DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS - The visiting UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, Dervis Kemal, has said that lack of adequate coordination in UN agencies is still affecting the world body’s fast and efficient service delivery at grass root levels.
“We are mindful of the coordination gaps that still exist in the UN systems; there is need for the systems to work jointly in order to achieve tangible results,” Kemal told heads of parliamentary standing committees on Thursday.
The UN has seventeen agencies which spend a combined $7 billion annually on goods and services to support the world body’s development and humanitarian operations.
Kemal observed the need for UNDP to decentralise its services to rural areas and to incorporate local people in management of the programmes.
He said that although foreign assistance was important for a country to develop, any support should be within the framework of the recipient nation’s development agenda.
“Foreign assistance is helpful but it can never (effectively) define a sustainable development path for a country; I think it can be a win-win situation if we all worked together,” Kemal, who was on the second-day of his four days visit said.
Citing Nepad’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as one of the initiatives supported by UNDP, Kemal reiterated the UN agency’s commitment towards ensuring peace and development in the region.
Senator Odette Nyiramirimo expressed concern over population explosion in rural areas yet the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other agencies seem to lack adequate capacity to handle the situation.
Kemal, who is due to leave the country later today, held high-profile meetings with Rwandan leaders, and visited areas where ‘One UN – Delivering as One’ initiative is being implemented.
Rwanda is one of the eight pilot countries where the project is being undertaken by UN agencies as part of their contribution to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Other pilot countries are Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Tanzania, Uruguay and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Kemal said yesterday that as a way of achieving sustainable development, UN agencies and the Rwandan government will jointly invest in the country’s infrastructure.
Speaking to journalists after paying a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro, Kemal said that investing in such sectors as energy will increase Rwanda’s economic growth rate.
“It is impressive that Rwanda’s economy is growing at seven per cent but we want it to go up to 10 or over through the ‘One UN’ system,” said Kemal.
“This is the right time for us to facilitate the setting up of a more speedy development rate,” said Kemal.
Finance and Economic Planning minister, James Musoni, said that the efforts by the UN will be complimenting Rwanda’s five-year Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategies (EDPRS).
The minister said that the UNDP chief was particularly impressed with Rwanda’s policies on the conservation of environment.
“He was especially impressed by our policy to ban polythene bags,” said Musoni, who accompanied the President during the meeting.
In a related development, President Kagame yesterday met visiting Nobel Prize Winner, Prof David Baltimore. The American scientist, who is the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said Rwanda was on the right path in the fight against HIV. Baltimore won the noble prize for medicine in 1975.