Reaffirming Africa's development commitments
There is a decisive push towards making the Post-2015 framework anchored around broad-based consultation and a bottom-up approach. The approach towards a new set of goals has also taken a clear departure from the past with a rallying call for ‘bold yet realistic’ targets.
The statistics from the third High Level Panel (HLP) meeting held in Monrovia, Liberia in early February said it all; more than one thousand people participating in pre-consultations from over 100 countries around the world, 60 civil society organisations, 15 media organisations, 3 co-chairs of the High Level Panel and one agenda focusing on economic transformation to chart the way forward for sustainable development and a new, better framework starting.
Attending the HLP were co-chairs Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and other distinguished panel members. The Panel is expected to submit a final report by the end of May 2013, which in turn will inform the UN-Secretary General report on MDGs performance and recommendations for the Post 2015 development framework.
Download HLP press statement: English
Hon. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, Hon. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Stefan Rousseau
"As one of the co-chairs of the panel, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is ensuring that the priorities of Africa and Africans are reflected. The general theme is putting in the national building blocks for sustained prosperity so that Africa can stand on its feet", - Heritage Liberia
In their overall recommendation as noted in their official press communiqué, the co-chairs observed that the process of achieving structural transformation will ideally encompass suitable growth with equity which includes empowerment of women and girls, investment in young people’s development, ensuring universal learning coupled with reproductive health. Secondly, they emphasised the importance of creating wealth through sustainable and transparent management of resources in a manner that benefits local populations while promoting sustainable development.
Lastly the co-chairs emphasized the importance of partnership with stakeholders unified behind a common agenda encouraging local governments, CSOs, private sector to align their efforts with those pursuing sustainable development.
Eminent Persons of the Post 2015 High Level Panel and UN Secretary General. The HLP is expected to submit its report by the end of May 2013. Photo: Nasser Ayoub
Socio-economic transformation for Africa is an emerging perspective that has continued to receive attention and was a point of reference for many speakers during the Monrovia meeting. In its official statement, the HLP emphasizes that “the global community must pursue economic and social transformation leading to sustained and inclusive economic growth at the local, national and global levels”.
Civil society consultations
From 28 – 30 January 2013, three days of continuous civil society consultation, town hall meetings and roundtables preceded the HLP meeting. During the roundtables, more than 60 African civil society organisations came together to share evidence from grassroots, frame and articulate on a clear vision for the future, and deliberate on an emerging African Narrative that will inform the African consensus and position. The African civil society network will release an official press statement reflecting the HLP views and recommendations and putting into perspective the work that lies ahead.
Those who attended the interphase between CSOs and the HLP on the 30th and those who followed the event through social networks like Facebook and Twitter also remember Prof. Gita Sen, a scholar from India, who captured the attention of the crowd with her message of hope, urging the African civil society to focus on concrete recommendations drawn from development reality.
“There are aspects of the economic environment that are critical which include the continuing financial crisis, the problem of climate change that continue to be unresolved, the rising and persistent issues around conflict, the unregulated forms of privatization and the absence of accountability. Therefore, economic growth needs to be centrally combined with human development, including a social protection floor and central attention to human rights”, said Prof. Sen.
"We hope to create a basis for meaningful engagement with CSOs who will no longer be at the periphery, but will be at the table and be able to create the foundation for people to have the ability to function", said ACORD's Ousainou Ngum.
Representatives of women, youth, children, farmers, entrepreneurs and informal sector and people with disabilities had an opportunity to share their concerns and forward recommendations through five special roundtables whose outcomes were synthesised into priority documents submitted to the HLP.
The Monrovia HLP meeting and preceding meetings held in Dakar, Nairobi, Rio de Janeiro and other venues, have continued to outline a path of continued dialogue on the Post 2015 framework. The 4th HLP meeting to be held in Bali in March 2013 will provide another opportunity to review the outcomes of Monrovia and include the views of various stakeholders gaining new dimensions and impetus. This brings to mind an old African proverb, which states that ‘tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today’.
Download priority documents:
Ousainou Ngum, ACORD Executive Director
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf