United Nations Organizations

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Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information. FAO helps developing countries and countries in transition modernize and improve agriculture, forestry and fisheries practices and ensure good nutrition for all. Since our founding in 1945, FAO has focused special attention on developing rural areas, home to 70 percent of the world's poor and hungry people.

The FAO Regional Office for Africa (FAO/RAF) was established as a result of the decision of the governing organs of the FAO to decentralize substantive programme operations towards the Regions in response to the wishes and strong demand by the member nations including the Government of Ghana. The principal function of the Regional Office for Africa is the overall identification, planning and implementation of FAO's priority activities in the Region. It ensures a multi disciplinary approach to programmes; identify priority areas of action for the Organization in the Region and, in collaboration with departments and divisions at headquarters, advise on the incorporation of such priorities into the Organization's Programme of Work and Budget; implement approved programmes in the Region; and monitor the level of programme implementation and draw attention to any deficiencies.

The FAO Forestry Department helps nations manage their forests in a sustainable way. The Organization's approach balances social, economic and environmental objectives so that present generations can reap the benefits of the earth's forest resources while conserving them to meet the needs of future generations.

United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)

UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.

UNEP work encompasses: Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends; developing international and national environmental instruments; strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment, facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development; and encouraging new partnerships and mind-sets within civil society and the private sector.

UNEP also hosts several environmental convention secretariats including the Ozone Secretariat and the Montreal Protocol's Multilateral Fund, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Migratory Species, and a growing family of chemicals-related agreements, including the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and the recently negotiated Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

The UNEP Regional Office for Africa (ROA) has played a central role in coordinating UNEP's Programme of Work in the region with the view to ensuring the effective and efficient delivery of interventions, in response to regional, sub-regional and national needs. The delivery of this programme in Africa is a collective effort by UNEP and various partners, Governments institutions and Ministerial fora, non governmental agencies, regional economic communities, other sister agencies, Major groups and stakeholders including Civil Society organizations, the private Sector, local Authorities and others, as well as regional Centers of Excellence.

African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC)

Created in 1959, the African Forestry Wildlife Commission (AFWC) is one of six Regional Forestry Commissions established by FAO to provide a policy and technical forum for countries to discuss and address forest issues on a regional basis. It meets every two years.

FAO encourages wide participation of government officials from forestry and other sectors as well as representatives of international, regional and subregional organizations that deal with forest-related issues in the region, including NGOs, and the private sector.

United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions. ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development.

ECA's dual role as a regional arm of the UN, and a part of the regional institutional landscape in Africa, positions it well to make unique contributions to member States' efforts to address their development challenges. Its strength derives from its role as the only UN agency mandated to operate at the regional and subregional levels to harness resources and bring them to bear on Africa's priorities.

ECA's work programme now focuses on achieving results in two related and mutually supportive areas:

Promoting Regional Integration in support of the African Union vision and priorities. ECA's support to the implementation of AUC's regional integration agenda focuses on undertaking research and policy analysis on regional integration issues, strengthening capacity and providing technical assistance to institutions driving the regional integration agenda, including strengthening and supporting the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and working on a range of trans-boundary initiatives and activities in sectors vital to the regional integration agenda.

Meeting Africa's special needs and emerging global challenges. ECA recognizes the importance of focusing attention on Africa's special needs, particularly within the context of achieving the MDGs. In this regard, ECA places emphasis on supporting efforts to eradicate poverty, placing African countries on the path of growth and sustainable development, reversing the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process, and accelerating the empowerment of women. It aims to provide significant technical support to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and also to promote peer learning and knowledge sharing in a range of development areas.
 

United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF)

In October 2000, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), in its Resolution 2000/35 established the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), a subsidiary body with the main objective to promote "… the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end…"based on the Rio Declaration, the Forest Principles, Chapter 11 of Agenda 21 and the outcome of the IPF/IFF Processes and other key milestones of international forest policy. The Forum has universal membership, and is composed of all Member States of the United Nations and specialized agencies.

Following intense negotiations, the Seventh Session of the Forum adopted the landmark Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests on 28 April 2007. The instrument is considered a milestone, as it is the first time Member States have agreed to an international instrument for sustainable forest management. The instrument is expected to have a major impact on international cooperation and national action to reduce deforestation, prevent forest degradation, promote sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty for all forest-dependent peoples. The NLBI was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 17 December 2007.

The IPF/IFF processes produced a body of more than 270 proposals for action towards sustainable forest management, known collectively as the IPF/IFF Proposals for action. These proposals are the basis for the UNFF Multi-Year Programme of Work and Plan of Action, various themes of which are discussed at annual UNFF Sessions. Country- and Organization-led initiatives also contribute to development of UNFF themes. Multi-stakeholder dialogues are an integral part of the agenda at UNFF sessions, allowing major stakeholders to contribute to the forest policy forum.

The UNFF is guided by a Bureau and serviced by a compact secretariat, that also serves as a secretariat for the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.

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