The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has won the 2023 International Standards of Accounting and Reporting Honors (ISAR Honors) in recognition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reporting through its Integrated Planning and Reporting Toolkit (IPRT).
The IPRT is a web application sponsored by the ECA. It was developed in response to the needs of African countries to simultaneously adopt and integrate both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 into their national development. This enabled member countries to report their progress on the SDGs and Agenda 2063 in a harmonized way.
ISAR Honors, an initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), raises awareness and facilitates the dissemination of national and international best practices on sustainability and SDG reporting as an integral part of annual reporting by companies.
The ISAR Honors initiative aims to support efforts on enhancing the quality and comparability of companies’ reporting on their contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its usefulness for monitoring the implementation of the SDGs. It recognizes policy, institutional or capacity-building initiatives that encourage and assist enterprises to publish data on their contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The ECA received the award at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates on October 17 2023. Commenting on the award, ECA Chief of the Development Planning Section, Bartholomew Armah said: “The award really means one thing -that persistence pays. When the tool was initially developed it was very difficult to get the buy- in of countries but with time the tool has actually evolved as a result of the input and feedback we have received from countries about how the tool can address their needs.”
He noted that more countries were now requesting support from the tool and have been assisted in preparing for the voluntary National reviews conducted in New York under the High Level Political Forum.
“We have created a global and continental movement towards digitizing the national planning framework. I think this is the lasting legacy of the IPRT, really shifting from manual planning to digital planning,” Mr. Armah said, underscoring that when development planning is done effectively, it can ensure more efficient and transparent use of national resources. Besides, development planning requires data and the IPRT has made it possible for countries to identify and address data gaps in their planning process.
Mr. Armah explained that the IPRT was developed after realizing that countries needed to align their national plans to several international commitments – like the Doha Programme of Action and the LDC programme of Action – besides the SDGs, a difficult task for many.
The web tool was developed to make it easier for countries to do such alignment through digital technology. The web based software which can be accessed from any part of the world has currently benefitted 29 countries and one regional economic community. Countries were trained in digitizing their national development plans which have a results framework showing goals, targets and indicators. These were then compared with the goals, targets and indicators of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.
Mr. Armah said a few countries have demonstrated commitment to using the tool by accepting the training offered by the ECA and also by co-sponsoring training events. “We have seen that for countries that we have engaged with over time, we have seen improvements to the extent which their plans are aligned to the two agendas,” said Mr. Armah.
About the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA’s) mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its Member States, foster intraregional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development. ECA is made up of 54 Member States and plays a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape