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Jul 18, 2011, 12:46 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

The Government of The Gambia (GoTG) and the United Nations Friday signed the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2012-2016 at a ceremony held at the office of the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service.

Guided by the 2000 Millennium Goals and Declaration, the UNDAF is a document of cooperation between the Government and the UN which outlines how the UN System can respond to national priorities and needs.

The UNDAF is designed to enhance the collaboration and coordination of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in improving efficiency and effectiveness of UN development assistance to The Gambia.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ousman Jammeh, Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, said UNDAF describes the priorities and outcomes, estimated resource envelop, processes and mechanism for implementation, as well as monitoring and evaluation.

According to him, it provides the strategic direction, partnership and cooperation between The Gambia and the UN, and focuses on three strategic priorities, namely poverty eradication and social protection, basic social services, and governance.

“Across the three priorities, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) will focus its technical support, resources, and advocacy to make tangible contributions to eight outcomes,” he said, adding that these are critical institutional and behavioral changes that will help to achieve national development goals and related MDGs,” SG Jammeh stated.

While commending the close collaboration between the UN and the Government of the Gambia in the preparation of the UNDAF, SG Jammeh expressed the need for a coordinated implementation and joint accountability of both the UNCT and the Government of the Gambia.

He stated that the preparation of the UNDAF has been indeed participatory, and there is ownership in the sense that government took a lead role through a multi-sectoral national taskforce.

He further challenged the UN system to continue to move towards greater harmonization and alignment of programmes and interventions so as to meaningfully harness the effectiveness of aid in The Gambia in line with the Paris Declaration.

Mrs Chinwe Dike, UN resident coordinator in The Gambia, speaking at the ceremony, described the signing as a milestone, adding that they did not feel like groups apart, but that they felt as one big team working together.

She said what they intend to do is to collaborate in making the outcomes a reality, and having a results-based and a results striving framework and cooperation.

Ms Dike commended the Gambia government on behalf of her team.

Saikou Kawsu Gassama, Secretary to the Cabinet, chaired the ceremony.