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Name Economic Commission for Africa
Logo Image:Logo_1.jpg
Geographic Scope Africa
Subject Focus Expertise Sustainable human development
Contact E-mail: ecainfo@uneca.org
URL http://www.uneca.org/
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The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions. ECA's dual role as a regional arm of the UN, and a part of the regional institutional landscape in Africa, positions it well to make unique contributions to member States' efforts to address their development challenges. Its strength derives from its role as the only UN agency mandated to operate at the regional and subregional levels to harness resources and bring them to bear on Africa's priorities.

ECA's work programme focuses on two related and mutually supportive areas:

  • Promoting Regional Integration in support of the African Union vision and priorities: ECA's support to the implementation of AUC's regional integration agenda focuses on undertaking research and policy analysis on regional integration issues, strengthening capacity and providing technical assistance to institutions driving the regional integration agenda, including strengthening and supporting the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and working on a range of trans-boundary initiatives and activities in sectors vital to the regional integration agenda.
  • Meeting Africa's special needs and emerging global challenges: ECA places emphasis on supporting efforts to eradicate poverty, placing African countries on the path of growth and sustainable development, reversing the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process, and accelerating the empowerment of women, to help achieve the MDGs. It aims to provide significant technical support to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and also to promote peer learning and knowledge sharing in a range of development areas.

Within these two pillars, the Commission focuses on the following thematic areas:

  • Regional Integration, Trade and Infrastructure
  • Meeting the MDGs with a special emphasis on Poverty Reduction and Growth, Sustainable Development and Gender
  • Promoting Good Governance and Popular Participation
  • ICT, Science and Technology for Development
  • Statistics and Statistical Development

ECA provides the following services to its member states: policy analysis and advocacy; enhancing partnerships; technical assistance; communication and knowledge sharing; and supporting subregional activities.

Food Security and Sustainable Development Division

The Food Security and Sustainable Development Initiative is a subprogramme which aims to strengthen the capacity of member States to design institutional arrangements and implement national policies and programmes that reinforce the linkages within the nexus of food security, population, environment and human settlements in order to achieve sustainable development, and to contribute to building capacity of African countries to utilize science and technology in achieving sustainable development. Water and sanitation has been identified as a priority area of the subprogramme. Specifically, the subprogramme focuses on the following 4priorities:

  • Strengthening Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) - Africa is seemingly endowed with abundant freshwater resources. However, the distribution of water resources is highly variable in time and space. Thus while some countries in the region have an abundance of water resources, others experience water scarcity and stress. The region’s fast growing population places a high demand on water resources to meet domestic, agricultural and industrial requirements. There is high potential for water resources development but this has been grossly under-utilized due to financial and technological constraints. Due to various human activities, the quantity and quality of the region’s water resources is constantly being depleted, thus placing further stress on an already scarce but vital resource. In response to these growing challenges, the sub-programme will focus on promoting the implementation of the African Water Vision 2025. Strategies will comprise three elements: building human and institutional capacities for implementing (IWRM); assisting Member States, river basin organizations (RBOs) and regional economic communities (RECS) in the development and implementation of integrated river basin and watershed management strategies and plans for the major river/aquifer basins; and ensuring enhanced irrigation development to improve agricultural production and food security through policy dialogue, formulation of basin-wide irrigation development strategies for selected major river and aquifer basins, and disseminating best practices for small-scale irrigation in close collaboration with FAO, IWMI, AfDB and other IGWA member institutions.
  • Improving land resources management for sustainable development
  • Harnessing science and technology for sustainable development
  • Assessing and Monitoring progress on sustainable development

ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development.

Key Resources

See also complete list of WaterWiki-documented UNECA-Publications


  • Reports and Proceedings of the Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water (PANAFCON) (December 2003) - The Pan-African Implementation and Partnership Conference (PANAFCON) was the groundbreaking platform where 40 African Ministers of Water and 1000 other stakeholders met to address the implication of the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) on regional water initiatives, and Africa’s role in the implementation of the outcomes of the Summit. PANAFCON provided an opportunity for African countries, the international community and United Nations agencies to reaffirm their commitments to solving Africa’s water crisis. This document is a compendium of actions, deliberations, commitments and outcomes of the Conference. It is organized in two sections. To give the appropriate context, the first section summarizes Africa’s key water challenges, the Africa Water Vision, factors that may affect the attainment of the Vision, a framework for action as well as milestones and targets.

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Work on the Ground

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See also

External Resources


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