Modelo Regional de Naciones Unidas Zona Sur 2014 - Guide for the Delegate ECOSOC - Economic and Social Council

Modelo Regional de Naciones Unidas Zona Sur 2014 - Guide for the Delegate ECOSOC - Economic and Social Council
Modelo Regional de
             Naciones Unidas
              Zona Sur 2014
      Guide for the Delegate
ECOSOC – Economic and Social Council

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                         Economic and Social Council – Development in Africa
Topic A: Development in Africa
                                                                         by Tomás Listrani Blanco

            Introduction to the issue, its historic evolution and current situation

       Meet Africa

         Africa, the planet's 2nd largest continent and the second most-populous continent (after Asia)
includes (54) individual countries, as well as Western Sahara, a member state of the African Union
whose statehood is disputed by Morocco. With just over a billion people (a 2009 estimate) it accounts
for just over 14% of the world's human population. It also contains the Nile River system, the world's
longest, and the massive Sahara Desert, the world's largest one.

         Africa is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Suez Canal and the Red
Sea along the Sinai Peninsula to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast, and the Atlantic
Ocean to the west. The continent straddles the equator and encompasses numerous climate areas,
and is the only continent to stretch from the northern temperate to southern temperate zones.

      Africa, particularly central eastern Africa, is widely thought by science to be the origin of
humans as evidenced by the discovery of the earliest hominids and their ancestors.

        Despite all the wealthy resources in its possession, Africa is the world's poorest continent.
Today, 300 million African people live on less than $1 US per day. The incidence of extreme poverty
never seems to go down, despite decades of work by African governments and NGOs, outside NGOs,
and foreign government aid programs.

        Thematic Axis 1 - The causes of conflict and the promotion of lasting peace
                      and sustainable development in Africa.

       Root Causes of Problems

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Poverty, famine, AIDS, political corruption, lack of respect for rule of law, human rights
violations are all commonly heard Africa’s problems. But… what are the concrete causes of the current
situation in Africa?

       The Chaos of European Colonialism

        European colonialism had a devastating impact on Africa. The artificial boundaries created
by colonial rulers as they ruled and finally left Africa had the effect of bringing together many
different ethnic people within a nation that did not reflect, nor have (in such a short period of time)
the ability to accommodate or provide for, the cultural and ethnic diversity. The freedom from
imperial powers was, and is still, not a smooth transition.

        In the 1880s European nations were bickering over themselves about the spoils of Africa. In
order to prevent further conflict between them, they convened at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885
to lay down the rules on how they would partition up Africa between themselves.

       Between the 1880s and World War II, the European ‘Scramble for Africa’ resulted in the
adding of around one-fifth of the land area of the globe to its overseas colonial possessions.

         Colonial administrations started to take hold. In some areas, Europeans were encouraged to
settle, thus creating dominant minority societies. France even planned to incorporate Algeria into the
French state; such was the dominance and confidence of colonial rulers at the time. In other cases,
the classic “divide and conquer” techniques had to be used to get local people to help administer
colonial administrations. In most areas colonial administrations did not have the manpower or
resources to fully administer the territory and had to rely on local power structures to help them,
which was very easy as the natives were too willing to help for their ends.

         Colonialism ended as European countries started fighting against each other for the world
(the World Wars) and in effect, weakened in the process (allowing the United States and Soviet
Union to eventually gain in immense power. They would spend another 50 years continuing that
fight). Colonized people saw their chance to break free as they realized that Europeans was not as
invincible as they claimed. However, in most areas European control remained relatively strong until
the 1950s.

        What is more, we must remember that the European agreements that had carved up Africa
into states paid little attention to cultural and ethnic boundaries and ethnic groups had little
opportunity to form political alliances or accommodations under repressive colonial rule. In some
parts of Africa, slavery caused by colonial administration had almost erased previous cultures and
communities with an “education” and “civilizing” program that gave Africans only a minimal skill set
that served European colonial interests. Rebuilding from decades and centuries of this has been a
tough struggle.

