CSCSD Work Around SDG 16

Reinforcing the assertion that SDG16 underpins the entire 2030 Agenda and that SDG16 is linked with all other SDGs, CSCSD collaborates with other development actors and organizations in engaging on issues around Goal 16 of the SDGs which is to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

Our member organizations are poised to think globally but act locally especially on the need to have a more transparent and accountable government which is germane to ‘an honest and responsive government’ as one of the top priorities in the My World survey. Our overall objective is to support, contribute and strengthen the capacity of civil society and other SDGs stakeholders to work on issues of transparency, accountability, and participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and integration of 2063 Agenda with a particular focus on SDG 16 which underpins the entirety of the 17 SDGs.

The video below talks more about what we do around SDG16

We work on the following issues, among others:

  • Building the capacity of our members on the issue of Freedom of Information Act 2011.
  • Creating awareness on gender-based violence, torture of children and female genital mutilation, and against related death rates.
  • Sensitization and capacity building on human trafficking and smuggling of persons.
  • Campaigning against impunity and decrying shrinking civic space for civil society.
  • Collaborating with anti-corruption agencies to campaign against corruption and bribery in both government and civil spaces.
  • Engaging the state actors on transparency and accountability for good governance.
  • Clamouring for all-inclusive non-discriminatory policy making at all levels for the benefit of the marginalised, the poor and the voiceless.
  • Training of our members on the thrust of SDG16 on access to justice for all and promoting peaceful and inclusive Nigerian society.

Minutes of Meeting of the CSCSD Stakeholders on SDGs

Minutes of Meeting of the CSCSD stakeholders on SDGs held on Friday, April 12, 2019, at Maria Ebun Foundation building CAFSO-WRAG for Development office, Atanda Estate of KLM 5 Ibadan-Ife Expressway, Adegbayi Area, Ibadan, Nigeria.
  1. Opening Prayer
  2. Welcome Address by the National Coordinator
  3. Apologies
  4. Reports from across the country on SDGs implementation process
  5. SDG Journal/Conference
  6. Planning for SDG 4 Education Summit/DAWN Commission
  7. HLPF 2019 Processes: Preparation towards VNR HLPF (report Moji)
  8. TAP Network support for Workshop around SDG 16
  9. FOIACSCSD Matter: OGP/FOIA award for Kayode Fayemi
  10. Collaboration with Sustainable Support Forum (SSF) and SDSN 16-22 June ‘19
  11. Actionable Points
  12. AOB
  13. Lunch
  14. Adjournment/Closing prayer
  1. Dr. Tola Winjobi – National Coordinator
  2. Pastor Peter Akosile – Ekiti State
  3. Martin-Mary Falana – Ekiti/Ondo State
  4. Mojisola Akinsanya – Ogun State
  5. Alo Martins – Ondo State
  6. Treasures Uchegbu – Lagos State
  7. AdebimpeAderounmu – Oyo State
  8. Salau Adekunle – Kwara State
  9. Funmi Akinyele PhD – Oyo State
  1. Opening Prayer: the meeting commenced 11.05am with an opening prayer by Pastor Akosile of PAAM ORG, Ekiti State.
  2. Welcome Address by the National Coordinator: Dr Tola Winjobi of CAFSO-WRAG for Development and also the National Coordinator of CSCSD welcomed the members. He stated that this is a pre-National stakeholder meeting to deliberate on very pressing development matter before bringing together everyone; he appreciated God for journey mercies for everyone and thanked the coalition for the birthday wishes, prayers, and encomium showered on him.
  3. Apologies
    1. Rev Fr. John Patrick – Chair, Board of Trustees
    2. Wasiu Adebiyi – Osun State Coordinator
    3. Dr. Ashimolowo – National Steering Committee member
    4. Mrs Bisi Mekwuye – BOT Member
    5. Pastor Nosegbe – Lagos Coordinator
  4. Reports from across the country on SDGs implementation process: Brief reports were elicited to enable members attending the HLPF to have robust CSCSD activity report at New York, it was unanimously agreed that a Google form be created to allow members to capture CSOs member reports, glean best global practice from such intervention as benchmark which can also be shared on the CSCSD media platforms. Martin-Mary Falana of Kids&Teens Resource Centre (Ekiti and Ondo respectively) took responsibility to create one. Reports provided by members present were as follows:
    • Ekiti State:
      1. Ending Violence Against Children Stakeholders meeting in Ekiti State attended by Government representatives across Health, Education, Women Affairs, Gender and Social Development, Information and Civil Society Organisation, Together plans were developed to create a safety net for all the children in Ekiti state. Law enforcement agencies cried over the “order from above” syndrome in handling cases of child sexual abuse.
      2. Beyond “Match Pasts” – CSOs have planned other interesting activities to mark this year’s National Children’s Day 2019
      3. Regular CSOs meeting in Ekiti State
    • Ondo State
      1. Agro-women initiative in Ondo state – a project of Life & Peace new Agricultural policy for the state. The program sort to assist women in agriculture access government loan as embedded in the state budget.
      2. CSOs follow-up meeting with Commissioner of Ministry of Economic, planning and Budget held March 15th, 2019 to discuss the issue of OGP which the Commissioner gave his word that he will discuss it with the Governor and revert in April 2019, promising that the government will sign on to OGP
      3. Children Hygiene And Sanitation Education (CHASE) Club among pupils in schools and children in communities implemented by Kids & Teens Resource Centre in collaboration with other CSOs in Ondo state. The government has approved the implementation of the project in all LGAs in the state.
      4. Adolescent Reproductive Health project with “PhotoVoice” Advocacy program by the Young People in Ondo state from four(4) public school. Young people now using pictures to conduct advocacy with policymakers
      5. CSOs on Kidney Alliance marked this year’s World Kidney Day with a 5 KLM walk, Counselling, and Testing
    • Lagos
      1. Advocacy and sensitization for the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the World Bank APPEALS (Agro-processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support) Project by SpeakingFingers Network
      2. Participation and presentation of Mental Health Foundation (member and host of CSCSD Lagos monthly meetings) at the visit of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination of Drug and Substance Abuse organized by the Lagos State Interministerial Drug Abuse Control Committee, identified key pain point areas include an Elimination of Stigma, Miscellaneous drug and rehabilitation,
      3. Ongoing presentation and Disability Orientation to Corporate organization as recently conducted by SpeakingFingers Network at Cake ‘n’ Candys and at the 2019 HR Expo Africa
      4. CSCSD members were enjoined to mainstream issues of mental, emotional wellness (SDG 3) and inclusion of persons living with disabilities (SDGs 4, 8, 10, 11 and 17) into its thematic focus in the light of UN’s Leave No One Behind.
      5. Participation SpeakingFingers Network on the invitation of the United Nations Information Centre in commemoration of the UN International Day of Happiness – March 20th annually.
      6. Monthly CSOs meeting held
      7. The question was posed to Lagos on the constitution of the state of lobbying by CSOs as members of the just inaugurated Transition Committee in Lagos State?
    • Ogun State
      1. Presentation of the People’s Manifesto to 656 participants comprising of Artisans, State Actors, Religious Leaders, etc. at the Cultural Centre in lieu of meetings with the gubernatorial candidates, of which only three (3) attended. However the APC leader sent in apologies owing to the security issues during his electioneering period;
      2. An official meeting was scheduled and attended by 30 CSOs Networks at the Cultural Centre, a four (4) Hour Advocacy meeting with to the First Lady as facilitated by Honorable ?????, who was present at the International SDGs Conference held by CSCSD Ogun state. She welcomed different presentations were made from other intervention areas and CSCSD SDG activities as well as the intent to decorate her as SDG Champion like the outgoing First Lady. An official presentation of the copies of the People’s Manifesto and SDGs Law ensued, while she who pledge to use her good office to mobilize funds for the implementation of the SDGs and inauguration of a think-tank committee to provide technical advisory support to His Excellency the Governor.
      3. The House applauded the milestone, access, and audience of the Ogun state First Lady which is almost a far cry of what is obtainable in other climes where fees are solicited from women attendees at the International Women’s Day by the Office of the First Lady
  5. SDG Journal/Conference:
    1. Journal: this is aimed at documenting CSCSD members activities of unique development interest and practice beyond conference proceedings, it could include abstracts, activities and paper presentations of members for references – where theory meets practice, Mr Aderonmu shared a case study of a peasant farm that produces 15 liters of milk under normal climate condition in Nigeria, that has become a research centre for best practical studies because they were able to flag its activities to relevant development actors. He was charged by the House to get the buy-in support of DEPRA as part of the Editorial Team and report to the House
    2. Conference: the resolution from the House unanimously agreed
      1. to host a unified Three (3) Day CSCSD International Conference August 26th to 31st, the venue at Abeokuta,
      2. a Pre-Youth Conference on August 26th to be headed by the CSCSD South-South Youths;
      3. a National Planning Committee to constituted comprising of members of the CSCSD National Steering Committee (NSC), the NSC is also mandated to co-opt other international agencies of support relevance to be a part of the National Planning Committee;
      4. A Local Organising Committee (LOC) chaired by Moji Akinsanya, Martin-Mary volunteered as Secretary, and three members each from each Southwest states (preferably the Coordinator, an Executive, Youth and or Active Member; gender balance should also be considered in the selection/nomination process); Ogun state was allowed more slots so we can leverage the effectiveness of her previous planning team.
      5. The following are selected members by state
        1. Ogun State: Mojisola Akinsanya, Tola Adenekan, Femi Olusola, Pro Helen Bodunde, Tayo Akinpelu, JDPC Youth
        2. Ondo: Mrs Odedele Yinka (Coordinator), High Chief Akomolafe, Miss Becky Deinde O.
        3. Ekiti: Pastor Peter Akosile, Mr Temitayo Fabunmi, Barr Rita Ileubare, Mr Femi Timilehin
        4. Lagos: Pastor Victor Nosegbe, Treasures Uchegbu, CSCSD Exco
        5. Oyo: Dr Funmi Akinyele, Mr Obayemi Moses Babasola, Mr Michael Olatunbosun
        6. Osun: Adebiyi, Rev.Bolaji Ebenezer, Mr Ayo Okelana
      6. A talking point should begin on our existing CSCSD platform by Dr. Winjobi, while the LOC Chairperson – Moji Akinsanya should create a Whatsapp group to kick start the planning
  6. Planning for SDG 4 Education Summit/DAWN Commission: The SW CSCSD members decry the deplorable state of performance of its children/wards in education in recent reports, hence is advocating for the declaration of a state of emergency on education and a proposed to host a SW Education summit in collaboration with DAWN Commission so as to leverage its existing partnership with the SW governments for their buy-in support; it was also recommended that youths within the states should leverage social media highlight key issues of advocacy inclusive of the dilapidated youth friendly centres across the nation and solicit their involvement in developing and implementation of laudable youth based policies as sighted by the National Policy on SRHR presented by Mr Martin-Mary Falana. Dr.Funmi Akinyele was charged with discussing with DAWN Commission; a shadow report from a side event at our Proposed International Conference
  7. HLPF 2019 Processes: Preparation towards VNR HLPF (report Moji): the House lauded Moji Akinsanya for creating WhatsApp platform to educate and engage CSCSD members towards effective application to participation at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF)/Voluntart National ReviewVNR in New York. She updated the house on the step by step process of Visa Application, securing appointment date, dispelled prevailing myths and misconception often peddled by agents like requesting participants to own huge back account balance amongst others, she also provided tips on securing travel history, likely pitfalls towards successful application, registration process on different UN platforms and most importantly how members of the Coalition can support one another while attending the HLPF.
  8. TAP Network support for Workshop around SDG 16: Dr Winjobi reported his appointment as one of the two African representatives on the TAP network, as a result, he has been able to secure Nigeria’s slot and participation for a 5,000 dollar grant project on SDG16; he had on behalf of CSCSD sent a concept note and it was resolved that a three (3) Man Committee comprising representatives from Oyo, Kwara and Lagos to look through the concept note; develop a realistic budget for the $5,000, and activities for a two (2) days training on SDG 16 in the month of May, which could be on transparency, accountability, democracy, human trafficking and or as the committee agrees, Mr Aderonmu to lead the process , a Whatsapp platform is created for engagement. Dr.Winjobi also announced an SDG Conference slated for May 27 to 29, 2019 in Rome, he enjoined CSCSD members to participate in the four(min) SDG16 storytelling challenge as well as visit the TAP Network website for value-added resources.
  9. FOIACSCSD Matter: OGP/FOIA award for Kayode Fayemi: Highlights of the interconnectivity of FOIA activities with CSCSD was shared by Dr. Winjobi, concerns were expressed on the prevailing challenges on the FOIA network which has stunted their performance, to re-strategize and resuscitate its activities, Mr Martin-Mary Falana was charged by the House to reach out to FOIA Network principal officers and revert, as CSCSCD seeks to award Gov. Kayode Fayemi for good governance by way of boosting him to sign into OGP. Moji Akinsanya in line with the aforementioned, informed the House of a preplanned meeting scheduled for Tues 16, April 2019 in lieu of decorating him as an SDG Champion, it was agreed that her team should leverage the visit to advocate for the OGP signing, invite as Keynote Speaker our upcoming International Conference and proposed SW Educational Summit.
  10. Collaboration with Sustainable Support Forum (SSF) and SDSN 16-22 June ’19: A letter addressed to our National Coordinator was presented to the House requesting CSCD members mobilization and free participation at a business trade and export fair organized by the Sustainable Support Forum by way of considering Development and Enterprise at Abuja June 16 to 22nd 2019. Members are free to bring products and services for sales exhibition stands. Dr Winjobi to request modalities for our participation and revert.
  11. Actionable Points
    1. Develop a Google form to capture members SDGs Activities – Martin-Mary
    2. Share soft copies of People’s manifesto and SDGs law to be circulated to CSCSD members for lobbying their Assembly- Moji Akinsanya
    3. Come up with a Journal to chronicle development practices in partnership with DEPRA – Adebimpe Aderounmu
    4. CSCSD Oyo state to engage DAWN Commission on Govt Participation at our proposed August International Conference in August and a possible SW Educational Summit to address the deplorable state of education in the SW region – Funmi Akinyele, PhD
    5. Create a talking point of our August International Conference on the CSCSD Groups– Dr Winjobi: Create a Whatsapp platform for LOC to discuss and engage on the implementation of the International Conference – Moji Akinsanya
    6. Members are enjoined to participate in the TAP Network SDG 16+ story telling challenge Dr. Winjobi to follow up on the contact at TVC on the write-up on behalf of CSCSD; he also enjoined members to look out on their website for more value-added resources
    7. Three Man Committee (Ibadan, Kwara, and Lagos) to look through the concept note submitted by Dr Winjobi to TAPnetwork to develop a realistic budget, and activities for a two (2) day training on SDG 16 in the month of May suggested discuss points could be on transparency, accountability, democracy, human trafficking or as the committee agrees – Mr Aderonmu
    8. Contact Officers of the FOIA Network to strategize and resuscitate activities – Martin-Mary Falana and Pastor Peter Akosile
    9. Visit to Gov. Fayemi in lieu of decorating him as SDGChampion which could be leveraged towards the advocacy towards signing into OGP for his state, inviting him as a Keynote Speaker at our proposed International Conference and SW Education summit – *Moji Akinsanya
    10. Mobilization of individual CSCSD state members to attend /participate at the Sustainable Support Forum Trade and Export Fair at Abuja June 16 to 22nd 2019* *Dr Winjobi* to request modalities for our participation
  12. AOB
    1. Memorial lecture in honor of Dr Funmi Akinyele’s father, Dr Adebukola, on the 2nd May
    2. Dr.Akinyele will also request that Nutrition be included as a discussion point at our upcoming International Conference in August.
  13. Lunch: Lunch was served courtesy of CAFSO-WRAG for Development office
  14. Adjournment/Closing prayer: a motion for adjournment was moved Dr.Tola Winjobi seconded by. Alo Martins Closing prayer by Salau Adekunle
  15. Members then proceeded for a group photograph

