Bunmi Makinwa, former UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Director, meets displaced families in Dadaab settlement camp, Kenya.
UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional (ESARO) Programme
The Regional Programme focuses on meeting current development challenges and opportunities by:
2. Translating global targets for universal access to reproductive health into achievable country-level targets
3. Linking population dynamics, gender perspectives, and sexual and reproductive health and rights to national efforts aimed at reducing poverty.
In order to achieve these three broad goals, the East and Southern Africa Regional Programme focuses UNFPA support to country programmes on four strategic areas:
• Provision of technical guidance, with emphasis on capacity building at the national and regional levels to deliver quality sexual and reproductive health services to women, adolescents and men;
• Better coordination and partnership building with regional partners and other UN agencies to deliver services to more people while reducing overlapping and duplication of efforts;
• Mobilization of political commitment to leverage support and resources among key stakeholders to advance the ICPD and Maputo Plan of Action at the national, regional and global levels in order to achieve the MDGs;
• Strengthening of capacities for national development partners and the UN system to respond to emerging sexual reproductive health and rights issues among vulnerable groups during humanitarian crises.
Key regional priorities
The Africa Regional Planning Meeting in February 2009 brought together representatives from the 45 African programme countries, as well as the Executive Director, Divisional Directors, Executive Committee Members and selected senior staff. The meeting identified five key priorities and strategic actions to address the development challenges in Africa. These are:
• National capacity building and quality assurance for the 2010 round of censuses and data for development
• Reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity
• Results-oriented and accountability for high quality programming
• Integrated programme and technical assistance in the context of reorganisation
• Effective engagement in the UN reform process – Delivering as One – and alignment with regional and national development priorities and processes.
In order to achieve these goals, UNFPA ESARO provides strategic support in the following four key areas:
Management: Strengthening management skills of UNFPA representatives and senior managers to provide efficient and effective management and accountability of country programmes.
Programme and technical support and assistance: Delivering targeted programme and technical support to countries using established networks of global, regional, sub-regional and national partners. These include academic, research and training centres of excellence with an emphasis on South-South co-operation.
Programme effectiveness: Fostering a learning environment by facilitating the transfer of knowledge and lessons learned among country offices. The new regional structure, which places Programme and Technical Advisers together in a multidisciplinary setting, allows for more direct linkages between country programmes.
UN reform: By offering a more holistic approach to programme and technical support, UNFPA can advance the Maputo Plan of Action by mobilizing national resources. UNFPA ESARO is better able to utilize and draw on the pool of expertise created by the UNDG Executive Committee.
Leveraging strategic partnerships
UNFPA is working with a wide range of strategic partners, including regional institutions, national agencies, and local and community-based organizations.
Regional partners include the African Union and its Regional Economic Commissions (RECs), which have key roles to play in formulating and implementing population policies at the regional level and in monitoring national level implementation of the Maputo Plan of Action.
Regional institutions also include research institutes and universities, professional networks and regional bodies that can provide training, technical support and expertise to advance reproductive health, prevent the spread of HIV, and promote family planning, gender equality and the gathering and analysis of vital statistics and population data.
Other partners at the national and local levels include a variety of key government ministries working with NGOs, civil society groups and local community-based organizations. The UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and regional training and research institutions have a role in operationalizing the ICPD Programme of Action.
In addition, advocacy networks, including NGOs, civil society organisations and women’s parliamentarian groups, play key roles in persuading regional bodies and national governments to promote UNFPA’s priority areas.