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Consequences of the European Imperialism in Africa

        Colonialism had transformed an entire continent: vast plantations and crop-based economies
were set up throughout. Even as the European Empires forsaked, they left behind supportive elites
that continued siphoning Africa’s wealth, causing a major impact on the economics of the region
today. It seems that independence of the colonies has suited the interests of the industrial world for
bigger profits at less cost. Independence made it cheaper to exploit them. They became neo-

        International trade and economic arrangements have done little to benefit the African people
and has further exacerbated the problem. IMF/World Bank policies have aggressively opened up
African nations with disastrous effects, including the requirements to cut back on health, education
(being AIDS a huge problem), public services and so on, while growing food and extracting
resources for export primarily, thus continuing the colonial era arrangement by increasing the
already immense burden of debt, which has further stuck Africa’s ability to develop.

         Moreover, throughout the Cold War major powers such as the U.S.A, the Soviet Union and
others supported various regimes and dictatorships. Some possibly promising leaders in the early
days of the independence movements throughout the Third World were overthrown.
The proliferation of small arms in the region when the Cold War ended has helped fuel many
conflicts. Africa has become an attractive and profitable dumping ground for nations and arm
manufacturers eager to get rid of weapon stocks made superfluous by the end of the Cold War or by
technological developments.

       The Poorest Continent

        Unfortunately, the quandary doesn't result from just one or two causes. The current situation
in Africa is caused by several factors at work, all interacting with one another, and making the
problem of entrenched scarcity extremely difficult to solve. Among the most relevant issues are the
following matters:

        Corruption and Poor Governance (coupled with Dictatorial Regimes) Poverty can only be
fought in the presence of strong institutions, and equitable distribution of resources. This requires a
non-corrupt government. However, in Africa, programs designed to fight poverty are not fully
implemented because the funds end up in the hands of corrupt individuals, who pocket the majority.
And because of poor governance, those in authority have failed to apprehend the corrupt. This
creates an imbalance in society and leads to more poverty because you end up with a few influential
and powerful individuals oppressing the poor (who are the majority).

        Poor Land Utilization In most African countries, people own large chunks of land that are
underutilized or sometimes not even used at all. This is partly because they are either not educated
on what to do with the land, or because some people are just stuck in their rudimentary ways of
doing things. Some people just use the land to grow crops which are just enough for subsistence
survival. Nothing goes to the market for sale.
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Civil Wars and unending Political Conflicts Africa is popular for its civil wars, either between
neighboring countries or within the same country. Such incidences render war zones unproductive,
in addition to scaring away investment that would otherwise help foster economic development and
create employment, which would help people get out poverty.

         Poor Infrastructure Africa has a very poor infrastructure set up. They have poor roads,
railways, water systems, etc, yet these are some of the major drivers of economic development. As
a result, only a few areas with better facilities (such as urban areas) have developed over the other
(rural) areas, which are occupied by the largest percentage of the population.

        Diseases and poor Health Facilities Another leading cause of poverty in Africa is the
prevalence of diseases (such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, TB etc). When a household is affected by any of
the diseases, the little resources are spent on treating the sick. In a worst case scenario where the
bread winner dies, those who are left behind have no resources to support themselves, thus leading
a poor lifestyle. And the situation is worsened by poor health facilities.

        The World Bank and IMF Policies The loans given out by the World Bank and IMF (the
International Monetary Fund) have contributed to the poverty problem in Africa. Such loans come
with strict conditions, which usually required governments to adjust some of their economic
decisions. For instance, the requirement to reduce total government spending has affected major
social sectors such as education, health and infrastructure, which are drivers of economic

        In addition, the two institutions are controlled by the richer countries (USA, Germany, UK,
etc) who maintain the majority of the voting rights. Therefore they, in a way, determine the decisions
of poor countries. It should not be surprising to note that some of the economic decisions for poor
countries are crafted in foreign lands. Most of these policies are not applicable to all countries, and
this greatly undermines the local economies in Africa. For instance, reduced spending policies tend
to reduce wage earnings for majority of the people. The result: less earning and more poverty.

        Supporting Education The World Bank’s support to Africa’s education sector influences other
partners’ contributions and scales up government-owned programs. In fiscal 2009, IDA commitments
for the education sector and training amounted to $697 million, up from $368 million the previous
year. In addition, the Bank processed grants from the Education for All Fast Track Initiative Catalytic
Fund amounting to $359 million to support basic education in nine countries in fiscal 2009, bringing
the total number of African countries that benefit from the Catalytic Fund to 20, and the total amount
of grants to $1.4 billion.

