While Chief Executives Board considered a number of substantive programme issues during the reporting period, the issues of climate change and support to development in Africa featured high on the Board’s agenda. The nature and scope of those issues require that they be addressed through a coordinated and sustained effort that CEB is well positioned to provide. CEB also initiated consideration of the multifaceted challenges presented by the rising international prices of basic food commodities that have threatened the advances made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. The Board agreed on a United Nations system common approach to help developing countries confront the emerging global food crisis.

Through its High-Level Committee on Programmes, the Board further considered several programme issues of system-wide importance. The Board noted that two recent outputs — Toolkit for Mainstreaming Employment and Decent Work and Trade Capacity-Building: Inter-Agency Resource Guide, which were produced under its auspices — were practical publications that could serve as models for the United Nations system’s efforts in other areas as well. Recurring items on the High Level Committee on Programmes’ agenda during the reporting period were its consideration of the United Nations system action plan for the further implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries during the period 2007-2010; aid-for-trade; the achievements of UN-Energy, UN Water and UN-Oceans; and the rights of persons with disabilities. Two new items on the agenda were those of peacebuilding and disaster risk reduction.

In continuation of its previous practice, CEB also addressed several issues with both programme and management implications through joint efforts by the High-Level Committee on Programmes and the High-Level Committee on Management. The Board’s considerations of those cross-cutting issues are covered in the final section of the present report.

Climate change

At the request of the Secretary-General, the Chief Executives Board, through the High-Level Committee on Programmes, undertook to prepare the United Nations system’s contribution to the meeting of the Conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007.

Africa

CEB continued its consideration of African development and the multidisciplinary response required from the United Nations system given the interdependent nature of the development process in Africa. Board considerations focused on the need for clarity with respect to the various initiatives in the United Nations system on Africa. The Board was of the view that the approach the system was taking should be articulated clearly to Member States and to African Governments in particular.

Other programme matters

Employment toolkit; United Nations system action plan for the further implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries during the period 2007 2010; Aid for trade; Peacebuilding; Disaster reduction; Rights of persons with disabilities; UN-Energy, UN-Water and UN-Oceans; Trade capacity-building.

Emerging issues on the Chief Executives Board agenda

The Board reviewed the emerging global food price challenge and agreed on a common strategy in support of developing country governance to confront the crisis. CEB was of the view that the multifaceted challenge needed to be addressed in the short, medium and long term. The United Nations system would, in the short to medium term, cooperate in crisis response, development of emergency safety nets and social protection for the most vulnerable, and on rapid employment and income-generation programmes.