Treasures Uchegbu
Secretary, CSCSD Lagos

Track Achievements of CSCSD on the 2030 Agenda

Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) is a coalition of about 2,000 registered civil society and nongovernmental organizations committed to citizens’ empowerment, human rights protection, development and peace in Nigeria. It is the only registered national coalition of organizations purposely created to be working on the monitoring of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. A priority in the agenda of CSCSD, among other actions, is campaigning for pro-poor, global, and national policies that can accelerate broad-based economic growth, poverty reduction, and public
accountability, as well as the call for immediate action to reduce the debt burden of poor countries and institute fair trade policies and practices, and ODA development effectiveness among the OECD and other developed countries around the globe.

CSCSD has implemented a number of activities around SDGs including:

  • training of CSOs across the six geopolitical zones on the strategy of engagement of political office holders in accounting to SDGs (advocacy, accountability) in February 2016 and October 2018
  • a two-day capacity strengthening workshop on the strategies for localizing the SDGs for CSOs in Abeokuta and Ibadan (March/April 2017)
  • a one-day training of trainers workshop on social accountability as an entry point to implement open government commitments for CSCSD member organisations in Southwest Nigeria January 16 2019 at CESDEV, Ibadan Nigeria;
  • Radio and TV programmes creating awareness on SDGs: “Ojumo Alayo” 18-week episode, which is an SDGs Yoruba talk show on the Africa Independent Television (AIT) every Saturday; Splash FM 105.5 Ibadan “SDG Talk” every first Tuesday of the month featured in English; “Otun Ojo”/New Dawn OGTV Abeokuta live magazine programme where CSCSD Ogun State members feature every Monday 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. to talk about SDG events and gender nexus; and a two-quarter episode on Sweet FM 107.1 Abeokuta, Ogun State titled “The Podium” every Thursday from 9.00 a.m. to 10 00a.m.featured in both English and Yoruba Languages; and Development Today on Impact Business Radio;
  • an annual Lagos SDG Summit which started in 2017 to date. In 2018, we started an International Stakeholders’ Conference on SDGs (INSTACON) which is first of its kind in Nigeria, and are planning towards the second edition coming off August 26 to 30, 2019;
  • stakeholders meeting on Ending Violence Against Children in Ekiti State attended by Government representatives across Health, Education, Women Affairs, Gender and Social Development, Information and Civil Society Organisation where plans were developed to create a safety net for all the children in Ekiti State, February 2019;
  • agro-women Initiative in Ondo State – a project focusing on new agricultural policy for the Ondo State. The program seeks to assist women in agriculture in order to access the government’s loan as embedded in the state budget;
  • establishment of a Children Hygiene and Sanitation Education (CHASE) Club among pupils in schools and children in communities implemented by Kids & Teens Resource Centre in collaboration with other CSOs in Ondo state. The government has approved the implementation of the project in all LGAs in the state;
  • establishing SDG Clubs in some private secondary schools while we conduct annual SDG competition leading to award of excellence to the best three schools across Oyo State, Nigeria;
  • adolescent Reproductive Health project with “PhotoVoice” advocacy program by the Young people in Ondo State from four public schools where young people are now using pictures to conduct advocacy with policymakers;
  • advocacy and sensitization for the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the World Bank APPEALS (Agro-processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support) Project by Speaking Fingers Network, Lagos State;
  • workshop around speedy passing into law the bill on National Water Resources Management before the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a follow-up position paper and presentation to the office of the Senate President in Abuja;
  • presentation of the People’s Manifesto ( A Charter of Accountability) to 656 participants comprising of artisans, state actors, religious leaders, etc at the Cultural Centre Abeokuta. There was also a formal presentation of the People’s Manifesto to the incoming First Lady of Ogun State who pledged to use her good office to mobilize funds for the implementation of the SDGs and inauguration of a think-tank committee to provide technical advisory support to His Excellency the Governor;
  • always part of national and international meetings including Open SDGClub.Berlin, Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, National Voluntary Review/High-Level Political Forum (NVR/HLPF)
  • Reinforcing the assertion that SDG16 underpins the entire 2030 Agenda and that SDG16 is linked with all other SDGs, CSCSD collaborates with other development actors and organizations across the globe in engaging on issues around Goal 16 of the SDGs which is to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

The video below talks more about what we do around SDG16:

Press Release on the Celebration of the 3rd Anniversary of Agenda 2030 & SDGs


Gentlemen of the press.

