With barely three years to reach the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) timeline, the UN has announced that it would spend an amount of $531.7 million on four strategic areas to help Ghana achieve the MDGs by 2015.
 These areas are: Food Security and Nutrition; Sustainable Environment, Energy and Human Settlements; Human Development and Productive Capacity for Improved Social Services; and Transparent and Accountable Governance.
According to the UN, these areas are directly linked to the MDGs, and fully aligned with four of the seven thematic priorities of the national development agenda, the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda (GSDA) 2010-2013.
To this end, a comprehensive programme document has been developed by the UN to support Ghana’s enthusiastic effort at attaining the MDGs, and the national development priorities.
The document, known as ‘United Nations Development Assistance Framework Action Plan (UAP) 2012-2016’, presents the coherent vision and strategic programme results the UN seeks to achieve in support of Ghana’s development agenda.
The UAP replaces the individual Country Programme Action Plans (CPAPS) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNFPA and World Food Programme (WFP), and includes key programme results and implementation strategies of all 20 UN agencies, funds and programmes operating in Ghana.
Building on the identified thematic priorities, the UAP focuses on some of the major inequalities and regional disparities in Ghana. It, therefore, strengthens the UN Country Team’s engagement in the poorest regions of the country, in particular, the programmes and projects of the Joint UN Office in Tamale, which focuses on the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
The UAP, not only defines what the UN will do in the next five years, but also how the UN family in Ghana will collaborate and coordinate its activities to deliver on 11 strategic outcomes that will be the collective UN focus over the next five years.
Based on clear division of labour between individual UN agencies, the Action Plan defines the roles and responsibilities of UN agencies, its representatives and staff, for implementing and monitoring the Action Plan. It also defines how the UN structure aligns itself to the national aid coordination architecture, in particular, the national sector coordination mechanisms.
In a speech read for the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor, by his Special Advisor, Prof Newman Kwesi, at launch in Accra over the weekend, he was hopeful that the framework would contribute positively to the nation’s development.
Dr. Duffuor noted the new framework would also reduce transaction costs, saying that in the past, dealing with the UN agencies posed challenges, due to huge transaction costs.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rajon, added: “By combining different agencies’ CPAPs in a single UN document, the UAP seeks to reduce transaction costs for government and external partners, and strengthen transparency, by providing “at a glance,” information that gives a complete overview of the UN’s programmes and financial resources that are available now, and the remaining funding gap that needs to be filled in the course of the five year programming cycle.”
The UAP goes beyond the traditional United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), which was limited to stating strategic objectives and programme results. It makes the UNDAF a “living document” that has sufficient operational details and agreements amongst UN agencies and with governments, to make the UN machinery work and deliver more relevant and sustainable development impact, as part of the wider national development agenda, she explained.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Chris Kpodo, noted that “The government remains fully committed to the people-centred development policy, and overarching social and economic objectives encapsulated in its Better Ghana Agenda, which, in essence, is dedicated to securing a better life for the entire citizenry of the country.”
He noted that the UNDAF Action Plan had a strong foundation for a more efficient, effective and coherent UN system, which has the conceptual framework and operational capacity to be a partner of choice for Ghana in its development aspirations for years to come.


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