The United Nations and South Africa

The United Nations is a universal organization whose purposes are to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends.

South Africa was one of the original 51 founding members of the United Nations, which came into existence on 24 October 1945. Since its inception the membership of the Organization has grown to 193 States.

In South Africa, the United Nations is committed to enhancing the performance and impact of the UN system in contributing to the development of South Africa. Under the “Delivering As One” concept, the UN system seeks to further strengthen the management and coordination of UN activities so that they can make an even more effective contribution to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals MDGs).

UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF)

To this end, the UN system in South Africa has developed an action programme known as the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for the period 2007 to 2010. The Framework is designed to work in alignment to the national development priorities of South Africa. The value the UN adds to development progress in South Africa is its expertise in analyzing issues through its reports, its advocacy role in promoting the MDGs and its commitment to a pro-poor agenda.

The new UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2007-2010 defines areas of development cooperation between the Government of South Africa and the UN. For the first time, the UNDAF in South Africa was developed using the key principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and Country Ownership.

The Guiding Principles behind the UNDAF are:

  1. The UN reform process and the mandate for system-wide coherence;
  2. The targets for the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs);
  3. National ownership of country programming and alignment with national development priorities;
  4. Adherence to UN pro-poor agenda and support to develop the capacity for good governance.

The comprehensive approach to the UNDAF process ensures that it is aligned with South Africa’s national plans such as the Vision 2014, the National Plan of Action and Government’s Corporate Governance System. In this context, the outcomes of the UNDAF 2007-2010 are expected to ensure that:

  1. Democracy, good governance and administration are strengthened;
  2. Government and its social partners are supported to ensure accelerated economic growth and development for the benefit of all;
  3. National and sub-regional institutions are strengthened to consolidate the African agenda, promote global governance and South-South cooperation;
  4. Government’s efforts to promote justice, peace, safety and security are strengthened;
  5. Programmes and measures to eradicate poverty are intensified.

As a follow up to the UNDAF process, the UN system in South Africa has also developed a Common UN Country Programme Action Plan.