Learning Forum Ushers in Post 2015 Dialogue
The essence of the Post 2015 development agenda is to develop a framework of ‘The World We want Beyond 2015' including vision, purpose and goals, build on the conceptual capital, achievements and limitations of the United Nations processes, especially the MDGs and Rio processes. The agenda also underpins principles of achieving human rights, reducing inequalities, and ensuring sustainability and seeks the inclusion of the views of people living in poverty and provisions for CSOs participation in the development agenda.
Rwandan Minister for Local Government,
Hon. James Musomi.
In line with the Post 2015 planning process, ACORD held a two-day Learning Forum in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th October 2012. The Forum aimed to build on the ongoing debate concerning the Post 2015 development agenda, a timely issue that continues to build momentum among the policy and planning networks.
Besides being a significant opportunity for ACORD's country and field staff to share their experiences, working tools and knowledge, it also emphasised on the need for shaping the post 2015 content by ensuring that what matters to the African citizen gets articulated and considered at global level and also by questioning and reconstructing the agenda framework to align to real issues.
More than 70 participants attended the forum, including partners from the United Nations Millennium Campaign, the Global Call to Action against Poverty (GCAP), and representatives from the Africa Decade of Persons with Disabilities. Among the special guests was the Rwandan Minister for Local Government, Hon. James Musomi. In his speech he informed the participants that in Rwanda, more than one million people have benefited from socio-economic initiatives like the one cow per family and improved health initiatives.
"Africa still grapples with serious governance and socio-economic issues, and a people-centred approach in bringing about change should therefore be encouraged in the process of setting up new targets and goals beyond 2015. We are encouraged by the commitment demonstrated among our citizens and the civil society movement working in Rwanda", the Minister explained.
The Forum provided a mechanism for sharing processes to do with the Post 2015 agenda, identify ACORD's niche, added value and appropriate approaches to adopt. It also identified potential tensions to pay attention to and suggested the way forward for ACORD and the African civil society in order to ensure unity, transparency, joint agenda setting and how to make the process inclusive.
The emerging concept of Civic-Driven Change (CDC) was also introduced to the participants by ACORD's Executive Director, Mr. Ousainou Ngum who explained that the concept rests upon practical and inclusive pillars promoting equity of political agency and rights-based approaches. In addition, CDC distinguishes between aided and unaided change and includes multiple knowledge and communication components. He showed the power of CDC by sharing the example from the ‘Arab Spring' where popular revolution in countries like Tunisia, Libya and Egypt led to complete overhaul of political processes.
'3 Years to the Finish Line'
Although the newly elected UN Special Adviser to the Secretary General on the Post 2015 development planning, Ms. Amina Mohammed, was unable to attend the forum, she shared a video message that was screened during the conference. In her message she urged the participants to go beyond the advocacy and put down tangible things that can be used as concrete supporting tools for those mandated with negotiating the way forward.
Ms. Amina Mohammed
"The opportunity to make this a success comes once in a lifetime. We keep saying that this is a new dawn, a new social contract. But we have 3 years to finish the job we started, we have 3 years in which to engage with what kind of future we deserve and what kind of future many need", said Amina Mohammed.
In the video, she stands in front of a classroom while a group of young people herd cows on one side and she brings the attention of the viewer to challenge noting that efforts to build classrooms does not always mean that learners attend classes as they have to attend to other pressing livelihood needs like looking after their cows. watch video
What Needs to be Done
Following the Post 2015 discussions, the following were adopted as part of the way forward:
- Enhance civil society updating, by summarizing and sharing the outcomes of the Learning Forum to current and potential partners;
- Develop and implement an engagement strategy and an associated plan of action;
- Develop the necessary capacities within ACORD and among its partners;
- Enhance ‘conceptual capitalisation' by identifying, sharing and utilizing and developing concepts and tools that foster inclusivity drawing upon multiple sources
The Learning Forum is a part of ACORD's governance model whereby the outcomes feed into ACORD's work on social justice and development.
ACORD's Leonie Sendegeya speaks to the participants during the Learning Forum.
Comments from Participants
"The CDC model challenges how we think and how we go about doing things. It is a complicated process with multiple facets and power hierarchies. It hinges on changes that are tailored for the future and the civic energy can be played out at all levels of society starting from the household unit"
- Leonie Sendegeya, ACORD Regional Programme Coordinator
"Our inability to make our agricultural systems functional means that our women and children continue to face malnutrition and this is being passed down into the future. Therefore, as we shift from CSO-led community development towards making communities the actors, we must understand how we progress and how we can measure the progress accurately"
Charles Abugre, Regional Director, United Nations Millennium Campaign
"It is incumbent upon us who have been there before to try to hand over the baton in a manner in which we can hit the ground running in 2015"
Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Post 2015 Development Planning
"Religious extremism is becoming a serious issue that has previously been under-estimated, but is now increasingly becoming a threat. Examples of countries devastated by religious extremism include Mali and Somalia. This also needs to be considered for the sake of peaceful coexistence among African communities"
Ibrahim Ouedraogo, Chairperson of the ACORD Board of Directors
"In order to prevent over-ambitious outcomes that cannot be implemented realistically, we need to ask ourselves: how do we find a balance between enablers and the targets being pursued?"
Monique van Es, Oxfam Pan Africa Programme Director