1 May 2019

Vera Songwe Thanks Staff for Busy and Successful First Quarter - Announces Launch of Accountability Exercise

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ECA staff on Tuesday observed a minute of silence for colleagues Hind Jabir and Samira Ezzine who died in a tragic car accident in Rabat, Morocco, earlier this month.

Led by Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe during a town hall meeting, staff at headquarters and sub-regional offices honoured their departed colleagues with silent prayers and contemplation. The two worked in the ECA's North Africa office.

In her presentation, the ES took the opportunity to reflect with staff on key events that have taken place so far this year. These include the African Union Summit and the visit of the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres in January; the annual Conference of Ministers, the Africa Business: Health Forum and the Africa Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD).

The main highlight of the town hall was the launch of the accountability exercise which will ensure there is more transparency and accountability at the ECA as she steers the institution to deliver on the reorientation of the institution and agreed mandates underpinned by the mantra, Ideas to Action.

Ms. Songwe said she will soon share with staff her compact with the Secretary General. The compact comprises the key priorities agreed to between the Executive Secretary and the Secretary-General, which she indicated are a vital component of the accountability culture of the United Nations.

The compact is aligned with the UN System Leadership Framework to include characteristics for senior leaders that are essential to fulfilling the UN's core mandates and will, among other things, enable better communications between the ES and staff.

Ms. Songwe also talked about the re-alignment of work programmes to reflect the compact, countries of focus, and joint work teams. She also spoke about the importance of quarterly presentations and progress updates on activities and expressed her appreciation to all staff for their hard work in the delivery of the ECA's mandate and made special mention of the staff who worked throughout the clock, following the Ethiopian Airlines crash and for putting in place mechanisms for counselling and addressing the attending concerns of those affected.

Staff were also updated on a number of issues, including: the ongoing UN Reforms by the Central African Subregional Director, Antonio Pedro; efforts towards the open space by the Administration Director Carlos Haddad; progress in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by Director Stephen Karingi; and the recent African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development by Deputy Executive Secretary Giovanie Biha.

For his part, Staff Union President, Joseph Baricako paid tribute to the two SRO-NA colleagues, adding a book of condolences had been opened for them. The book will be handed to their families via the North Africa office.

He said the town hall was timely, following the successful Conference of Ministers and other forums adding, "staff await the post mortem assessment and direction for the new quarter, following resolutions agreed on at the meeting"

"I also want to recognise staff who came to us about the open space pilot project and I'm glad that we went to the ES and she listened to our concerns," said the Staff Union President.

Forthcoming meetings the ES and the ECA will take part in include next week's African Union-UN meeting of Principals; the Chief Executives Board (CEB), the AU Summit in Niamey, the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development; AfCFTA Regional Forums; high level dialogue on Financing SGDs in collaboration with UNCDF; and a Regional Workshop on mainstreaming SDGs and Agenda 2063.

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