Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Office for Africa, made a working visit to Dakar, Senegal on the 7th to 11th of November 2018. For her first visit to Senegal, since taking office in August 2018, Ms. Eziakonwa met with the Prime Minister's Cabinet Director and the Minister in charge of the Community Emergency Development Program (PUDC).
Following Eziakonwa congratulatory remarks for the successful collaboration between UNDP and the Government of Senegal, she reflected on the recent signing of the 2019-2023 framework cooperation document between the Government of Senegal and the United Nations and its alignment with the Plan for Emerging Senegal (PSE) to help the Government implement its development program.
Eziakonwa congratulated the Senegalese Government for their implementation of the PSE and for all the efforts made towards the actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, particularly in the areas of fighting corruption, promotion of gender equity, and reduction of inequalities and poverty. She reiterated UNDP's commitment to the success of the February 2019 election in Senegal, specifically in the strengthening of the work of the Electoral Commission and the promotion of women's leadership.
The Director’s visit also marked the availability of UNDP to participate in the creation of a safe space for dialogue and exchange of ideas on the prevention of peace and violent extremism strengthen concrete alternative initiatives. The visit welcomed the launch of Phase 2 of the PUDC, an important program for community development and the reduction of social inequalities, the continuation of the partnership with UNDP and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to this end.
The UNDP director’s meeting with Mr. Cheikh Diop, National Director of the PUDC focused on the results of the first phase and the prospects for the commencement of the second phase of the PUCD, costing 300 billion CFA francs. Ms. Eziakonwa praised the results of the first phase of PUDC, encouraged the Government and provided technical assistance to UNDP during Phase 2 of the program. Mr Diop praised the cooperation between the Government and UNDP and welcomed the technical assistance that UNDP will provide under the procurement procedure during the second phase, promising to carry out the work according to the same standards and performance levels as in the first phase.
During the meeting with the Country Office Staff, Ms. Eziakonwa shared her vision of development for the African continent. This was followed by in-depth discussions with staff on development issues, and various investment options tailored to meet different challenges. Ms. Eziakonwa congratulated Bureau Staff for the quality and high level of the debate.
Ms. Eziakonwa also held meetings with the United Nations Country Team and the Development Partners Group. During discussions with Technical and Financial Partners established in Senegal, Ms. Eziakonwa welcomed the successful partnership between UNDP and development partners for the implementation of the country's development agenda. She emphasized the importance of strengthening institutional governance, addressing the challenge of climate change, reducing inequalities, and promoting youth employment, social transformation, and women's empowerment.
A field visit to the Mackombel Ecovillage in Mbour allowed Ms. Eziakonwa to measure the achievements of the Participatory Ecosystem Conservation and Low Carbon Emissions Conservation Project of pilot Ecovillages near Senegal's protected areas (Ecovillages) and their positive impacts on the beneficiary populations. The delegation was included Mrs. Priya Gajraj, UNDP Resident Representative in Senegal, Mr. Jean-Luc Stalon, Country Director of UNDP Senegal, Mr. Cheikh Niang, Ambassador of Senegal to the United Nations, Mr. Amadou Lamine Guissé, Ministry Representative Environment and Mr. Cheikh Fall Representing the National Agency of Ecovillage, Moussa Diouf, Technical Director of the Ecovillages Agency. At the end of the visit, Ms. Eziakonwa expressed her satisfaction in discovering the many facets of Mbackombel: "The case of this ecovillage is very eloquent in the example of Senegal and its partners, particularly with UNDP. This village is an example of a locality where the SDGs are a reality.”