        Analytical work, non-lending technical assistance, and policy dialogue complement the
Bank’s IDA/IBRD operations in Africa. For example, the New Economy Skills in Africa Program,
which initially focused on information and communications technology, was launched in eight African
countries—Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania.
Building on the study Accelerating Catch Up: Tertiary Education for Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa,

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the region launched a tertiary education program that will help countries advance policy dialogue on
higher-education financing.

          Responding to Climate Change Africa is facing an annual loss of 1 to 2 percent annual GDP
because of climate variability. Global temperature increases are expected to lead to reduced rainfall,
water shortages, and compressed growing periods in Western and Southern Africa, and to increased
rainfall, heavier flooding, and fiercer and more frequent cyclones in Northeast Africa.

        In fiscal 2009, the Bank prepared a strategy to better integrate climate change in its activities
in Africa, and started mainstreaming this strategy into investments and analytical work, initially in
Ethiopia and Mozambique.

        Through a US$250 million Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the World Bank continues to
encourage more investment from public and private sector bodies and governments of developing
countries to stop deforestation in return for access to carbon credits. Forests are excluded under the
Kyoto Protocol, although deforestation, especially in the tropics, contributes about 20 percent of
man-made global carbon emissions.

       Corporate interests and activities in Africa have also contributed to exploitation, conflict and
poverty for ordinary people while enriching African and foreign elites. The easy access to natural
resources to maintain and fuel rebellions (combined with corporate interests) makes for a wicked

       Lack of Human Rights The need of support for basic human rights in the region, plus a lack
of sustaining institutions, as well as the international community’s modest political will to do
something about it and help towards building peace and stability has also been a factor.

           Thematic Axis 2 - New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD):
               progress in its application and international support.

        Background on NEPAD

          At the dawn of the new millennium, African Heads of State and Government pledged –
through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – to take responsibility for the future
of their continent and also to establish a new relationship with bilateral development partners and
multilateral organizations based on mutual trust, respect and accountability. NEPAD was adopted in
2001 and ratified in 2002, however its origins can be traced to three independent but related
initiatives on the continent, namely: the Omega Plan, initiated by President Abdoulaye Wade of
Senegal in January 2001; the Millennium Africa Recovery Plan (MAP), spearheaded by President
Thabo Mbeki of South Africa in 2001; and the New African Initiative, which emerged out of a merger
of the Omega Plan and the MAP and was subsequently transformed into NEPAD.

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NEPAD is the first comprehensive development approach initiated, implemented and owned
by African governments, with the full support of the international community. It provides a vision of
the kind of society and economy that African governments want to build. Furthermore, it is not only a
development framework, philosophy or vision, but also a development programme with concrete
projects geared towards addressing Africa’s development needs and challenges. The broad long-
term objectives of NEPAD are to eradicate poverty, put Africa on a sustainable development path,
and halt the marginalization of Africa. In the NEPAD framework document, African leaders identified
the following issues and priority areas as crucial for achieving the broad objectives of NEPAD:

        (a)      Establishing conditions for sustainable development through maintaining peace and
security and also improving economic, corporate and political governance;

      (b)     Promoting investment and policy reforms in priority areas such as infrastructure,
human resource development, agriculture, the environment, and science and technology; and

       (c)       Strengthening the mobilization of resources through, for example, boosting
domestic savings as well as official development assistance and private capital flows, reducing
external debt, and diversification of production and exports.

         In its resolution 57/7 of 4 November 2002, the United Nations General Assembly requested
all United Nations departments and agencies to coordinate and align their work on Africa with the
priorities of NEPAD. The United Nations also set up the Regional Coordination Mechanism to
enhance collaboration, coordination and coherence in United Nations support to the African Union
and its NEPAD programme. Furthermore, the United Nations, in collaboration with the African Union
Commission, designed the Ten-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union to ensure
that United Nations support is in line with the needs of African governments. The United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has also been requested to strengthen support
to NEPAD. For example, in the Accra Declaration and the Accra Accord, member States of
UNCTAD agreed to strengthen support to NEPAD and, more generally, to the regional integration
process in Africa.

