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Agricultural use of groundwater and management initiatives in the Maghreb: challenges and opportunities for sustainable aquifer exploitation

The intensive use of natural resources in the Maghreb, in particular by the agricultural sector, is creating an urgent need to design governance mechanisms at both the local and national level. Groundwater has become one of the most fragile of these resources. The rapid development of groundwater use for irrigation in the Maghreb has resulted in significant agricultural growth, but in many regions, such development has become unsustainable because of aquifer overexploitation or water and soil salinization. Adequate instruments to address this unsustainable use are not easy to design and implement, for there are many informal groundwater withdrawals by farmers, and water resource management organizations have limited intervention capacity. The paper examines groundwater use and management in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia based on a study of national institutional and policy mechanisms and nine local case studies. Overexploitation creates environmental, economic and social risks, and there are already significant identifiable impacts in several of the case studies. Farmers address the problem of decreasing borehole flow-rates (or water salinization) either by constantly investing more in order to continue to have sufficient quantities of fresh water for their crops, or by adjusting their cropping systems to adapt to this decrease. In the absence of specific policies, there are increasing differences between those farms that have the resources to continue investing more in order to have sufficient water, and those that have to adapt their crops to the shortage. Legal frameworks have laid management foundations, but they only have a limited impact, in particular, because of the generally informal nature of such uses. Different strategies are currently being discussed at national level, and are often focused on contractual approaches with the farmers. Concomitantly, some collective initiatives have been conceived at local level. The range of policies implemented to address this unsustainable use is very broad-based, and entails both increased water resources and the adoption of instruments to limit increases in withdrawals. These instruments are based on control and incentive mechanisms. In the cases considered, jointly used instruments have made it possible to limit increases in withdrawals and to facilitate water enhancement, without, however, restoring the resource-use balance. The design and implementation of strategies for sustainable aquifer exploitation require the building of coalitions of actors, which should include organizations responsible for water resources, those involved in agriculture, but also - and especially - farmers. Support could be provided to the formation of such coalitions and to their reflections on possible options to assist an agricultural economy based on sustainable aquifer use.

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Informal cross border trade in Africa: implications and policy recommendations

Despite being a source of income to about 43 percent of Africa’s population, informal cross border trade (ICBT) is generally regarded as illegal commercialization of cross border activities. ICBT can have positive macroeconomic and social ramifications such as food security and income creation particularly for rural populations who would otherwise suffer from social exclusion. If properly harnessed, ICBT has the potential to support Africa’s on-going efforts at poverty alleviation.

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Intra-regional trade in Southern Africa: structure, performance and challenges

Regional integration offers possibilities to leverage and extend comparative advantage in ways not accessible through national programs. It offers particularly significant benefits for the region’s landlocked and small island economies. As landlocked countries depend on coastal neighbours for transit and access to the sea, they cannot integrate into regional markets unless their neighbours implement policies that will facilitate cross-border trade. The paper is organized as follows: Section I reviews the main trends in southern Africa’s intra and extra-regional trade; it also analyses the direction of total trade and changes in composition; Section II summaries trade policy developments in the region; Section III analyses the prospects and challenges for intra-regional trade; Section IV provides conclusions and policy recommendations for enhancing intra-regional trade.

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Report on Professionalized Rural Service Areas (PRSA) for water and sanitation

Standard approaches to rural water supply and sanitation have had some success in increasing access, but have often failed to provide sustainable coverage. Over the past decade, new approaches to rural water supply have begun to emerge in various parts of the world, largely in response to changing rural household conditions and attitudes. Two key elements often characterize these approaches: 1) Aggregation (or grouping) of service areas; 2) An entrepreneurial approach. In this document, strategies that adopt some or all of these elements are collectively referred to as the Professionalized Rural Service Areas (PRSA) strategy. The document sets out the strategy, providing policy-makers and potential lenders or investors with examples of proof-of-concept while outlining the main characteristics underlying PRSA (including aggregation and contracting domestic private operators).

