roles of the
ECA headquarters and subregional offices, as well as their
relationship with other UN entitities in the subregion.
ACABQ urges ECA to "continue to review and define the role of
the SROs with a view to achieving synergies and optimizing
the use of existing resources, with a greater balance between
ECA headquarters and SROs." ACABQ also asks that the number
and level of posts for ECA (including the subregional
offices) be justified in the proposed program budget for the
biennium 2008-2009, including an indication of how existing
capacity is being utilized and the impact of extrabudgetary
funds. The ACABQ notes that the GA may wish to take note of
steps taken to implement OIOS recommendations, without
prejudice to recommendations that ACABQ may make on future

USUN NEW Y 00002140 002 OF 002


proposals for resources and reorganization.



7. On November 6, the reports of the Secretary-General and
ACABQ were introduced in the Fifth Committee. During opening
statements, Nigeria (on behalf of the African Group) said the
ECA could only promote economic and social development
throughout the Africa continent if it had well-equipped,
effective and functioning subregional offices to deliver on
GA expectations and mandates. She said the responsibility
conferred on ECA was not matched with corresponding resources
and expressed concern that, in spite of the interim measures
taken, actual measures to address the very serious issues
faced by ECA were being deferred to 2008-2009, contrary to
the wishes of the GA.



8. South Africa (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China)
also stressed the need to provide adequate resources for
critical areas. The G77, like the African Group, was not
clear on the rationale for postponing critical decisions on
resource allocation to the ECA in the 2008-2009 proposed
budget. She said that was not the approach previously taken
with other critical reforms resulting from the World Summit.
The G77 said mandated activities should be financed from
assessed contributions and the ECA should not be expected to
increase its reliance on voluntary financing for the
implementation of reform measures and other core activities.
The G77 believed it was imperative to ensure that the
development of Africa -- one of the eight main priorities of
the UN -- received not only political support, but also more
concrete and visible action from the Secretariat and GA.
Also supporting the African Group and G77 were Brazil and the
United Republic of Tanzania.



9. Finland (on behalf of the European Union) noted the ECA
had achieved practical results from the OIOS recommendations.
The EU acknowledged the need for continuous review and
follow-up to restructure the work of the ECA and its
subregional offices. She concluded by saying the ECA needed
to continue to define the role of the subregional offices,
and expected some of the issues to be considered next year in
the context of the budget for 2008-2009.



10. COMMENT: The OIOS report considered in the 60th session
commented on a wide range of management problems, most of
which could be implemented without additional resources.
Although the OIOS report stated that there was a lack of
adequate resources for subregional offices, it did not
specify that additional regular budget resources for ECA were
the solution. During negotiations on resolution 60/235, the
U.S. and other like-minded delegations fought to bring
attention to the other issues identified by OIOS and the need
to address these issues before issues of resources are
discussed. The current discussions will likely pick up where
last year's discussions left off, with Western delegations
continuing to seek to understand how OIOS recommendations are
being implemented and how existing resources are being
utilized. In light of the comments made by the G77 and the
African Group during the introduction of the reports, it is
clear that they will be pushing for additional resources for
ECA for this biennium. Unless otherwise instructed, USUN
will seek an endorsement of the ACABQ recommendations. END
COMMENT.
BOLTON