09 March 2009

On 02 March 2009, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. This MoU, which covers a three year period, aims to provide a framework within which the two institutions will collaborate in areas of common interest, to maximize the impact of interventions through partnership; increase knowledge sharing; utilize and leverage existing resources and facilities; improve the integration of related projects and programs; and pool resources and expertise where appropriate. UNITAR and the ACBF are already partners in the context of the capacity building project for CIFAL Ouagadougou and CIFAL Durban. The signing of the MoU is an acknowledgement of the complementarities between UNITAR and the ACBF, and signifies the strong engagement and willingness of both institutions to deepen and expand their collaboration.

The MoU acknowledges that both institutions play an important role in the development efforts of the Continent. UNITAR has the mandate of enhancing the effectiveness of the work of the United Nations and its Member States in the fields of environment, governance, peace and security. Within this mandate, the Institute conducts training and capacity building programmes at various levels to individuals and institutions, particularly from developing countries. The ACBF is a major pillar in the building of sustainable human and institutional capacities for poverty reduction and good governance.

The priority areas of the UNITAR-ACBF partnership include: Governance (governance in public finance and trade, local governance and e-governance); Environment (capacity development related to the implementation of global and regional multilateral environmental agreements); Conflict prevention (capacity development in conflict analysis, negotiation and mediation), and knowledge sharing.

The guiding principles of the partnership, as highlighted in the MoU, are based on synergy and complementarities; utilization of African expertise and training institutions; design of short-term training programs and activities; and African leadership, ownership, and responsibility.

The United Nations Assistant Secretary General and UNITAR Executive Director Carlos Lopes and ACBF Executive Secretary a.i. Edwin Forlemu signed the MoU in the municipality of Ouagadougou.

In addition to the signing of the MoU, Mr Carlos Lopes met with the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Mr. Tertus Zongo, the President of the National Assembly, Mr Roch Marc Christian Kabore, and the Minister for Decentralization, Mr. Clement Ouedraogo. The meetings centred on the existing partnership between UNITAR and the Municipality of Ouagadougou, as well as the commitment of UNITAR to strengthen this partnership through the signing of the MoU with the ACBF. The Prime Minister, the President of the assembly and the Minister Decentralization acknowledged that capacity building is an essential step towards Africa’s development and made commitments to support this partnership.

During the visit, Mr. Lopes held talks with UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Babacar Cissé, and with Heads of other UN Agencies in Burkina Faso. This visit gave the Executive Director an opportunity to present the activities of UNITAR and the new training programme of the UN System Staff College (UNSSC), for which Mr. Carlos Lopes is equally the Director.