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General News of Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Source: The Post Newspaper

‘Dump diplomacy, tell us where we have gone wrong’


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The Director of North-South Cooperation in the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, MINEPAT, Dieudonne Takouo, has appealed to representatives of donor agencies of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, to keep aside diplomatic language and tell the government what has gone wrong with the projects they are funding.

Takouo made the strongly worded appeal during the first ever evaluation and follow-up meeting of the action plan of UNDP of some four key programmes of the country aimed at improving lots of Cameroonians. The programmes include: “improvement of participatory policy of vulnerable social groups and integration of their preoccupations, gender and cross-sectional dimensions…in sectoral planning, policy and strategies.” This component of the programme is being implemented by MINEPAT.

Others are “improvement in resilience by the population to the effects of climate change,” being carried on by the Ministries of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, MINATD and Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development, MINEPDED.

The programme on the “improvement of services rendered to users of the public service,” is implemented by the Ministries of Public Service & Administrative Reform and that of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises while that on “improvement in revenue and access by the population of localities in the sahelian zone to basic socio-economic services,” is jointly carried out by MINEPAT and the Ministry of Finance, MINFI.

It was therefore at the start of the evaluation meeting of these programmes in Yaounde on July 30 that Takouo insisted that there is no need for the donors using diplomatic language to please government officials if projects of the four programmes are not being carried out as required. According to him, it is only through such a frank and hard talk that the situation could be remedied.

The Director said from the engagements of UNDP in the last few years, it is clear from all indication that the UN body is not only out to see Cameroon develop as a country but is also working to ensure that the right of the people are well addressed while looking to alleviate poverty as well. He called on the participants to honestly identify positive strides made in the implementation of the programmes as well as propose solutions to the problems so as to improve on the performance aimed at attaining set objectives.

Maintaining that planning of activities is an integral part of the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper, DSCE, Takouo stated that any activity that is not being evaluated along the line is likely to fail or yield very little results.

Speaking at the occasion, the Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP, Corneille Agossou, revealed that the UNDP Action Plan on Programme of the Countries abbreviated in French as CPAP for the 2013-2017 period in Cameroon was signed with MINEPAT on April 2, 2013. He said the document is within the framework of the United Nations System in helping the country attain the objectives of the Growth and Employment Strategy Paper.

According to Agossou, the move is aimed at assisting Cameroon in its development challenges. He said assisting the vulnerable population through priority projects must be backed by palpable results and hoped government would keep to its engagement especially as it pledged to put up structures to coordinate and follow-up the four programmes.

Some of the obstacles to the smooth implantation of the programmes identified in various presentations at the meeting included unavailability of funds from government, non-functioning of the pilot committee, heavy administrative machinery, growing insecurity in project zone especially in the northern parts of Cameroon and insufficient resources.

Reduction in UNDP regular funds; absence of technical structures for the projects; lack of interest by mayors to take measures and employ the youth, women and physically challenged persons, lack of interest by local organisations to benefit from the projects, amongst many other shortcomings, were identified as stumbling blocks to the programmes. A series of measures to stem the problems were also proposed at the meeting.

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