Cross River State Government and the United Nations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the implementation of the 2014 Joint Annual Work Plan with investment portfolio of $1,181,165,557.08.
The Work Plan, which would initiate the working relationship with 12 UN organizations delivering at the same time to the state with 383 activities, will be implemented by selected MDAs covering four areas of Good Governance, Social Capital Development, Sustainable & Equitable Economic Growth and Human Security and Risk Management.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Calabar, Monday, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Daouda Toure, who was represented by Mrs. Ratidzai Ndhlovu, disclosed that the event was special in the calendar of UN in Nigeria as it marked the beginning of a process of long-term engagement between the state and the UN family.
He maintained that the project, which has been captured under the new UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF III) and the “Delivery as One” (DaO) modality that Nigeria has recently been enrolled into, was significant as it would consolidate a long-standing partnership between the two parties.
His words: “This would not have happened without your visionary leadership, your passion and commitment to deliver development results for the people of Cross River caught the attention of the UN community and led to the selection of the state as one of the ten focal states in Nigeria to be enrolled as DaO states under the UNDAF III (2014-2017).”
While lauding the effort of the state government at initiating development programmes that would have direct impact on the citizenry, Toure said the exercise which has helped in building the requisite capacities for the actualization of the set goals of the agency, would further facilitate collaboration across sectors as well as enhance ownership of development programmes.
The envoy further disclosed that, “Cross River State at the moment, has the largest concentration of 12 UN agency support under Delivery as One, second only to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This indeed, gives the state an opportunity to not only receive support from many UN agencies, but most critically for the UN to offer relevant, coherent, efficient and effective response to the state’s needs and priorities.”
Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, who described the exercise as a good beginning for “Delivery As One” in Nigeria, particularly in Cross River State, noted that if successfully implemented, it would serve as an excellent model for development programme in Nigeria.
According to him, “The exercise would ensure more meaningful, sustainable, effective partnership, especially in the social sector not just to alleviate poverty but to significantly grow the economy and create opportunity for our people.”
“Project like this is something that we have very great hope and we remain committed to its successful implementation, knowing the attendant significant impact on ordinary Cross Riverian,” Imoke maintained.
While assuring of full implementation of the programme, he disclosed that, “There is a law before the state House of Assembly that would allow us to ensure that fund for this project is not just provided for in the budget, but is actually legislated for, which would help us keep to our responsibility of delivering accordingly.”
Special Adviser, International Development Cooperation, Mr. Roy Ndoma-Egba, described the exercise a solid foundation laid for the overall development of the State.
He disclosed that the UN would contribute 50 percent of the investment while the state is expected to bear the remaining cost, adding that the document has provided a window for the state to collectively work together to achieve its vision.