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Tanzania’s seaports and transport corridors as development opportunity for east and southern Africa

Favorable economic growth prospects for the East and Southern Africa region will result in increased trade flows. This puts significant pressure on Tanzania’s port and transport infrastructure, suggesting the need to address trade gaps through interventions, which need to balance between infrastructure investment and institutional reform aspects. Specific investments should prioritize port development and transport corridor infrastructure to facilitate regional trade connectivity. Institutional upgrades can contribute to improve coordination in the hinterland access regime and encourage efficiency-enhancing reforms.

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Urban development strategy of the African Development Bank Group

This strategy builds on the achievements and lessons of experience of past African Development Bank Group efforts in urban development and emphasizes the need for coordinated and purposeful action. The Strategy recognizes that successful urban development requires coherent programs and efficient organization both within the Bank Group and in Regional Member Countries. Through this Strategy, the Bank will ensure that key policy themes, particularly infrastructure development, urban governance, private sector development and cross-cutting issues including gender, empowerment of vulnerable groups, regional integration, urban-rural linkages, environment and now increasingly climate change are taken into account during project design and implementation of urban projects. Moreover, the approach will ensure that the Bank’s policy and operational focus ultimately is on the building of viable, accountable and service-centered institutions at the sub-national levels, notably municipalities.

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AfDB Strategy for 2013–2022 - at the center of Africa’s transformation

This ten-year Strategy is designed to place the African Development Bank at the centre of Africa’s transformation and to improve the quality of Africa’s growth. The Strategy will focus on two objectives to improve the quality of Africa’s growth: inclusive growth, and the transition to green growth. It also outlines five main channels for the Bank to deliver its work and improve the quality of growth in Africa: Infrastructural development; Regional economic integration; Private sector development; Governance and accountability; Skills and technology. In implementing its ten-year Strategy, and as an integral part of the two objectives, the Bank will pay particular attention to fragile states, agriculture and food security, and gender.

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Feed Africa: strategy for agricultural transformation in Africa 2016–2025

There is a massive opportunity to reframe the current social and economic costs associated with the low productivity of the agricultural sector in Africa. What has — up till now — been an area of relative weakness for the African continent, can be recast as an area of strength and, more importantly, one of the fastest options for feeding, employing, and lifting millions of people out of poverty. Agricultural transformation has proven to be a complex endeavour, but is becoming increasingly understood as pockets of successful interventions spring up across the continent. New technologies — especially in the ICT realm — are bringing new ways of achieving and scaling success. Critical to realizing this opportunity will be shifting the development of the sector from ‘agriculture as a way of life’ to ‘agriculture as a business’. The public-sector has an essential role to play in fostering a private-sector led transformation of agriculture. Farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors alike will find a way to develop thriving agribusinesses if given the opportunity in the form of access to sufficient and affordable capital, access to markets and the right overall conditions in terms of policy and infrastructure.

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Moving towards a green productive agriculture in Africa: the role of ICTs

Agriculture remains an important source of livelihood for the majority of Africans but the sector is still very unproductive, resulting in food insecurity and large imports of staple foods, putting additional strain on scarce foreign exchange reserves. Acknowledging the rapid uptake of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Africa and building upon the mitigated success of the green revolution in Asia, the paper discusses the potential of ICTs to transform Africa’s agriculture in an inclusive and sustainable way, by benefiting smallholders, addressing land reform issues, providing adequate financial services, price and market information as well as by boosting global value chains. The study goes further by providing policy recommendations for African governments and the private sector on how ICTs usage could be further leveraged to enhance productivity and promote a green agriculture in Africa.

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Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals

This report, produced jointly by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), assesses the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa. Africa has seen an acceleration in economic growth, established ambitious social safety nets and designed policies for boosting education and tackling HIV and other diseases. It has also introduced women’s quotas in parliament, leading the way internationally on gender equality, and increased gender parity in primary schools. Although overall poverty rates are still hovering around 48 percent, according to the most recent estimates, most countries have made progress on at least one goal. Much more work lies ahead to ensure living standards improve for all African women and men. While economic growth has been relatively strong, it has not been rapid or inclusive enough to create jobs. Similarly, many countries have managed to achieve access to primary schooling; however, considerable issues of quality and equity need to be addressed.

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21 projects compendium: implementing the new urban agenda

For the last 40 years, UN-Habitat has been working to improve the lives of people in human settlements around the world. As our population has grown, so has the number of people living in cities, towns and villages on all continents. With around 3 billion more people expected to live in urban areas by 2050, it is more critical than ever that we plan and manage the way our cities expand. This publication demonstrates just a snapshot of UN-Habitat's overall portfolio and represents the ways in which, along with their partners, their work positively impacts the quality of life for people around the world. Working together we can, and must, promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable urbanization and a better urban future for all.

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Making Philippine cities child friendly: voices of children in poor communities

The study analyses how the Philippines’ national Child Friendly Movement, which has engaged government, NGOs, civil society, children and UNICEF, has enhanced the capacity of local governments, communities and young people to fulfil the rights of the poorest children. The study uses participatory methodologies and reflects the viewpoint of children and the community. It reveals that in areas where the Child Friendly Cities strategy was adopted, greater attention is paid to the most excluded and vulnerable groups and interventions are developed on a wider spectrum of children’s rights. Beyond providing insights on concrete ways in which child rights are bring promoted at local level, it provides recommendations on how the fulfilment of child rights can be further enhanced by municipal governments.

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Caring for children affected by HIV and AIDS

This IRC Insight highlights the urgent need to support families and communities to care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The report looks at how the epidemic undermines children's health and schooling, and reinforces marginalization and deprivation. It explores the options for the care of children in communities affected by the AIDS epidemic. Beginning with the premise that the parent-child bond is the basic building block of child development and the family the basic unit of society, the report looks at ways to keep the family together for as long as possible. It then goes on to explore alternative care arrangements beyond the immediate family. Settings range from care by the extended family, to different forms of fostering in the community, through adoption and placement in residential institutions, which should be used as a last resort.

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The Millennium Development Goals report 2015

This report presents data and analysis evaluating the progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It proves that, with targeted interventions, sound strategies, adequate resources and political will, even the poorest countries can make dramatic and unprecedented progress. The report also acknowledges uneven achievements and shortfalls in many areas. The work is not complete, and it must continue in the new development era.

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Policy and operational messages to support UN Country Teams in integrating human rights into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda

The messages in this document are envisaged to provide a common understanding for the UN system on how human rights can be integrated and should inform the planning and programming process as well as policy guidance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The messages focus on: a) how to align the SDGs with the country’s existing human rights commitments; b) how to fulfill the pledge to ‘leave no one behind’ and ‘reach the furthest behind first’; c) how to ensure active and meaningful participation in the preparation of the national SDG action plans; and, d) how to build robust accountability frameworks in the implementation of these national plans.

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Mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: reference guide to UN country teams

This document is designed as a reference guide for UN Country Teams (UNCTs), under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinators, that wish to support Member States and national stakeholders in adapting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to national contexts (“mainstreaming”) while protecting its integrity. The document covers eight implementation guidance areas that can serve as the basis for UNCT assistance at the national level, sub-national and local levels.

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Country-level needs for SDG implementation in Europe and Central Asia

In view of its interconnectedness, the new agenda of SDGs will require holistic approaches and coherent action by global, regional and country level actors. In order to ensure interlinkages between the regional and country levels, the ECA Regional UNDG Team undertook a consultation with ECA UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) and Country Teams (UNCT) through a survey to identify needs and requirements at country level with regard to SDG implementation. This document presents the finding of the survey as well as conclusions drawn.

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Delivering together facility for sustainable development

With the growing call for the UN development system to go beyond business-as-usual coordination and rise to the challenge to support implementation of the more ambitious and integrated 2030 Agenda, United Nations Development Operations and Coordination Office (UNDOCO) has reviewed the data and practice evidence, as well as the policy and resource mechanisms at its disposal, and established the Delivering Together Facility for Sustainable Development (DTF), to be operational in 2017. The DTF is set up as a flexible funding mechanism to provide seed funds to RCs and UNCTs, to help them leverage joined-up UN development system’s efforts in support of Member States implementing the 2030 Agenda. This document presents the design features, strategic framework, implementation arrangements and fund management of the DTF, which will become operational in 2017.

