Tuesday, 19 June 2018 13:59

Rwanda has made significant social and economic progress over the past 20 years. Building on an elaborated set of long- and medium-term development strategies the country has maintained economic growth on average at rates of 5-10% since 1995 and achieved a large part of the Millennium Development Goals (e.g. education, health, and missing MDG1 only slightly).

At the outset of this positive development trajectory following the end of the genocide in 1994, Rwanda was highly dependant on Official Development Assistance, which, although significantly reduced by 2014 still makes up close to 40% of the national budget. In addition, in 2015, about 15% of external resources stemmed from South-South and Non-DAC cooperation.

The large number of development partners and of funds dedicated to specific development purposes required substantive management efforts from the young administration and has driven the set up for an innovative development finance coordination architecture in order to ensure that external finance is aligned to and promotes national development priorities. Up to now this architecture inspires countries and development partners in the region.

A pioneer in development effectiveness on the continent, Rwanda has a well-established National Aid Policy (2006) and development cooperation architecture, including a sound mechanism for assessing the performance of development partners (DPAF) which takes place annually. Performance is measured against 14 effectiveness indicators in line with the national Aid Effectiveness Action Plan and the global effectiveness agenda (Paris Declaration, Busan Monitoring Framework). This review is published together with the review of the Government performance, which is is assessed annually in line with the national development strategy. 

The DPAF and the Division of Labour (DoL) between development partners (DPs), which requires that DPs work in no more than 3 sectors, have been instrumental in introducing a behavioural change among DPs.

A cabinet-level Aid Policy Implementation Committee provides high-level oversight and strategic direction in the area, while the Development Partners Coordination Group brings together the Governments, DPs, CSOs and private sectoral for high level dialogue. At the sectoral level, the dialogue between the government and partners is organized through Sector Working Groups (SWGs) which are jointly lead by a  lead ministry and a DP.  

Through its Development Assistance Database (DAD) the government collects official development finance data from development partners and publishes annual official reports .

In view of the shifts in the development finance landscape over the past years and an increasing share of South-South  and private sector resources, the Government of Rwanda has proactively developed its South-South Co-operation Policy, is working on the implementation of a private sector financing strategy and on the development of a new DPAF that can measure "beyond aid partnerships" in the areas of trade, taxation, FDI, PPPs, etc. 

Rwanda has willingly shared lessons learnt from the implementation of these development finance management tools with  other countries. Every year the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning hosts delegations from peer ministries to learn about best practices in making sure effectiveness principles are respected at national level.  To name only a few, delegations from Bangladesh, The Gambia, Malawi, Sudan and Madagascar have  visited Rwanda's aid management institutions and learned about best practices to ensure coordination,  alignment and results to national development priorities and the monitoring and accountability of DP interventions. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018 12:45

Mauritius faces several challenges to gender equality and women's representation at Board Level.

In line with Mauritius Vision 2030, and with the objective to promote women's descriptive and substantive representation, a Parliamentary Gender Caucus has been established at the level of the National Assembly in March 2017. Strategic planning exercises are inspired from best practices identified in other countries in the region.

The percentage of women in formal politics in Mauritius is around 12% (2015), while the last study of 2003 on women’s representation at Board Level in Mauritius remained at 7%. The Government of Mauritius had adopted in 2008 a National Gender Policy Framework that called upon all Ministries to formulate their respective sector specific gender policy. As at date all Ministries have in place their gender policies with an allocated budget of USD 6,500 for implementation of gender specific programmes.

Nevertheless, several challenges to gender equality and women's representation remain :

1)Neither the status of implementation of gender policies nor the status of gender equality in the private sector have so far been addressed.

2)The Concluding Comments of CEDAW have identified a number of areas for redress to achieve gender equality and equity in Mauritius and promote and protect women’s human rights.

3)The percentage of women in higher echelons of decision making needs to be addressed for their substantive representation at the level of Parliament.

4) The capacity of gender focal points in sectoral ministries is also limited in terms of their expertise or skills in gender mainstreaming in policies and programmes as well as in gender responsive budgeting processes

5) In addition, the number of reported cases of violence is currently on the rise and there is a need for a coordinated and holistic approach from all stakeholders to address the scourge of violence

The Vision 2030 of Mauritius provides the overall framework for action for sustainable development.
A Parliamentary Gender Caucus has been established at the Level of the National Assembly of Mauritius in March 2017 following an amendment to the Rules and Procedures and Standing Order of Parliament, with the support of UNDP.

The overall vision of the Caucus is the attainment of gender equality, through inter alia, enabling cross-party collaboration to advocate for gender sensitivity in Parliament; acting as a watchdog for the implementation of sectoral gender policies; commissioning of research on salient gender issues and building capacity of Members of Parliament to mainstream gender in bills, debates and other processes of the Legislature.

Activities have been launched through the commissioning by the Gender Caucus of a participatory gender auditing exercise in both the public and private sector that assesses the status of gender equality, and identifies gaps and challenges for redress. The support of the Private sector has been sought from an Umbrella Organisation regrouping around 1200 private firms.

The Gender Caucus has also commissioned a study on the sociological profiling of perpetrators of domestic violence to be able to address the root causes of intimate partner violence. As a result of this study, with technical support from UNDP, an online Domestic Violence Information System is currently set up at the level of the Executive.

To ensure long term sustainability in line with the national development objectives, the Gender Caucus is currently in the process of formulating its strategic plan, with the support of UNDP, and will be inspired from best practices from Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi, as well as other countries of the SADC and the SADC Regional Women Parliamentary Forum.

Friday, 27 April 2018 00:00

Wildlife crime, human-wildlife conflict, restricted wildlife movements, fire management and misguided land-use are among the most pressing issues currently affecting Namibia and its four (4) neighbouring countries: Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Namibia recently launched its fifth National Development Plan (NDP 5) in 2017. NDP 5 encourages collaboration with regional neighbours on common environmental challenges.

In response to addressing the challenges at hand, the 5 countries have formally agreed to form a Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), referred to as Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) that aims to enhance their capacities to jointly deal with the current problems.

Covering over 520,000 km2, the KAZA TFCA is the largest transfrontier conservation area at the global level, which is a collaboration between five (5) partner countries: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe that are aiming to maintain ecological integrity across a multiple-use landscape. KAZA TFCA is biodiversity rich and is home to the largest concentration of elephants in the world. It comprises more than 20 National Parks, 85 Forest Reserves, 22 Conservancies, 11 Sanctuaries, 103 Wildlife Management Areas, and 11 Game Management Areas

Today, the most common challenges facing the KAZA TFCAs, particularly on the Namibian side are: poaching, human-wildlife conflict, excessive burning, restricted wildlife movements along the Botswana-Namibia border, lack of accurate and detailed land-use information for the Wildlife Dispersal Areas (WDAs) and limited transboundary infrastructure.

Many communities within the KAZA TFCA highly depend on the natural resources (land, rivers and forests) with their livelihoods. Access to these resources, however, is limited and specifically in Namibia, communities feel restricted one the use of land. This situation exacerbates their vulnerability to wildlife impact and threatens the success of conservation, often pushing people to turn towards illegal activities such as poaching.

Elephants, especially, that perceived as one of the biggest threats to human lives, although incidents rarely happen, are threatened by alarming levels of poaching. This is due to the high value of ivory, which is in high demand in Asian countries. The problem is further exacerbated by the strong link with the neighbouring countries within the KAZA transboundary, as there are reportedly organised syndicates that are associated with other countries. Overall, elephant poaching is quite a big threat to Namibia as a country, particular due to a lack of awareness of their value, the need to conserve them and the impact that poaching has on them.

