In Addis Ababa, Ban hails new UN facility as symbol of shared ‘strong desire for peace’
ADDIS ABABA, Oct 29 (NNN-ENA) -- The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has become the third largest UN duty station after New York and Geneva in terms of building portfolio, with the inauguration of a new office facility for the regional organization at the ECA compound in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Tuesday.
The facility will house the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representation to the AU Commission and ECA.
Speaking at the inauguration of the new building, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn noted that the continent, which was struggling against colonialism and apartheid during the establishment of the ECA in 1958, was now witnessing development.
Today, Africa has liberated itself from colonialism and embarked upon an era of development, stability and good governance, he noted. "It is for this reason that I am hopeful that this building would herald the consolidation and realization' of this new chapter- an era of African Renaissance," he said. "Africa is now in a new beginning, as is witnessed in the good performance of many African economies."
However, despite the progress, Africa still faced major challenges related to its institutional weakness, he added, citing the Ebola crisis as an example.
He said effective support from the international community would help Africa attain development. "I am of the view that with a more effective international partnership for development, Africa has a great possibility in attaining its renaissance."
In his keynote speech, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the opening of the new facility would help to bring the UN staff together thereby harmonizing UN operations. "Most of all, it means the United Nations is better placed to deliver better results," he added. “With the completion of the new facility, we take an important step towards a future of dignity, prosperity and peace."
Noting that the ECA compound had a rich history, the Secretary-General said Africa Hall, a gift from Ethiopia upon the establishment of the ECA in 1958, had seen memorable events, including the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union (AU), more than half a century ago.
"Thanks to this new facility, we have been able to cater for growing demand for office space and increase the number of staff working in the compound to more than1, 000." said ECA Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes.
Established as one of the UN's five regional commissions, the ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international co-operation for Africa's development.
Source : United Nations