UN Eritrea 2014 Overview

Christine N. Umutoni, UN Resident / Humanitarian Coordinator in Eritrea
Christine N. Umutoni, UN Resident / Humanitarian Coordinator in Eritrea

By UN Eritrea,

THE past 12 months have been productive and fruitful for the United Nations in Eritrea. Towards the end of 2013, the UNDG-ESA mission visited Eritrea, kicking of a year of several missions and events.

Key among them include; the visit of the technical mission from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in January 2014, the Joint Annual review of the SPCF in June 2014, the data and statistics mission at the invitation of Government in August 2014, the DPA mission also in August 2014, the DPA led brainstorming on Eritrea facilitated by the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF) in New York, and lastly the visit of the UNDG focal point for Eritrea and UNICEF Regional Director, Ms. Leila Pakkala together with IOM Regional Director, Mr. Ashraf El Nour.

We have also seen developments in the relations between World Food Program and the Government. Recently the government approved two concept notes from WFP, which means that a food security assessment and a port assessment will be undertaken in 2015. These are good news after WFP has been un-operational in Eritrea the last few years.

For everyone working on the ground in Eritrea, an important event was the re-establishment and first meeting in June, of the Eritrean Development Partner’s Forum. UN Agencies, Embassies and NGOs came together to update each other on their activities in Eritrea. This first meeting saw presentations by ambassadors of South Africa and the EU Delegation on their work in the country, and hopefully, future meetings will see more sharing and learning from each other.

A UN General Assembly side event on Eritrea took place 26 September 2014. The side event, jointly organized by the Eritrea UNCT and GoSE, was part of efforts aimed at improving the visibility of Eritrea at global level. The Government of Eritrea seized the opportunity of its participation in the 2014 UN General Assembly to share its experiences, lessons learnt, and best practices in achieving the health MDGs, 4, 5, and 6 with the rest of the world. Preparations for this important high level event were supported by all agencies in country and HQ departments of various agencies and worked closely with the UNDP MDG Advisor for Africa.

Another highlight of the year was the successful congress and international symposium of the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) September 15, which was supported by UNDP and UNFPA. This event brought together women from all over Eritrea joined by gender experts, Ministers for Gender issues from the COMESA region, as well as the representative of UN Economic Commission for Africa. This was an opportunity for Eritrean women to interact among themselves and choose their leaders and to meet other women from the region but also for the visitors from the region to visit and interact with Eritreans and learn from each other. After the symposium the visitors had an interaction with the President of Eritrea and made field visits in different parts of the country to see women projects.

The celebration of UN Day 2014 sparked the debate on the post 2015 development agenda in Eritrea and on how to build on the success achieved on the Millennium Development Goals. We look forward to more discussions on this in the time to come, and hope on engagement from all stakeholders in Eritrea.