        The year 2011 marked the end of the first decade of the adoption and implementation of
NEPAD. Therefore, this executive session in 2012 provides an opportunity for member States of
UNCTAD to examine the performance of NEPAD as it enters into its second decade of
implementation, with a view to identifying what has worked, areas where more work needs to be
done, existing opportunities and challenges, lessons learned, and how to move the process forward,
paying particular attention to how UNCTAD could contribute more to the process. Against this
backdrop, this note provides background information on NEPAD. It also highlights some of the
achievements of NEPAD over the last ten years and identifies the key development challenges
facing African countries. Finally, it discusses how UNCTAD could support African countries in
addressing these development challenges, and presents some issues for discussion. A summary of
those follow:

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Performance and Achievements of NEPAD

         Assessing the overall performance of NEPAD is challenging, because it is difficult to isolate
NEPAD’s contributions to observed economic outcomes from those of other programmes and
policies. Nevertheless, the available data indicate that Africa’s economic growth performance in the
decade that NEPAD was introduced (2000–2009) was significantly better than in the decade before
its introduction (1990–1999). More specifically, the annual average growth rate of real output in
Africa rose from 2.7 per cent in the period from 1990 to 1999, to 5 per cent in the period from 2000
to 2009. Furthermore, the growth rate of real output per capita increased from 0 per cent to 2.6 per
cent over the same period. It should be noted, however, that the improvement in Africa’s growth
performance in the period from 2000 to 2009 has not had a significant impact on either employment
or poverty reduction. In this context, one of the challenges facing African leaders in the
implementation of NEPAD is how to ensure that growth is accompanied by employment creation and
poverty reduction.

        NEPAD has also made some progress in the area of agriculture. Through the
Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), NEPAD is slowly laying the
foundation for higher agricultural productivity and output in Africa. As a result of CAADP, African
countries are paying more attention to the agriculture sector. For example, eight countries have
achieved the 10 per cent target budget allocation to agriculture stipulated in CAADP, and nine
countries have achieved the target average annual growth rate of agricultural output of at least 6 per
cent. NEPAD has also taken measures to develop infrastructure in Africa, which is crucial for
agricultural development in the region. For example, the Programme for Infrastructure Development
in Africa, launched at the 2010 summit of the African Union in Kampala, presents a coherent
strategy for the development of regional and continental infrastructure in Africa, thereby laying the
foundation for higher agricultural productivity and output in the region.

         Another achievement of NEPAD is that it has put Africa on the global agenda and has also
galvanized international support for the region. As a result of the adoption of NEPAD, the Group of
Eight (G8) launched the Africa Action Plan in June 2002 and made commitments to support the
implementation of NEPAD. Since then, there has been a significant increase in official development
assistance (ODA) to Africa. In particular, total ODA flows to Africa increased from $21.4 billion in
2002 to $47.9 billion in 2010 while bilateral flows from the OECD Development Assistance
Committee (DAC) members rose from $13.4 billion to $29.3 billion over the same period. Despite
this increase, current aid flows from the DAC to Africa are still below the commitments made to the
region. In this regard, there is a need for G8 countries to fulfil their existing commitments to Africa.
The adoption of NEPAD was also a key factor in the decision of G8 leaders to allow selected African
leaders to participate in G8 summits, and subsequently in meetings of the G20, thereby ensuring
that African development issues remain on the global agenda.

        NEPAD has also made some progress in the area of economic and political governance.
According to the 2011 African Economic Outlook, the economic environment in several countries in
the region has improved, particularly in areas such as tax reform, access to credit, and enforcement
of contracts. Furthermore, in the area of political governance, significant progress has been made,
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particularly on electoral issues and processes. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM),
adopted by the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee in March 2003,
has contributed to the recent improvements in economic and political governance in the region by
acting as an agency of restraint on government actions. Thirty-three countries have joined the APRM
and fourteen have completed the process and are at various stages of implementation of the
recommendations of the review.

        Another achievement of NEPAD is that it has compelled the United Nations to take actions to
enhance coherence in the provision of support to Africa. Since the endorsement of NEPAD in United
Nations General Assembly resolution 57/7 of 4 November 2002, NEPAD has become widely
accepted as the framework and mechanism through which the United Nations and the international
community should support Africa’s development efforts. The United Nations has also established the
Regional Consultation Mechanism (RCM), thereby enhancing coherence as well as coordination in
the provision of support to Africa. It should be noted that membership of the RCM is not restricted to
United Nations agencies. In particular, regional organizations such as the African Development Bank
and the African regional economic communities (RECs) are now members of the RCM.