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Transforming equality: UN Women in Eastern and Southern Africa

With a regional office based in the United Nations Complex, Nairobi, and country offices covering sixteen nations, with a presence in an additional ten countries, UN Women is well positioned to continue its work on gender equality in Eastern and Southern Africa.The report presents a glimpse into some of the activities and programmes lead by the regional office that have had measurable impacts, and which can be further grown with donor support.

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Looking back, leaping forward: moving from MDGs to SDGs in Europe and Central Asia

This report takes stock of the progress achieved in Europe and Central Asia under the MDGs with the aim to chart the elements that are crucial for a successful transition to the SDGs. It draws on the experiences derived from the implementation of the MDGs, but also addresses the new challenges and opportunities for integrated interventions that come with the much more complex 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The report is structured into three parts. First, it takes stock of the progress achieved in the implementation of the MDGs. It aims to identify the main challenges at the beginning of the MDG period, how these were addressed and what has been achieved. The second section places the MDGs in the context of the wider SDG framework by identifying the unfinished agenda under the MDGs and discussing how the areas covered by the MDGs are now reflected in the 2030 Agenda. The final section describes some of the initial steps that governments in the region are taking to implement the 2030 Agenda and the ways in which the regional UN system can support these efforts. It concludes by identifying and assessing a number of risks that may influence SDG achievement and stressing the importance of collaboration for successful implementation.

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Standard operating procedures for countries adopting the 'Delivering as One' approach

Following the implementation of the ‘Delivering as One’ approach in 8 pilot countries, a second generation of “Delivering as One” was called for in 2012 and more than forty countries have formally adopted it. Efforts under 'Delivering as one' have now matured to the point where this set of Standard Operating Procedures is developed. They will enable the United Nations to function more effectively and foster greater collaboration and teamwork. The document is structured according to the core elements of the ‘Delivering As One’ approach: One Programme, Common Budgetary Framework (and One Fund), One Leader, Operating as One and Communicating as One.

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The Sustainable Development Goals are coming to life: stories of country implementation and UN support

This publication provides a glimpse into the early efforts of 16 countries across regions to bring the global SDGs to life, and the role United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) play in the process. It illustrates how these countries are beginning to integrate the 2030 Agenda into visions, strategies and plans at the national, sub-national and local levels. The country efforts include raising public awareness, seeking engagement of different stakeholders, adapting the SDGs to national and local contexts, increasing coherence across policy areas and between levels of government, assessing risk and strengthening monitoring and accountability mechanisms.

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The Sustainable Development Goals are coming to life: stories of country implementation and UN support

This publication provides a glimpse into the early efforts of 16 countries across regions to bring the global SDGs to life, and the role United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) play in the process. It illustrates how these countries are beginning to integrate the 2030 Agenda into visions, strategies and plans at the national, sub-national and local levels. The country efforts include raising public awareness, seeking engagement of different stakeholders, adapting the SDGs to national and local contexts, increasing coherence across policy areas and between levels of government, assessing risk and strengthening monitoring and accountability mechanisms.

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Analysis of the U.S. market for organic and fair-trade bananas from the Dominican Republic

The main goal of this report is to identify strategies to facilitate the entry of organic and fair-trade bananas from the Dominican Republic (D.R.) into the U.S. market, as well as the determination of production and marketing strategies that can contribute to increased income for D.R. banana producers. The report begins with an overview of the U.S. banana market, its value chain projections and demand characteristics, followed by a SWOT analysis of the D.R. banana sector as well as a discussion of identity and branding considerations. In the concluding section, short-term and medium-term strategies for enhancing the D.R.'s presence in the U.S. organic banana market are presented.

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Evaluation of the Platform HD (Human Development) 2010

The purpose of the evaluation is to provide a ‘big picture’ perspective on the extent to which the Platform HD 2010 has strengthened UN-civil society relations and policy dialogue on a range of development outcomes, particularly with regard to the MDGs, human development and the advancement of inclusive multilateralism. At the country level, the evaluation assessed the extent to which the program’s activities have facilitated greater citizen participation in policies and practices related to the achievement of the MDGs, and supported UNCTs in strengthening civic engagement and human development, using the MDGs as the entry point. As a knowledge tool, the evaluation identifies best practices, lessons learned and recommendations that will be useful to the work of United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs), UN development actors (at the country, regional and headquarter levels), civil society organizations and stakeholders.

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