The United Nations system in The Gambia in collaboration with the government of The Gambia on Thursday, 7th February 2013, convened the joint annual review of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) at the Laico Atlantic Hotel in Banjul.
Speaking at the occasion on behalf of the Secretary General and head of Civil Service cum Minister of Presidential Affairs, Alimatou Tambedou-Jawara, Permanent secretary,
Office of the President noted that UNDAF is the overall framework that governs the coordination and implementation of the United Nations System interventions in The Gambia and that it also guides the work of all UN agencies towards a common goal in support of The Gambia's socio-economic development priorities.
She said UNDAF was launched in January 2012 for the period 2012-2016, and that its Policy Committee was established, comprising of the Office of the Secretary General and the Office of the UN systems Resident Coordinator to jointly oversee the overall coordination and to ensure the requisite interface between the different government sectors and the UN agencies.
Madam Tambadou-Jawara noted that this body among other responsibilities is tasked with reviewing the progress towards achieving the UNDAF outcomes as well as providing leadership and guidance.
The framework, she said, also created the UNDAF Steering Committee which consists of Permanent Secretaries of key government Ministries, UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations as well as bilateral and multilateral donors, as its members and that the third Committee constitutes the Thematic Groups for the three UNDAF pillars namely; the Poverty Reduction and Social Protection pillar, the pillar on Basic Social Services and the Governance pillar.
She concluded that the current UNDAF has attained exemplary success, but that that despite all the progress made there are still greater challenges that lie ahead.
Delivering a statement on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Babagana Ahmadu, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Country representative in The Gambia said this annual UNDAF review meeting offers them all the opportunity to take account of the joint UN System activities for the year 2012 with partners in terms of their successes and challenges and avails the chance to forge a way ahead.
The UN Resident Coordinator said the annual review is a critical instrument to transform the UN's work in the field and it is this same aspiration and to see that the UN perform at its best,brought them together in that forum and that for the UN Country Team in The Gambia he said, it is also crucial to strengthen the accountability of their work, and to measure the real progress of the implementation of their programs and projects under the leadership of the Government.
The UN Resident Coordinator said it is clear that they need to work together to be able to achieve aid effectiveness and to support the efforts of The Government to improve development performance and in this respect he said, it is very important to bring down the transaction costs for both the UN and the Government and to reduce duplication, overlaps and increase the effectiveness of aid coordination and development assistance.
The UN Resident Coordinator concluded that the UNDAF consists of three closely linked priority pillars, of poverty reduction and social protection; enhancing the social services and strengthening good governance which are also the key targets of the National Program for Accelerated Growth and Employment (PAGE) 20 12- 2015 and that UNDAF is not only in line with the national development priorities as outlined in the PAGE and in the Vision 2020, but it is also aligned to the UN principles, notably the human rights-based approach, gender equality and the development of national capacities.