Monday, February 11, 2008

This is the Way Regional Governance Should be Done

In my first Reflections on Regional Integration last year, I mentioned the importance of UN regional commissions playing a greater role in so-called regional governance--whatever form it may be expressed in. In my view, it is about the beginning of a harmonisation process between the regional organisations and the UN, which is so badly-needed.

It is therefore great stuff to read that the West African sub-regional grouping of ECOWAS is seeking to collaborate with the UN's regional commission on Africa, that is better known as UNECA.

Tongues have wagged between the head of these two organisations--Chambas and A Janneh, and it has become clear that they have

reiterated their determination to strengthen the existing partnership between their organisations, with the objective of consolidating the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the building bloc for Africa's integration.

We hear so much about the RECS and the RIAs, which are interchangeable terms to describe the regional groupings in their personality as economic entities, that if we are not carefu, we run the risk of being caughtnapping if we don't synergise. And when I talk about "we", I am referring to both citizens and policy-makers.

In my view, any arrangement of this sort that deflects attention away from the work of the UN should revise its note on the work that it does.

While talk is cheap, it is also an expensive enbdeavour for regional organisations to ignore the UN's regional commissions in the pursuit of what often looks like narrow-focused economic ones, which do not necessarily add value to the policies of the region.

That the ECA is intent on supporting ECOWAS towards the realisation nof a Strategic Vision adopted by ECOWAS Heads of State is a good start towards fostering a progressive look at regional integration--the way it should be done!

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