         Despite the progress that has been made so far in the implementation of the programmes
and activities of NEPAD, it is becoming clear that African countries are far from achieving their
ultimate goals of eradicating poverty, putting the region on a sustainable development path, and
halting the marginalization of the continent in the global economy. Some of the reasons for the slow
progress in achieving the overall objectives of NEPAD include (a) low levels of human and financial
resources; (b) capacity constraints; (c) coordination problems between the NEPAD secretariat and
the RECs; (d) inadequate involvement or lack of involvement of important local stakeholders in the
process; (e) weak infrastructure; and (f) the absence of quantifiable benchmarks for monitoring and

        Addressing Africa’s development challenges

       African countries have to deal with several development       challenges, ranging from poverty,
unemployment, commodity dependence and food insecurity, to           urbanization, climate change and
vulnerability to external shocks. African countries are likely       to make significant progress in
addressing these development challenges if the efforts of             African governments and their
development partners focus on the following key policy areas:

         Promoting structural transformation. African countries need high, inclusive and sustained
economic growth in order to create employment and reduce poverty. The history of modern
economic development indicates that structural transformation is required in order for this to happen.
In particular, the countries that have made significant progress in creating employment and reducing
poverty have been those that have successfully gone through a process of structural transformation,
involving a reallocation of resources and factors of production from low- to high-productivity activities
both across sectors and within sectors.

        Unfortunately, most African countries are yet to go through this essential process of

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structural transformation and reverse the recent trend of deindustrialization. For example, the share
of manufacturing value-added in Africa’s gross domestic output fell from about 15 per cent in 1990 to
11 per cent in 2008. Therefore, one of the critical issues that African countries have to address in the
short-to-medium term is how to halt this process of deindustrialization and increase the role of
manufacturing and modern services in the economy.

         Strengthening domestic resource mobilization. Mobilization of domestic resources is also
crucial for addressing the development challenges facing African countries. It permits countries to
finance important development projects and also to have national ownership of the development
process and outcome. Developmental States are needed in Africa to strengthen resource
mobilization and to channel it into productive investments. They can also ensure that domestic firms
have access to long-term finance, particularly in countries that face severe borrowing constraints. In
this context, the difficulties that African countries encountered in accessing external capital during
the recent global economic crises should be taken as a wake-up call to reduce overreliance on
external capital for financing development. African countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan
Africa, have low domestic savings. The annual average ratio of savings to GDP in sub-Saharan
Africa fell from 20 per cent over the period from 1980 to 1989, to 16 per cent over the period from
2000 to 2009. African countries should strengthen domestic resource mobilization, for example by
boosting growth, broadening the tax base, reforming tax and customs administrations, and stemming
capital flight.

         Boosting regional integration. Regional integration will play a key role in enlarging Africa’s
market size, and in boosting the competitiveness of African economies and enhancing their capacity
to integrate into the global economy. Regional integration can also contribute to the development of
infrastructure and support Africa’s industrialization efforts. Although regional integration has been on
the agenda of African countries for decades, the level of integration in the region is still very low. For
example, intra-African trade in the region is only about 10 per cent of total trade. Some of the
reasons for the low level of regional integration in Africa include lack of diversification, weak
infrastructure, high tariff and non-tariff barriers, and insufficient implementation of regional integration
agreements. Recently, African leaders have taken some measures to strengthen regional
integration. For example, at the eighteenth African Union summit held in January 2012, African
leaders adopted a plan to create a Continental Free Trade Area in the region. If the plan is
implemented, it will boost intra-African trade significantly.

        Strengthening South–South cooperation. South–South cooperation can contribute to Africa’s
development efforts through, for example, increasing the resources available for development in the
region, diversifying the region’s export markets, and providing access to modern technologies.
UNCTAD (2010) suggests that trade is the most significant channel of cooperation between Africa
and non-African developing countries. The share of non-African developing countries in Africa’s
trade increased from about 15 per cent in 1995 to 29 per cent in 2008. While Africa’s growing
relationship with other developing countries has had some positive impacts, it may also expose
domestic firms to more competition and reinforce commodity dependence. In this context, African
countries should seek to take advantage of the opportunities provided by South–South cooperation
and to minimize the risks.

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Developing infrastructure. The poor state of infrastructure in Africa is a major factor inhibiting
structural transformation and the attainment of sustained economic growth in the region. It is
estimated that Africa requires about $93 billion per year to meet its infrastructure spending needs,
and that the region loses one percentage point of per capita income growth each year as a result of
poor infrastructure. The poor state of infrastructure increases transactions costs and makes it difficult
for domestic firms in the region to compete in global export markets. Therefore, lifting the
infrastructure constraint is a necessary condition for structural transformation and growth in Africa.