All other protocols duly observed.

Today’s occasion is significant for two reasons: the 3rd anniversary of the inception of Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals; and the push for the National Water Resources Bill before the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

As we all know, the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 25th of September 2015 to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which had started 15 years before. The SDGs officially came into effect on the 1st of January 2016 and is expected to drive development efforts of Members States for the next 15 years. The 17 goals and 169 targets of the SDGs represent a global consensus recognising both the achievements and inadequacies of the MDGs and emerging development challenges and aspirations. The SDGs presents a strong commitment by both developed and developing countries to end extreme poverty and hunger, reducing inequalities and promoting inclusive growth. The SDGs also aimed at preventing morbidity and mortality from diseases, providing access to healthcare and quality education, combating climate change as well as promoting global partnership for sustainable development.

Unlike the MDGs, the process leading to the adoption of the SDGs had been adjudged to be one of the most participatory and consultative in the history of the United Nations. From the global, national and thematic consultations of citizens’ surveys and inter-governmental negotiations, the SDGs processes afforded stakeholders from State Parties to Civil Society Organisations, private sector, the academia amongst others, the opportunity to contribute to the shaping of the new global development agenda.

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the inception of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. This occasion is being celebrated simultaneously across the globe by governments, civil society organizations, professional associations, development partners, women’s groups, persons with disability, youth and the minority groups. Tagged the Global Day to #Act4SDGs, it mobilises multi-stakeholders, connects and amplifies the impact of local and global actions for the SDGs, and encourages a global movement for the achievement of SDGs. Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) is not lagging behind as it has instructed its members across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria to #Act4SDGs in their various localities. Its own adopted theme is:

“Towards safe, adequate and sustainable water supply services and sanitation for Nigerian people”.

How have we faired in the last three years in the implementation of SDGs in Nigeria? It is sad to note that according to The World Poverty Clock, Nigeria with 86.9 million poor people, has overtaken India as the world’s poverty headquarters. This figure translates to nearly 50 per cent of Nigerians suffering from poverty. According to Action Against Hunger, Nigeria, especially northern Nigeria, suffers the world’s third highest level of chronic under nutrition among children, and this is exacerbated by “lack of access to safe water and sanitation, rising food insecurity, the disruption of basic services due to conflict, and poor knowledge of healthy feeding practices for infants and young children”. A new national survey has shown that about 130 million Nigerians live without access to improved sanitation even as it revealed that Nigeria loses N455 billion (U$1.3 billion) annually due to poor sanitation (Vanguard on line: Sept. 22, 2018). Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria averaged 21.73 percent from 2014 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 33.10 percent in the third quarter of 2017 and a record low of 11.70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. Going by the figure released in the last quarter of 2016 by the National Bureau of Statistics that 28.56 million youths were unemployed, one can confidently say that the population of unemployed young people has increased to over 30 million in this third quarter of 2018. This is lamentable! It is unacceptable! How can Nigeria achieve SDGs by 2030 in the face of all these damning figures?

Achieving the SDGs is dependent on the political will of our leadership. Governments at all levels only need to walk the talk and stop paying lip service to development issues. Although all the 17 goals are important, they however do not have equal weight. Prioritising the goals is necessary because it is obvious government may feign not having enough the resources to bring about the realisation of the 17 goals by 2030. Whereas Nigeria has the resources, it has all it takes to attain SDGs but self-centeredness coupled with endemic corruption has been the bane of our development over time.

One of the Goals that need to be prioritised is Goal 6 which mandates the governments to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The second target of that goal encourages government to provide access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations. This goal is associated with the realisation of some other goals. For example, sound health can be achieved in our community with availability of quality and quantity water supply and good sanitation thus partly achieving Goal 3 of the SDGs.

This Goal 6 is linked to the National Water Resources Bill which the House of Representatives has passed and now before the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is an Act to provide for the equitable, beneficial, efficient and sustainable development, management, use and conservation of Nigeria’s surface and groundwater resources; to establish institutional arrangements for Nigeria’s water resources sector, to regulate the water resources sector and other matters connected thereto.

Though the bill may have its pitfalls, the import and benefits of the bill are what one needs to consider. For example, some people opine that though the bill provides for borehole drilling by River Basin Development Authorities (RBDA) in communities of the States, boreholes would be drilled without the engagement with the communities, LGAs and State level agencies. Meaning that there might not be enough consultations before action is taken, and this is against the spirit of inclusiveness that Agenda 2030 preaches. The Bill should be made to compel RBDAs and other federal agencies providing water and sanitation services within their areas of jurisdiction to carry the States and LGAs along in their plan so that the state apparatus can build community management structure into the plan and include such communities in their investment plans as captured in the monitoring system of the state. The Bill is also criticised as largely a water resources bill while the issue of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) seems to be relegated. If there can’t be a separate bill to address WASH, WASH should be factored into this bill. There also seems not to be enough awareness even at the state level as this is seen as a federal bill. There should be enough education and awareness especially on the roles and responsibilities of the federal level agencies including RBDA against the role of the communities, LGAs and State level agencies so as to prevent conflict of interests.

In fairness, the benefits of the bill outweigh its demerits. The importance on water in national development has been summarized in the statement that emanated from the UN Budapest Water Submit of 11th Oct, 2013 viz; “A sustainable World is a Water-Secured World”. Consequently, for a nation, a sustainable nation is a water–secured nation. The bill when passed is going to be a compendium of all water related bodies which are already in existence as the National In-Land Water-ways and National Water Resources Institute, Kaduna. In implementing the principles under subsections (1) and (2) of the bill, the institutions established under this Act shall promote integrated water resources management (IWRM) and coordinate the management of:

  • economic development, social welfare and environmental sustainability;
  • land and water resources;
  • surface water and groundwater resources;
  • the river basins and adjacent marine and coastal environment; and
  • upstream and downstream interests.

Other benefits of the National Water Resources Bill include:

  1. Integrated approach for better water resources management for all users to improve their livelihood in the state in terms of agric, domestic and industrial supply and sanitation for good health.
  2. Identification and harmonization of stakeholders’ responsibilities with a view to increasing coverage and water resources quality control.
  3. Improvement on the water resources development through effective control of over extraction.
  4. Addressing conflicting issues amongst stakeholders in the water sector usage and effective regulation of the sector surface and underground water.
  5. Improvement in the revenue drive of the water sector.
  6. Opportunity for the state governments to key into and take advantages of funding from Federal Government of Nigeria through water investment.
  7. The state governments would be able to meet the multilateral Institutions and International Development Partners’ conditionalities and prerequisite for financial support.
  8. Tendency to meet some of the targets of the SDG 6 on water and sanitation before 2030.

The Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development is ready to partner with Federal Ministry of Water Resources, NIWRMC and other relevant stakeholders to ensure the bill is understood by the senate and passed within this 8th Assembly. We implore the Senate to understand the importance of the bill in contributing towards the socio-economic development and ecosystem sustainability of our country. The Senate, taking a cue from the House of Representatives that has passed it into law with due consultations with stakeholders, should know that passing the bill into law is for the benefit of all Nigerians towards effective, efficient and sustainable water resources management and contributing to the realization of the SDGs. We are ready to further create more awareness on the bill and by sharing the bill to other stakeholders to know the content and understand its importance to water management so as to reduce the risks of environmental hazards as we are witnessing these days.

I wish us all happy celebrations of the 3rd anniversary of Agenda 2030. I wish us fruitful deliberations in pushing for the successful passage into law the national water resources bill, and in pressuring governments “Towards safe, adequate and sustainable water supply services and sanitation for Nigerian people”.

Thank you.

David Tola Winjobi (PhD)
National Coordinator, CSCSD

Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) formerly known as Campaign2015+ International established in 2010 is a coalition of over 1000 registered civil society and nongovernmental organizations and individuals committed to citizens’ empowerment, human rights protection, development and peace in Nigeria. It is the only registered national coalition of organizations purposely created to be working on the monitoring of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

CSCSD collaborates with other like-minded CSOs around the world to promote public debates and discussions on economic and social issues including human rights. A priority in the agenda of CSCSD, among other actions, is campaigning for pro-poor global and national policies that can accelerate broad-based economic growth, poverty reduction and public accountability, as well as the call for immediate action to reduce the debt burden of poor countries and institute fair trade policies and practices, and ODA development effectiveness among the OECD and other developed countries around the globe. CSCSD envisions a society whose centre-stage is justice, peace, fulfillment of human rights and development in all ramifications. CSCSD, in partnership with other civil society, the poor and the marginalized, the donors, the development partners, and international community, aims at pressuring governments and other stakeholders to account to SDGs and give the lives of people a meaning through upholding justice, human rights and development.

For more information about CSCSD, visit Wanting to join the largest SDG coalition in Nigeria? Please fill this form by clicking:

Strategy Paper on CSCSD

CSCSD Meeting with DAWN Commission

DAWN Commission, Friday September 21 2018, held a strategic meeting with the Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development.

The meeting focused majorly on how the two organisations could build a mutually rewarding relationship as well as foster partnership along the Commission’s activities on the Ease-of-Doing Business in the Western Region of Nigeria.

The discussion centered around DAWN’s intervention area with DFID-PERL/ARC on “Improving the Business Environment” for better service delivery, with the recently inaugurated Regional Ease-of-Doing Business committee, comprising of states and non-states actors, set up to specifically to address the bottlenecks business owners experience in the Region.


(1) Membership on the Southwest Regional Ease-of-Doing Business Committee (SWREC)

(2) Partnership in organising Southwest SDG Summit

(3) Partnership in other development areas, among other things

The meeting had in attendance the National, Regional and States coordinators/representatives of CSCSD including Dr Tola Winjobi. It was facilitated by Economic Competitiveness/Investment Pillar (EoDB team) of DAWN Commission.

CSCSD Appointed as African Regional Focal Organization

Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World

A paper delivered on the 15th of September, 2018 by Dayo Ogunbowale in observance of the United Nations International Day of Democracy under the theme, “Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World.” As organized by Centre for Leadership and Good Governance International in conjunction with NGM group, Held at the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.


Democracy has grown impressively from the 1970s to the 2000s. Yet, despite democracy’s long-term resilience, it appears to be fragile in many countries. From new populist movements that threaten the rights of minorities to the stark challenges of corruption and state capture, democratic institutions are vulnerable to setbacks, the erosion of rights and the manipulation of electoral processes. Concerns about democracy’s health have raised an important question: What makes democracy more resilient? This paper attempts to explore the global state of democracy by exploring the obvious strains and conditions for its resilience. How can citizens resist illiberal or autocratic regimes? When do checks and balances among institutions prevent state capture and backsliding? How can structural risks to democracy in underlying social and political relationships be reduced? Can democracy be designed to be more resilient? What roles do outsiders play in protecting democracy from peril when it is under threat?

This paper concludes with a set of recommendations for building more resilient democracies in spite of the current strain to face these challenges and to weather the crises that lie ahead.

International Day of Democracy

Established through a resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, International Day of Democracy provides an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the world and encourages governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy.

According to the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, “This year’s International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to look for ways to invigorate democracy and seek answers to the systemic challenges it faces. This includes tackling economic and political inequalities, making democracies more inclusive by bringing the young and marginalized into the political system, and making democracies more innovative and responsive to emerging challenges such as migration and climate change”.

The 2018 Theme: Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World

This year’s International Day of Democracy is an opportunity to look for ways to invigorate democracy and seek answers to the systemic challenges it faces. This includes tackling economic and political inequalities, making democracies more inclusive by bringing the young and marginalized into the political system, and making democracies more innovative and responsive to emerging challenges such as migration and climate change.

With this year’s 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Day of Democracy is also an opportunity to highlight the values of freedom and respect for human rights as essential elements of democracy. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government” (article 21.3), has inspired constitution-making around the world and contributed to the global acceptance of democratic values and principles. Democracy, in turn, provides the natural environment for the protection and effective realization of human rights.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development addresses democracy in Sustainable Development Goal 16 recognizing the indivisible links between peaceful societies and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.


Is democracy really in trouble, or do recent events simply signal a temporary downward fluctuation?

Are skeptics overreacting to sensational daily headlines, and losing sight of democracy’s numerous advances over the last few decades? Under what conditions is democracy resilient when challenged?

What Is Democracy Today?

International IDEA defines democracy as a political system that advances popular control and political equality. Democracy is a proven universal value for citizens all over the world and should be accepted as a globally owned concept for which there is no universally applicable model. Democracy comes in multiple forms, which are in constant evolution, with no endpoint.

With emerging democracies backsliding into authoritarianism and others falling prey to populism, there has never been a more urgent need to assess the evolving state of democracy and its impact now, amid rapid global change.

Why Democracy?

Concern has grown from scholars and policymakers over the possible global decline of democracy worldwide (Annan 2016). Amid global unease over the rise of populism and ‘strong-leader’ autocrats, or the endemic challenges of state capture and corruption in many countries, enthusiasm for democracy seems to have decreased: doubts have arisen about its ability to address the contemporary problems of providing peace and security and broad-based human development. Although democracy is currently under threat, it remains an ideal and a best-possible governance system. Democratic values among citizens, and within institutions and processes at the national and international levels, have proven to be remarkably resilient in many ways. Mass demonstrations against corruption took place in 2017 in Brazil, Romania, South Africa, the United States, and Venezuela; citizens have taken to the streets to reclaim democracy.

