Amsterdam – The Common Fund’s 3rd five-year Action Plan (FYAP) 2008-2012, now in the second year of implementation, underlined the key role that regional economic commissions (RECs) could play in promoting effective policy solutions for commodity development.
The Fund sees a clear functional role for the RECs in identifying regional commodity problems, disseminating project results and good practices and bringing CFC’s commodity agenda and mandate to the attention of member countries. Increasingly, the important regional dimension brought on by RECs in enhancing outreach of CFC’s project priorities could facilitate better coordination of CFC sponsored activities and dissemination of results at the regional level.
At a recent consultative meeting in Amsterdam, the Fund invited representatives from five organisations, namely: African Union (AU); Andean Community; Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); East African Community (EAC); and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) as part of the routine briefing. The meeting was opened and chaired by Amb. Ali Mchumo, managing director of the Common Fund.
“The role of RECs in the operations of the CFC received a formal recognition in the 3rd five-year Action Plan 2008-2012, and the Fund recognized that legitimate interventions requiring CFC financing could be effectively identified in the context of the RECs, acting alongside and in collaboration with the ICBs,” said Amb. Mchumo.
He added, “Presently, this approach and the programmes of interventions prepared by RECs are now part of the current Action Plan and project activities being undertaken by the Fund.”
He stated that regular consultations between the CFC and the RECs have served to align the Fund’s work with the interests of stakeholders. These consultations, which have also taken place between the Fund and International Commodity Bodies (ICBs), provided the chance for the CFC Secretariat to brief representatives on recent developments and trends regarding the operations of the Common Fund.
In Amsterdam, following the formal deliberations in the consultations, several important policy issues emerged, which should implicitly serve to cement the strong working relationship and mutual cooperation between the Fund and the RECs. Some factors, in respect to niche advantages of the RECs were identified, including regional trade, price stabilisation and inter-and-intra country coordination mechanisms.
On their side, representatives of the RECs noted that public advocacy for the commodity problematique must now be given high priority and brought to the attention of G-20 members and other fora in the international community.
The RECs also reiterated that the global economic crisis is an open “opportunity window” to broaden public attention about the crucial importance of the commodities sector to development, economic survival and prosperity in developing countries, LDCs and the MDG targets outlined by the United Nations.
The RECs indicated that they are open to formal arrangements to promote the commodity agenda through joint communication strategies, as well as advocacy initiatives within their member countries to encourage their membership to join the Common Fund.
In the principal matter regarding financial sustainability, the RECs implored the Fund, to increase efforts for sustained public outreach communications, based on effective and rebranded institutional messages, within a strong campaign programme for resource mobilisation and recapitalization appeals to the fast growing emerging countries and the private sector.
At the meeting in Amsterdam, the Common Fund hosted several presentations, as part of the briefing agenda, which included an overview of the global economic changes and impact on international development priorities; general matters of cooperation between CFC and RECs; priorities of development initiatives by RECs; and an update on the current status of discussions on the Future Role and Long-Term Financial Sustainability of the Common Fund. – -Published 11 September 2009.