         Given the binding resource and capacity constraints facing African countries, the focus of
African policymakers in the short-to-medium term should be on the priority areas identified above. It
is worth noting that most of these issues are already on the NEPAD priority list. However, the current
priority list of NEPAD is so broad that these critical issues are not receiving sufficient attention and
resources. In this regard, there is a need for African countries to reassess the current priorities of
NEPAD and to consider narrowing its focus.

         Thematic Axis 3 - Application and monitoring of the United Nations
 Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious
        Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD).

        Background of the UNCCD

         Desertification has been a subject of global concern since long. It is estimated that over 250
million peoples are affected directly and with over one billion people are at a risk. Desertification
results from complex interactions among physical, chemical, biological, socio-economic and political
problems that were local, national and global in nature. Realizing this, the international community
recognized it as a major economic, social and environmental problem.

         The formal expression of global concern on desertification starts in late seventies. Initially in
1977, a United Nations Conference on Desertification (UNCOD) was convened in Nairobi, Kenya
which came up with the United Nations Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (PACD). However,
the implementation of PACD was far from satisfactory. But UNCOD was an outcome of extensive
studies and consultations undertaken at the global , regional and local level involving scientist, policy
and decision makers and experts from R&D institutions and other organizations from all over the
world. Assessment made by UNEP indicates that desertification continued to spread.
         The UN Commission also observed (Sustainable Development Report 1988) that
desertification had become one of the most serious environmental and socio - economic problems of
the world. The World Atlas also indicates that Desertification / the problem of land degradation had
continued over the preceding 20 years. The UN Conference on Environment and Development also
highlighted the problems of desertification and recommended that United Nations General Assembly
should establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INCD) to prepare a Convention to
Combat Desertification in those countries experiencing serious drought and / or desertification,
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particularly in Africa.

        As a result, the question of how to tackle desertification which was a major concern for the
1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (NUCED), and it was held in Rio
de Janeiro. As a follow up action, a committee was established in early 1993 and developed the text
of the Convention. The UNCCD was adopted in Paris on 17 June 1994 and opened for signature on
14-15 October 1994. Over 193 countries are Parties as at August 2014. The conference of the
parties (COP) is the supreme governing body of the convention.

        General objectives of the UNCCD

      The UNCCD marked a turning point in international policy demonstrating a growing
awareness of the importance assigned to the problems of desertification.

         The Convention clearly emphasizes that the populations who suffer directly from
desertification, and who therefore understand the fragility of their environment better than anyone,
must be closely involved with decisions that influence their way of life. The Convention aims to
combat desertification and ease the effects of drought in those countries seriously affected by
drought and/or desertification.

        The objectives of the UNCCD seeks to improve land productivity, to restore (or preserve)
land, to establish more efficient water usage and to introduce sustainable development in the
affected areas and more generally, improve the living conditions of those populations affected by
drought and desertification.

          The UNCCD is particularly committed to actively encouraging the participation of local
populations to respond to government decisions made on desertification issues. The UNCCD seeks
to facilitate co-operation between the different administrative sectors of countries of the North and
South while paying particular attention to the needs of developing countries.

         Focusing action on Africa: this continent is the most severely affected by drought and
desertification. The African countries were the first to rally together to combat the problem in
partnership with other countries in the world. Facilitating access to new technologies, knowledge and
its transfer among populations to alleviate the effects of drought and to combat desertification, are
the major challenges facing the Convention.

        Specific objectives of the UNCCD

        Among the specific objectives of the UNCCD are:

       Promoting sustainable development: Sustainable development satisfies present human
needs in an equitable way without compromising the needs of future generations. Thus, if one tree is
cut down, then another should replace it, thereby connecting the economy and the environment in a
way that is both harmonious and well balanced. Put another way, it is essential to consider the best
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way to use resources in the long term without exhausting its supply.

       A variety of activities help achieve this objective such as limiting population growth and not
carelessly wasting resources, so that our children can benefit from them too.

       Developing education and training: It is important that every individual has access to
information and understands the action proposals communicated by the media and literature.
Reading and writing skills provide people the opportunity to become better informed and help them
understand and organize projects that combat desertification. Education therefore enables them to
share knowledge and better manage the available resources.