Democracy’s values are historically longstanding and enduring, even though the ideals have been subject to criticism from many philosophical and practical perspectives over time (Dahl 1989; Denyer 2016). Democracy reflects a core value enshrined in article 21 of the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights that the ‘will of the people’ is the basis for the legitimacy and authority of sovereign states; it reflects a common and universal desire for peace, security, and justice.


In Africa, democratization is evolving rapidly as a generation of leaders associated with independence is likely to be replaced soon by a new generation. For example, in Angola,

South Africa and Zimbabwe the strength of multiparty democracy will be tested for possible alternations in ruling regimes for the first time since independence. Uganda has tightly controlled elections, and opposition parties have been restricted or impeded. A conflict erupted in Burundi from 2015 through 2017 over a constitutional crisis, giving rise to an intractable political crisis; in 2016 and 2017 crises erupted in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon and Zimbabwe over executive manipulations to retain power beyond constitutional term limits. In Ethiopia, protests have erupted along ethnic lines, causing an ongoing state of emergency with continued concerns about the country’s vulnerability to a more widespread crisis (Jeffrey 2016). Power plays by presidents often lead to violent protests and cycles of repression, as in Burundi where an intractable ‘third-term’ claim by President Pierre Nkrunziza precipitated near state failure.

While there have been some improvements in personal security and integrity since the 1970s and 1980s, high levels of violations have persisted in the last 25 years despite the broader expansion of democracy in some countries. In such insecure environments, civil society, independent media, judges and prosecutors, and local government officials have all been targeted by criminal organizations and illicit networks.

Civil society is often under pressure because of its success in mobilizing, organizing and holding governments to account.

The 21st century offered promise as rapid technological innovations helped bring unparalleled development and continued gains in democracy, fundamental rights, and prosperity. Yet, today the world is fragmented, conflicted and under threat from global challenges such as climate change, migration and widening socioeconomic inequality—the effects of which undermine social cohesion, put peace at risk, and threaten to reverse hard-won 20th-century gains in all world regions. It is a tenuous moment for democracy. New challenges, if not adequately addressed, endanger democracy in today’s complex world. The contemporary global, regional and country-specific landscape of democracy has rapidly evolved in recent years, raising questions about democracy’s ability to thrive amid recent challenges and crises. What challenges threaten democracy today?

The Strains: Challenges affecting contemporary Democracies

Drivers of demographic, economic and social forces appear to be the root causes of authoritarian resurgence, contentious politics and democratic decline globally (Human Rights Council 2012). Some observers link these trends to the regression of democracy: they contend that globalization processes have induced social exclusion and contention, which present new and fundamental challenges for democracy (Munck 2002). In the post-globalization world of economic interdependence, these challenges interact with national and local contexts to produce localized social dislocation and grievances. Countries face tremendous pressure on governance in response to climate change and the effects of extreme weather events and natural disasters on land, water, biodiversity, and the oceans.

Research has linked environmental pressures to the vulnerability of communities and countries to conflict: governance institutions face the potential of environmentally driven conflicts at the local and national levels (often related to land and extractive industries); without ‘good’ governance, institutions may escalate into violence (UNEP 2004).

The Independent Commission on Multilateralism (2016) identified several challenges that governments and societies face, including environmental challenges stemming from climate change effects, social pressures from changing communities, economic issues such as youth unemployment, and management of natural resources and valuable commodities.

Migration is a serious transnational challenge to democracy that has led to social polarization, xenophobia and anti-immigrant movements in many countries (Piper and Rother 2015).

While migration generally produces net positive economic effects for recipient societies

(UNDP 2009), migration and debates over immigration policy and responses have created new strains for many democracies. Countries as varied as Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, and the USA face migration-related pressures and have seen violence against immigrants.

Among the most difficult and challenging global problems with local effects is ensuring security and combating terrorism; many governments justify restrictions of rights and freedoms with the need to prevent terrorism. Increasing terrorist attacks have had deleterious effects on democracy, most notably in relation to the restrictions on freedoms associated with responses to terrorist events (Chenoweth 2013; Large 2006).

Democracy’s resilience in a changing world

Democracy has grown impressively from the 1970s to the 2000s. Yet today, despite democracy’s long-term resilience, it appears to be fragile in many countries.

Democracy reflects the fundamental ethical principles of human equality and the dignity of persons and is thus inseparable from human rights (Beetham et al. 2008). Its core principles are manifested in different ways: the institutions, processes, and elements of democracy such as electoral systems or arrays of institutions have grown organically and uniquely in various countries (Beetham et al. 2008; Held 2006). A modern analysis must account for the wide variation in the norms, institutions, and processes that collectively comprise today’s democracies that goes far beyond traditional theories of liberalism or social democracy; democratic variation requires careful, close-in analysis of how local models reflect or detract from broad democratic values

(Youngs 2015).

Countries that successfully transitioned from authoritarian rule or civil war to democracy in the period 1974–2015 did so through domestic or national processes of negotiation and reform, at times with support from the international community (Stoner and McFaul 2013; Ould-Mohammedou and Sisk 2016).

For example, United Nations envoys and country-level resident coordinators played pivotal supportive roles at key moments in the transition processes in Myanmar and Tunisia.

In transitioning Nepal (2006–11) and in Colombia following the 2016 Havana peace agreement, the UN fielded political missions supported the transition and the demobilization of rebels. Yet there is considerable consensus that successful transitions to democracy are internal processes.

For decades, a prevailing assumption has been that in most instances, once democracy is ‘consolidated’, it will persist (Alexander 2002). Democracy is generally considered to have consolidated when two conditions are met. First, citizens and political leaders believe it is the only legitimate way to claim political authority. Second, there is greater institutionalization: the rules of democracy that allow for the pursuit of its principles are further defined, refined in practice and adapted to changing social contexts.

Progress towards democracy during a transition is not linear or inevitable (Carothers 2002), and countries considered to be consolidated democracies can experience backsliding (Lust and Waldner 2015).

Reaffirming democracy

It is now vital to reaffirm democracy as a value system for governance and as a form of government. Ruling regimes typically profess their commitment to democratic principles, and to universal human rights, as a system of laws, institutions and practices through which state authority is legitimized. According to International IDEA’s Voter Turnout Database (2016), 186 countries held legislative elections in the period 2011–15, with nearly 3.37 billion voters. More countries have the basic framework of democratic institutions and processes now than ever before. In the 21st century, state legitimacy originates from democratic processes that empower the state to provide security and deliver services (ostensibly, further enhancing its legitimacy) (OECD-DAC 2010).

