Sun, 30 May 2021 - 01:12 GMT
Minister of International Cooperation, Rania A. Al-Mashat, and Elena Panova, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt
CAIRO- 30 May 2021: Egypt and the United Nations (UN) reviewed the achievements of the joint development projects and initiatives of the past year and discussed the allocated budget for projects planned for the budget year 2021/2022.
This came during the Annual Meeting of the Steering Committee of the UN Partnership Development Framework (UNPDF)- the strategic cooperation framework between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the United Nations for 2018-2022, held between Minister of International Cooperation, Rania A. Al-Mashat, and Elena Panova, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt.
The hybrid meeting was held at the premises of the Ministry of International Cooperation, with the participation of all Country Directors of UN agencies operating in Egypt, in addition to senior representatives from line ministries and national institutions, including Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Education, Local Development, Manpower, Trade and Industry, Environment, Social Solidarity, Planning and Economic Development, and Health and Population. Also present, were representatives of the Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egyptian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA), the National Population Council and the National Council for Women (NCW).
The Steering Committee of the UN Partnership Development Framework focuses on four main pillars: Inclusive Economic Development, Social Justice, Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resources Management, and Women’s Empowerment. The planning for the work under the four strategic themes is overseen by four Results Groups that are also co-chaired by relevant institutions from the Government and the UN. The estimated budget for the implementation of the goals of the UNPDF amounts to $1.2 billion.
Results of the Strategic Partnership Development Framework with the UN in 2020
During the Steering Committee Meeting, the United Nations presented and reviewed the work conducted in support of government efforts, under the UNPDF and its respective four strategic pillars, in the year 2020.
Inclusive Economic Development
Within the framework of the first pillar, a partnership was launched between the UN in Egypt and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (MSMEDA), to provide technical support and facilitate the provision of financial services as well as capacity-building services. Moreover, a national survey was launched to identify the impact of COVID-19 on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Egypt, in cooperation with MSMEDA and the CAPMAS. In Gharbiya Governorate, several milk collection centers were developed in support of this strategic subsector and within the framework of a partnership between the Ministry of International Cooperation and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The implemented projects and initiatives supported 103.5 thousand start-ups and existing companies, about 5.2 thousand beneficiaries were trained in the field of business administration, and 3,952 institutions were supported to access financial and non-financial services and markets. Furthermore, 1,517 small-scale cotton farmers were supported to gain access to markets as part of the “Better Cotton Initiative''. In addition, the government has received technical support to design the “Forsa” [Opportunity] program launched by the Ministry of Social Solidarity, which aims to provide job opportunities for eligible groups from the beneficiaries of the “Takaful and Karama” social safety net program, and assist them in their transition to a self-sufficient career path.
Within the framework of this pillar, the UN supported the Government of Egypt’s efforts to develop an action plan to end violence against children and adopt standard operating procedures to manage child protection case management; this includes children on the move and protection in emergency cases. In addition, technical support was provided to support Egypt's efforts to develop an inclusive health insurance law.
The UN also contributed by providing technical support for the expansion of social safety net programs to enable them to reach 203,700 vulnerable families; including 4,649 refugees and vulnerable migrant families, in addition to supporting 110,300 families' access to clean drinking water. Furthermore, the UN also supported the Government of Egypt’s efforts in facing the negative repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic by providing virtual trainings to 5,200 employees on topics that are COVID-19- related; providing 6 million medical face masks, 3 million gloves, and 380,000 packages of personal protection equipment to employees working in the health care sector. Moreover, 192,700 children and their families have received financial assistance as an alternative to school meals.
Environmental Sustainability and Natural Resources Management
Within this pillar of the framework, the UN provided technical support to the Government of Egypt during the preparatory stage of the National Housing Strategy and the stages of updating the 2030 Sustainable Agricultural Development Strategy and reviewing the Environmental Law. Moreover, 35,600 small-farmers were trained on climate change adaptive measures.
Technical support has also been provided to the Government of Egypt regarding the promotion of ecotourism through the “Go Green” presidential initiative, in addition to allocating development financing worth $4 million for projects promoting solar thermal energy technology in the industrial sector. Also, 82 companies have adopted green and circular systems pushing towards a green industrial transition.
Government officials in coastal cities have also been trained in methods to integrate coastal zone management, as well as the establishment of a central processing facility for managing healthcare waste in Gharbiya Governorate, the introduction of modern treatment systems, and the establishment of an online training platform for healthcare waste management.
Regarding COVID-19, “El Mufeed” mobile application was developed to provide agricultural advisory digital services; including food safety recommendations related to COVID-19. Another initiative in support of the agricultural sector was launched, targeting the rural population and reaching about 30 million people. In addition to that, a joint assessment of the UN agencies was conducted on the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture, food and nutrition security in Egypt.
Through this pillar, the Government of Egypt, in cooperation with the UN, developed a national action plan to combat Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), while the ‘Women's Citizenship Initiative’, empowered 80,000 women through the issuance of national ID cards and the provision of public services. Also, the door-knocking campaigns launched by the National Council for Women aiming to eliminate FGM were able to reach 13 million people.
This is in addition to 43,900 women receiving financial and non-financial services, including 17,500 women that have received small loans and were trained on animal production. Moreover, 8,340 women participated in the digital literacy programs conducted by the government in an effort to close the digital gap.
As for COVID-19, a financial inclusion program for women has been launched, targeting 125,000 women in Upper Egypt, and a rapid gender assessment has been conducted on the social and health impacts of the pandemic. Similarly, a rapid assessment on the impact of COVID-19 on women receiving small loans was also conducted. Moreover, 1,395 maternal healthcare staff received 25 online training workshops on enhancing HIV testing quality among pregnant women.
The Ministry of International Cooperation is the National Coordinator of the United Nations Partnership Development Framework (UNPDF) and co-chairs the UNPDF Steering Committee with the UN Resident Coordinator Office in Egypt.
Egypt is one of the 50 founding Member States of the United Nations in 1945, and it has a long history of relations with the United Nations, its programs, agencies, and funds. The Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations coordinates the work of United Nations organizations operating in Egypt and the Government of Egypt and its institutions in hopes of streamlining the efforts exerted in executing the joint development framework.