        Measuring human development: Sustainable development reflects on the well-being of
human beings. The progress of human development can be measured by observing the advantages
of    populations     to    such      benefits   as    education,    health    and       income.
An indicator helps determine the state of human development in each country (generally, the HDI).
By applying the yearly calculations to the country it is possible to see whether there is an
improvement or deterioration in human development.

         Creating an enabling environment, particularly for affected countries, and the people of the
dry lands, living conditions must be right if desertification is to be tackled effectively.
It is hard for governments or local people to give much attention to the crisis if they are constantly
preoccupied with economic and/or physical survival. Local people need to have secure and
equitable rights to the land they tend, as they will be less willing to look after the land if they feel that
it may be taken away from them. The Convention recognizes the need for an enabling environment
making        it    possible       for     them       to     pursue        sustainable       development.
Combating desertification can only be achieved in the long term. Changes should be introduced at
the international level as well as the local level.


        It is undeniable the poor governance, corruption and mismanagement in Africa. The legacy
of colonialism, the support of the Powers for repressive regimes during the Cold War, the creation of
the debt trap, the massive failure of structural adjustment programmes imposed by the IMF and
World Bank and the deeply unfair rules on international trade have all created the conditions for
Africa’s current situation. Its overriding responsibility must be to put its own house in order, and to
end the unjust policies that are inhibiting Africa’s development. Although recent multilateral efforts
(such as NEPAD and UNCCD) have tackled many of these problems, the path towards a stability
and development is never an easy one, and Africa has still a long track ahead of itself.

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Trouble-shooter questions

               Was my delegation an Imperial Power or a Colony? Investigate.
               How is my country related to African stability and development? Look for examples.
               Is regional integration in Africa the best way to boost democracy and development?
Or are international institutions?
               What are the challenges, opportunities, and lessons learned in the implementation of
               What is needed to accelerate progress in achieving the objectives of NEPAD and
how can UNCTAD assist?
               How can the United Nations system strengthen collaboration, coherence and
coordination in providing support to NEPAD?
               What should be the role of African regional economic communities and other local
stakeholders in the implementation of NEPAD?
               How can the UNCCD be enhanced?
               Does my country support UNNCD directly?
               Has my delegation experienced the consequences of desertification and/or drought?
What policies were implemented so as to address the problem?

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Useful websites

                 OneWorld Africa, part of the network:
          brings news reports from all over the continent:
                 Human Rights Watch reports and articles on Africa:
                 Amnesty International reports and articles on Africa:
                 The Africa Action provides a lot of information and aims to widen the policy debate on African
                 The afrol web site is an African portal with lots of information on many aspects of Africa. It features
daily news, background information, and thousands of links to all African related services:
                 Research & Teaching on Human Rights, Gender Issues & Democracy in Southern Africa is a
network dedicated to human rights in the region:
                 World Service section on Africa and the Middle East:
                 News from Africa:
                 The International Crisis Group on Africa:
                 African Centres for Peace Education and Training (ACPET), from the Canadian Centres for
Teaching Peace provides many articles and links on issues to do with Africa:
                 “Africa’s Frontiers in Flux” although from 1999, is an interesting article from le Monde Diplomatique,
about the migrations of people, the disintegration of states and the impact of globalization on its potential future:
                 Africa Files is a network of volunteers relaying African perspectives and alternative analyses to
promote justice and human rights:
                 The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) is a South African-
based NGO working throughout Africa on conflict resolution issues:
                 African countries information:
                 African countries maps:
                 Africa Video by the World Bank:
                Economic Commission for Africa (2007). Challenges and Prospects in the Implementation of
NEPAD. Report by the RCM-Africa secretariat.
                Economic Commission for Africa (2012). Report on United Nations system-wide support to the
African Union and its NEPAD programme. E/ECA/COE/31/14. Addis Ababa. 10 February.
                NEPAD and African Union (2001). The New Partnership for Africa’s Development.October.
                UNCTAD (2010). Economic Development in Africa Report 2010. South–South Cooperation: Africa
and the New Forms of Development Partnership. United Nations publication. Sales no. E.10.II.D.13. New York and
                United Nations (2011a). New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Ninth consolidated progress
report on implementation and international support. Report of the Secretary-General. A/66/202. 28 July.
                 United Nations (2011b). NEPAD: Building foundations for a new Africa. Africa Renewal. December.

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