Democracy’s long-term utility: peace and prosperity

There is increasing consensus that democracy— as an enduring set of values and principles and as a form of government—is a fundamental building block of human progress. Democracy is a form of non-violent conflict management that can reconcile divisions and contention within society; it is the basis of sustainable peace within countries. While authoritarian governments may be ‘resilient’, they do so at the cost of human rights. For years, scholars have argued that democracy generally contributes to international peace—the ‘democratic peace theory’ holds that democracies rarely, if ever, go to war with other democracies—and can enable an internal ‘democratic peace’: democracies are less likely to experience internal social conflict that can escalate to civil war (Gleditsch and Hegre 1997; Russet and Oneal 2001).

In addition to its intrinsic value, democracy has enduring instrumental utility for development and peace (Sen 1999a, 1999b). It facilitates the equality of citizens’ voices, and thus allows for the expression of interests and preferences and the free flow of information, both of which are essential elements of development.

The sustainability of the social contract within countries is assured through inclusion, while participation in governance is undergirded by the protection of fundamental rights.

Policy practice in international organizations has evolved since the founding of the UN and the modern Bretton Woods system to recognize those goals such as development and growth, prevention of conflict, and broadening participation, dignity, equity and sustainability must be pursued simultaneously. Democratic governance provides the normative framework through which policies to address these issues are ‘formed and executed’ (Asher et al.2016: 80).

UN Sustainable Development Goal 16

(SDG16) builds on the premise that ‘governance matters’: it states that peaceful and inclusive societies are central to achieving all other development goals. SDG16’s promotion of ‘peaceful and inclusive societies’ and ‘effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions’ reflects a commonly accepted understanding that democracy, peace and development outcomes are inherently intertwined, and that reducing violence, delivering justice and combatting corruption are all essential to achieving sustainable development (Jandl 2017).

Democracy’s relationship with economic development (which appears to contribute to sustainable peace) is more contested, in both the scholarly literature and in practice.

Although many studies have investigated this link, some have found no direct relationship between democracy and development, as nondemocratic countries can have high economic growth rates; research on a direct, linear, immediate relationship between democracy and development is inconclusive (Rocha Menocal 2007). Others argue that modern inclusive democratic politics and competition for citizen support can induce the creation of public goods that facilitate the development of a middle class. In this way, democratic politics responds to citizen interests through the provision of basic needs such as a reliable system of market regulation, financial regulation, education and healthcare, and infrastructure. (Acemoglu et al. 2014; Stasavage 2005; Halperin, Siegle and Weinstein 2005; Leftwich 2005). Indeed, many people today associate democracy as much with their own personal welfare as with the voice, or avenues for expression, that democratic institutions and practices provide. The most important relationship between democracy and development may be their ‘co-evolution’ in the long run (Gerring et al. 2012).

Popular commitment to inclusive democracy

Broad economic and social processes continue to drive the demand for democracy. Increased access to education, rising incomes, and improved communication and urbanization have facilitated the development of the middle class and contributed to the popular demand for democracy. In bargains between elites and the masses, democracy emerges as an ‘equilibrium’ or middle ground. The more people understand how democracy works, the more they tend to believe it is the best form of governance (Cho 2014). Public opinion surveys have found little appetite for authoritarianism among Asian youth: those growing up in democratic regimes in the region have a more favourable view of democracy and expect it to continue (Dalton and Shin 2014). Restive movements for democracy in Hong Kong have symbolized youth demands for democracy beyond the semi-autonomous province.

Pathways to democracy may be driven by citizen beliefs in and attitudes towards political rights and liberties drawn from other contexts or from the diffusion of international norms (Koesel and Bunce 2013). Some argue that the increasing demand for women’s participation in governance is driven in part by the global spread of norms about women’s political equality. Following the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, known as the Beijing Platform), women’s political empowerment increased globally due to both internal drivers (economic and social gains for women secured at the domestic level) and international pressures to increase women’s participation (Paxton, Hughes and Green 2006). While networked domestic and international women’s movements have played a key role in advancing demands for democracy, women’s coalitions that pressed for initial transitions to democracy have been difficult to sustain (Baldez 2003).

When elites do not rely on the masses for support, demands for democracy are less common. This can occur, for example, when state revenue is derived from primary commodity exports, such as oil, or when antidemocratic elites can buy support through patronage and clientelism, or enforce their rule coercively with the support of a well-compensated military (Geddes 2009; Haber and Menaldo 2011).

The presence of a strong civil society is critical to democracy’s resilience.

The corrosive effects of capture and corruption

Capture, corruption and the unchecked infusion of money into politics are all too often manifested as an undemocratic influence by the powerful few. Informal networks of patronage, favouritism and illicit dealing also obstruct the empowerment of women and the inclusion of disadvantaged groups and result in uneven levels of development. The response to such capture requires capable, autonomous and independent judicial institutions—whose investigators, prosecutors and courts are critical to both prosecuting and preventing corruption—as well as a comprehensive approach to countering graft. Institutional resilience is essential to ensure that a wide range of integrity-enhanced rules for a political competition is in place to ensure meaningful citizen control in democracies.

Many countries have faced complex political, economic, and social challenges and crises that have threatened the legitimacy of the ruling democratic regime. Several countries also experience public antipathy to government and traditional political institutions. Such political challenges can result in the deliberate, gradual ‘erosion’ of democracy, or backsliding, as has been seen in Russia, which adopted laws that strongly restrict the ability of human rights and other civil society organizations (including the media) to mobilize or to perform advocacy or accountability functions (Sherwood 2015).

Can democracy self-correct? Considering institutional resilience

A longstanding feature of democracy is horizontal accountability—a system of checks and balances among separate democratic institutions and branches of government, including the executive. Independent or autonomous institutions that interact to achieve balance and survival can address internal weaknesses or vulnerabilities, and thus help safeguard democracy (Ganghof 2012).

Greater institutionalization, and the prevalence of multiple checks and balances decreases the likelihood that a democracy can be fully captured by any branch of government or actor. Institutions such as judiciaries or local governments become more autonomous over time and are more likely to be able to resist threats to democracy—such as restrictions on fundamental rights—when they appear. Informal institutions or rules that are routinely followed can complement or supplement democratic processes and facilitate consolidation, though they can also detract from or work against formal democracy if they contradict (or serve as a substitute for) formal democratic processes (Helmke and Levitsky 2004).

The rule of law, access to justice, and a strong, independent, capable and efficient judicial system are critical elements of a resilient democracy. An important factor is democratic control of the armed forces and security sectors, and their professionalization under the civilian control of constitutionally elected authorities. The transition processes in many third-wave democracies involved a sequential (and at times turbulent) process of extensive security sector reform and transitional justice; the military in some countries—such as Egypt, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka—kept the autocratic regimes in power and became major economic stakeholders (Mani 2010).