SGDs Target(s):

Namibia's recently launched fifth National Development Plan (NDP 5) underscores the interconnectedness of all efforts towards economic progression, social transformation, environmental sustainability and good governance and encourages collaboration with regional neighbours. Over the past few years, a number of transboundary solutions have improved communities' often negative attitude towards wildlife and its conservation:

KAZA Excellency Tour: The KAZA Excellency Tour is set to be a milestone collaborative effort in economic growth, cultural preservation, job creation and environmental sustainability within the region, continent and global community. Specifically in Namibia the benefits of the tour has the potential to positively affect conservation efforts, the environment and eco-tourism within the country. The KAZA Excellency tour route will officially open to the public in February 2018.

The tour was officially launched in November 2017:
UN Resident Coordinator (RC) and UNDP Resident Representative (RR) to Namibia, Ms Kiki Gbeho, accompanied a delegation of 7 Ambassadors accredited to Namibia, Charges from Angola and Libya, the Managing Director (MD) of NWR, Ms. Zelna Hengari and the Deputy Minister of International Relations Maureen Hinda, to participate in a six-day excursion. Undertaken within the framework of South-South Cooperation, the delegation met their counterparts within the cross-border terrain. They exchanged ideas on the sustainable use of biodiversity and culture to maximize the tourism benefits with focus on access and benefit sharing particularly for the remotely located areas of southern Africa and on how to foster partnerships for tourism advancement in line with the SDGs.

The launch, also supplemented efforts to commemorate the 2017UN international Year of Sustainable Tourism (IY2017) and, through its lead female figures ultimately served as ideal fit, to match the global 10 Special Ambassadors of the IY2017, that include Her Excellency Ellen Johnson, former President of Liberia.

KAZA TFCA Master Integrated Development Plan (MIDP): Implemented by all five countries in the region, this plan provides strategic guidance towards the development of the KAZA TFCA at the regional level, over a period of 5 years i.e. 2015 – 2020. This can be achieved through: 1) providing for sustainable conservation and management of transboundary natural resources; 2) promotion of harmonisation of policies, strategies and practices for managing the shared natural resources across the KAZA TFCA landscape; 3) providing for the development of infrastructure which will allow economic integration, specifically the promotion of regional tourism products across boundaries and private sector investment; and; 4) providing benefits to local communities within and adjacent to key conservation areas within the KAZA TFCA through the development of tourism and the protection of natural and cultural resources.

Protected Areas System Strengthening (PASS) Project: The PASS Project is a project for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET). Implemented by UNDP, the project’s aim is to assist MET in addressing the new challenges that are affecting the management of Protected Areas (PAs). The objective of this project is to ensure that the Protected Areas System of Namibia is strengthened and is sustainably financed through improving current systems for park entry and revenue generation mechanisms, law enforcement strategies and mechanisms to address wildlife crimes (particularly the poaching of high value species), as well as fire management in protected areas.

  • With support from the PASS project, MET has done/ is doing the following:• Protecting high value species of elephants against poaching in the Bwabwata National Park and surrounding areas through continuous anti-poaching patrolling and awareness raising activities.
  • Joined forces with the Namibian Police (NAMPOL) and Ministry of Defence (MoD), towards anti-poaching in well-known poaching hotspots, especially Bwabwata National Park with its large population of elephants.
  • Developed a National Fire Management Strategy for Protected Areas (PAs), as an overall framework for fire management in Namibia’s PAs.
  • Further developed protected area specific Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for fire management. The development of SOPs for the first two (2) PAs has already started.

Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM):

In Namibia, the management of wildlife is not only a priority in PAs, but also beyond PA boundaries. The proclamation of PAs and the management of wildlife in Namibia at large are guided by the Nature Conservation Ordinance No. 4 of 1975. This ordinance was amended in 1996, such that it devolved communities’ rights over the protection of wildlife, while at the same time yielding economic benefits.

In line with the ordinance, a written permission is needed for hunting in the protected areas and on communal land.

While the provisions of the ordinance are often ignored, due to the economic value of the elephant ivory, communities have been placing efforts in the protection of wildlife within the communal areas, including elephants through the Community Based Natural Resources (CBNRM) schemes.

Reports have revealed that various CBNRM schemes have been successful in Namibia, which has led to the registration of more conservancies in the Zambezi Region of Namibia, which is part of the KAZA TFCA.

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