Sustainable development impossible without socio-economic integration – Janneh

For development to be sustainable it is essential to harness and build strong linkages between the three pillars of economic growth, social development and environmental protection, Mr Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have said.

If such approach is not taken, Mr Janneh, who is also a United Nations-Under Secretary-General says it could undermine the sustainability of development in a country.

Speaking at the Second Committee of the General Assembly of the UN in New York early October this year on the theme “Integration of the Three Pillars is Important for the World … and for Africa,” Mr. Janneh said “Without such an approach, gains made in one pillar could undermine progress in the other two.”

The Committee was hearing briefs on various issues relating to economic growth and development such as macroeconomic policy questions, financing for development, sustainable development,  etc for which it had invited heads of UN regional commissions to address it.

According to Mr. Janneh in a statement on ECA’s website, evidence from several parts of the world have shown that where the emphasis has been on only one pillar, it would be difficult to achieve sustainable development.

While the Africa region had achieved positive real growth rates since 2000, even in the face of the global economic and financial crisis, this had not translated into a commensurate reduction in unemployment and poverty, he said citing two examples from the African experience.

“Similarly, although there has been a noticeable increase in foreign direct investment in the natural resources sector, environmental degradation and erosion continue unabated and the sector contributes little to value-addition,” Mr Janneh said.

African regional, sub-regional and national institutions have taken on board the need to balance economic, social and environmental objectives, as a basis for sustainable development, said Mr Janneh, using the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Programme (NEPAD), Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the Capacity Development Programme (CDP) by ECOWAS as examples.

Notwithstanding these positive approaches, the implementation of integrated frameworks and strategies has been generally weak, with limited effectiveness due to inadequate institutional, technical and technological capacities, often compounded by limited budgetary resources, he indicated.

By Ekow Quandzie

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