Electoral processes can help adapt and strengthen democracy over time. Independent, autonomous and professional electoral management bodies are critical since their mandate is to protect the procedural credibility of democratic processes. The longer a country has experienced successful electoral cycles, the more the electoral process has been shown to ‘adapt’ to social conditions and thus becomes increasingly resilient.

Redressing women’s exclusions and inequalities

Deeply ingrained inequalities are synonymous with demands for access to livelihoods, reliable service delivery and corruption-free governance. Inequality and a lack of economic opportunities, especially for youth, were at the heart of demands for democracy in the demographically and economically unbalanced countries of the Middle East and Iran, and North Africa (Ncube and Anyanwu 2012). Following transitions, democracies must deliver in inclusive ways—assuring fundamental livelihoods and a marketplace based on fairness—to maintain credibility.

Addressing structural inequalities requires political will and the inclusion of poor, marginalized, or disadvantaged individuals or groups in democratic processes. Thus, broad measures to enhance social inclusion and protect the vulnerable are central to democracy’s resilience: the ideal of political equality is undermined unless all in society can access the resources necessary to meet basic human needs.

In 1979, the UN General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which established a set of rights for the advancement of women’s human rights towards gender equality, including representation in governance. In the early 2000s, Millennium Development Goal number 3 set targets for the expansion of women’s representation, which is commonly achieved through the adoption of women’s quotas (Jones 2009). There is no single, one-size-fits-all approach to designing democracy to enhance women’s participation.

While women have enjoyed modest gains in representation, there is only a weak link between representation and influence (Ballington and Karam 2005). The percentage of women in parliament has increased from 11 percent in 1995 to 23 percent in 2017 worldwide, but this has not necessarily translated into an improvement in the human rights of women, especially those from minority groups (UN 2015; IPU n.d.). Women’s movements have been critical components of democratization efforts, often working across lines of conflict, historical divisions and ethnic divides. Women have been successful at uniting across social, economic and political divides in civil society to make critical differences in democratic transition processes.

The Solutions: Building Better Democracies

The effectiveness of quotas in elections or within political parties for expanding women’s participation affirms that elements of democracy can be designed to achieve desirable outcomes. But can democratic institutions be designed to make democracy itself more resilient? Scholars of institutions have argued that it is possible to design a set of rules—or institutions—to engineer specific desirable outcomes in democracies such as inclusivity, more meaningful representation or accountability. The ‘constitutional engineering’ approach, pioneered by the eminent Italian political scientist Giovanni Sartori (1997), assumes that considerations such as presidential system design, electoral system design, or the delimitation of internal boundaries and decentralized governance (such as in federal systems) can promote specific desirable outcomes in democratic systems (stability, inclusion or ethnic politics).

Perhaps the most extensive application of this perspective is found in the electoral system design literature, which argues that a country’s electoral system must be chosen based on a close context assessment of goals such as accountability, inclusivity and gender equality (Norris 2004). Concerning other specific institutions, there is a widespread debate in the scholarly literature over what types of institutions produce more resilient democracies. Research on institutional design helps inform policy-related debates to help countries choose the ‘right’ institutions to create more inclusive electoral processes (Reilly 2006; Reilly and Nordlund 2008). Outside actors such as bilateral development organizations, transnational civil society and international organizations often provide guidance on suitable institutions for a country’s context.

Regional and International Responses

Although responses can be uneven, outsiders regularly act to support democracy within countries. Democracy building has emerged as a significant global ‘regime’ or set of negotiated international norms, rules and best practices, mechanisms for international monitoring and observation, and ‘reactions to non-compliance’ together with initiatives and efforts to build or develop local capacities through development assistance. Democracy building is closely related to the international global human rights regime since democracy promotion norms and the post-World War II human rights regime developed concurrently (Farer 2004). The UN’s role in democracy building has increasingly focused on the intersections between democracy and human rights, democracy and conflict prevention, and democracy and development.

Crisis Response, Long-Term Vision

Crisis response measures for safeguarding democracy vary widely, and successful interventions such as the crisis management in the Gambia are by no means uniform either within the region or globally. As UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Mohammed Ibn Abbas observed, former President Yahya Jammeh ‘didn’t have too many friends’ (Searcey 2017). Coercive regional and global reactions to democratic backsliding remain uneven, both in terms of regional spread and the types of responses.

Electoral mediation is a critical area of overall international (and often regional) engagement to safeguard democracy (Kane and Haysom 2016). Regional and sub-regional organizations in Africa, for example, increasingly partner with local civil society electoral mediators in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho and Kenya to promote sub-regional and continental norms that unconstitutional seizures of power are replaced with multiparty elections (Shale and Gerenge 2017). In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s constitutional crisis of 2016–17, as in Venezuela, the local bishops of the Catholic Church stepped in to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the constitutional crisis created by the delay of elections in 2017.

Building more resilient democracy requires immediate responses when democracy is in crisis, complemented by long-term efforts.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Building More Resilient Democracies

Democracy as a system of reconciling such differences cannot be taken for granted: policymakers and citizens must undertake measures to support and safeguard democracy to make it more resilient. Concerns about declines in the quality of democracy globally have caused some to retrench from the long-term tasks of democracy building. However, it is time to renew support for democracy with a clearer focus on (a) when it can be flexible and recover from likely future challenges, crises and changes and (b) how it can be strengthened.

The following recommendations address today’s most pressing concern for democracy: safeguarding it when it is under threat by building resilience from within.

  • Improving elections and representation

  • Protecting and advancing fundamental Rights

  • Curbing corruption and state capture: Accountability

  • Deepening and expanding participation

  • A democracy that delivers: an inclusive, capable state

Those who seek to build a more resilient democracy must be flexible, adaptive and innovative.

Thank you for listening.

CSCSD_SouthSouth Weekly_05092108

CSCSD Appointed as African Regional Focal Organization

Dear Colleagues,

This is to formally inform you that Transparency Accountability and Participatory (TAP) Network USA has appointed your coalition Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) as Regional Focal Point for the TAP Network in Africa. This is a co-regional focal position to be shared between CSCSD Nigeria and Saferworld Somalia represented respectively by Tola Winjobi and Abdijalil in West Africa and East Africa subregions. This was communicated through an email sent by Mr John Romano (the Coordinator) on Tuesday July 2 2018 from TAP Global Secretariat in New York. Continue Reading

Report of Endonamoo Transformation Global Initiative to CSCSD

In line with the action plan of the CSCSD as agreed by the house and the executive. The purpose of putting together this report is to highlight some of the activities of ETGIN (Member Organization) tailored towards achieving the objectives as started by CSCSD team.