A new era of cooperation to kick off as UN Regional Directors conclude their mission to Eritrea
31 January 2022
31 January 2021
ASMARA, Eritrea – The Government of Eritrea and the United Nations have hailed a new era of strategic partnership that will advance their shared aspirations for the people of Eritrea, as a high-level delegation of UN Regional Directors concluded its week-long visit. 24 senior officials from UN regional offices across Africa, including six Regional Directors and two Deputy Regional Directors, participated in a series of high-level engagements between 24 and 28 January.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation on 25 January at the launch of the new Eritrea-UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (2022 – 2026), Yacoub El-Hilo, Regional Director for Africa of the UN Development Coordination Office, extended the UN’s appreciation to the Government of the State of Eritrea for its active leadership throughout the development of the new framework which adopted a whole-of-government approach, leading to a robust document that reflects both Government priorities and the SDGs. “It is our hope that we are ushering in a new era of an effective and efficient strategic partnership between the Government of Eritrea and the UN,” said Mr. El-Hilo.
Speaking during the launch of the Cooperation Framework on Tuesday, Minister of Finance and National Development Mr. Georgis Teklemichael shared on the historical context of Eritrea which has informed its development trajectory.
During the five-day mission, UN officials discussed a wide range of issues with government and development partners. These included fully utilizing the UN’s resources to ensure optimal delivery in the new cooperation framework’s priority areas; COVID-19 vaccinations; regional dynamics in the Horn of Africa and the role Eritrea could play in fostering peace and security; regional trade integration and Eritrea’s perspectives on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement; human rights issues; climate action; and data for development.
On 27 January, the delegation traveled to southern Eritrea, where they met with with regional government partners and communities. They visited key institutions such as the National Agricultural Research Institute, the Mendefera Hospital (which hosts the national fistula treatment centre), the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS Zoba Debub branch); the Dubarwa and Areza Community Health Centres, Areza solar photovoltaic grid, the Azeib Dairy Farm, Logo and Misilam Dams.
Members of the visiting mission were unanimous in their view that they had gained a better understanding of Eritrea’s context, its unique development perspectives and Eritrea’s expectations of a re-invigorated partnership with the UN in this new era of cooperation. The delegation members said they were better placed to be “ambassadors” of Eritrea’s development achievements. The government, in turn, agreed to address resource absorption issues and to scale up the implementation of programmes in the new cooperation framework era in line with the call for accelerated progress in the Decade of Action with eight years left to achieve the SDGs.
This high-level visit builds on an earlier one by the Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa last month (following an exchange of letters between H. E President Isaias Afwerki and the United Nations Secretary General H.E António Guterres) and it signals a reinvigoration of the partnership between the Government of the State of Eritrea and the United Nations.
Notes for correspondents
The high-level mission to Eritrea, led by the UN Development Coordination Office’s Regional Director for Africa, included five other Regional Directors representing the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Economic Commission for Africa, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UN Population Fund and the World Food Programme. The Deputy Regional Directors from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and UN Office on Drugs and Crime are also among the participants. Other Regional Directors sent their senior representatives.
The new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework comprises of four outcomes:
Outcome 1: By 2026, more people have benefited from equitable access to and use of inclusive high quality essential social services.
Outcome 2: By 2026, Eritrea’s public sector institutions are more accountable and efficient, and more people enjoy the right to development.
Outcome 3: By 2026, people in Eritrea, especially the disadvantaged population, have increased livelihoods as economic growth becomes more inclusive and diversified
Outcome 4: By 2026, people in Eritrea have benefited from climate resilient, sustainable environment and natural resources management.
William Silamawia, Communications and Knowledge Management Officer
UNDP/Resident Coordinator Office in Eritrea
Daisy Diamante Leoncio, Regional Communication Adviser
United Nations Population Fund – Johannesburg
Hiroyuki Saito, Regional Communications Officer
Regional Office for Africa, UN Development Coordination Office – Addis Ababa