As the global debate on what should be the focus of MDGs in the post 201development agenda continue, Global Call for Action Against Poverty (GCAP) with support from the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC), organized a one day civil society meeting on the post 2015 development agenda. The meeting which pulled together over 75 participants drawn from civil society groups-CBOs, faith groups, national and international NGOs across the country, was intended to pose a wider debate on the MDGs targets that were set over a decade ago and the emerging post 2015 development priorities for Nigeria. The targets was a global wakeup call as the world was characterized by massive growth in production and wealth, yet millions of people are living in poverty. Thus, the need to refocus global value to benefit all and put an end to the rising levels of poverty in the world. GCAP believes that Nigeria is central to this whole debate as the country has the highest number of poor people in Africa and currently face the challenge of insecurity that is a seriously threatening the country ambition of attaining the MDGs in 2015.
Nigeria’s MDGs interventions commenced in 2005 following the negotiated debt relief from the Paris Club. However, despite the country’s late start, significant progress has been made towards achieving the MDGs. Findings from the breaking point research conducted by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and presented at the National CSOs meeting revealed that Nigeria is not likely to meet the MDGs target by 2015. It is however recommended that for the country to meet the set target, there must be significant investment in all sectors of the economy.
Unfortunately, the current challenge of insecurity is consuming one third of the resources that would have been invested in social security. Security in Nigeria at the moment has diverted the focus of the state in the pursuit of MDGs and this will negatively affect the country’s chances of meeting the MDGs by 2015. Another challenge confronting the achievement of MDGs in Nigeria is the high level of corruption which makes it possible for money meant for MDGs project to be diverted from its intended purpose.
The struggle to end poverty in Nigeria by 2015 must therefore begin by prioritizing all workable approaches and initiatives to empower people and lift them out of poverty.
The objectives of the National CSOs consultation process are:
- To review the progress made and lessons learnt by Nigeria in the implementation of the MDGs
- To stimulate wide ranging discussion on the state of well-being of citizens in Nigerian communities
- To generate CSOs perspectives on development priorities which can form part of a successor framework to the MDGs.
- To discuss and agree on solutions from the CSOs point of view to development challenges in communities and the actors and institutions for addressing them.
3. Key Output
A report of the outcome of the consultations which will feed into Nigeria’s overall synthesis that includes all thematic areas covered during the country’s national consultations. This report represents CSOs’ voices that should be reflected in Nigeria’s post-2015 development agenda, to be submitted to the UN High Level Panel and the UN Secretary-General on the post-2015 development agenda.
4. Post 2015 National CSOs Consultation Processes
An effective National CSOs consultation requires the setting-up of a number of mechanisms and processes. Such a process must be as open and transparent as possible to ensure inputs from a range of different stakeholders. However, in this process, GCAP did not aim at coordinating all initiatives, instead it utilized its states and zonal partners/focal persons in trying to capture as much as possible, in terms of the various discussions and analyses occurring at the local level in all the states of the federation.
4.1. State Level Consultations
A total of 37 CSOs and their focal persons were identified in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. A questionnaire each made up of a set of question for MY World survey and for the National Csos consultations was administered by state focal persons, to elicit responses from stakeholders. In most cases, focus group discussions were also organized by state focal persons for that purpose. In all, a total of 3700 questionnaires were administered. Of this number, 2000 copies of My World questionnaires were administered and currently being transferred into the online My World platform, while 1700 copies of the general post 2015 questionnaire was administered throughout the federation. Analysis of the data shows that of the 3700 persons sampled between the ages of 15 and 65. Of the number, 1650 are male, while 2, 050 are female. Similarly, 2170 respondents were unemployed while 1, 530 were engaged in one form of employment or the other.
The key development issues identified by respondents at the state and local level in their order of priority include the following:
- A good and functional education
- Agriculture and food security
- Better job opportunities
- Better healthcare
- An honest and corruption free government
Improved access to clean water and sanitation
Good transportation network
4.2. National Consultation
The national CSO consultative meeting on the post 2015 development framework took place on March 14, 2013. Invited civil society organizations, CBOs, student union groups and faith based organizations from all over the country gathered at Hotel De Bently, Abuja. Dr. Jibrin Ibrahim, the Chair of Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) welcomed the vibrant throng to the event, while observing that the Global Call for Action Against Poverty (GCAP) was a wakeup call to the whole world, and that despite the massive production and wealth that characterized the world, millions of people were ridden in poverty, poor health and inadequate education. The call is an eye opener to the fact that the world needs a change of values to a different set of values that brings forth good leaders who would enunciate policies and programs potent to engendering a society where poverty will be eradicated.
GCAP believes that Nigeria is an important part of the post 2015 debate as the country has the highest number of people living in extreme poverty. The story for Nigeria is therefore the story of African and Africa’s success is tied to that of Nigeria. In Nigeria, the discourse on the post 2015 development agenda would not be complete without civil society inputs, as the civil society is the driver of change. Nigeria assented to the Millennium Declaration in New York, in September 2000, but concrete steps towards attaining the MDGs commenced in 2005, following the negotiated Debt Relief from the Paris Club. The implementation was made conditional thus leading to the establishment of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs), to coordinate our effort and track social investment for the achievement of MDGs.
He concluded by explaining that the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) will present a report of the breaking point research conducted on the status of MDGs in Nigeria. The report seeks to explain where Nigeria was in the achievement of MDGs. The findings reveal that to achieve these set targets, the country needs to increase significantly her social investment in the MDGs sectors. Are we currently doing that? The answer is NO due to the fact that one-third of the country’s budget is currently going into tackling the seemingly intractable security challenges confronting the country. Nevertheless, it is important that we reflect on the connection between growing insecurity and poverty in the country. GCAP also think that the Nigeria government must begin to see the struggle against poverty as central for the survival of its citizens, not just as a daily survival means but a way to give its people a feeling of belonging to the entity called Nigeria and one that citizens are beneficiaries of the state. He further remarked that prioritizing all workable approaches to ending poverty must be the focus of Nigeria if the battle of ending poverty in the country must be won. Stressing that achieving the MDGs requires collective efforts and described the meeting as key in discuss the Nigeria we want in 2015.
Rev. Fr. John Patrick Ngoyi: Discussing the post 2015 processes on behalf of the UN Millennium Campaign National Coordinator, Mr. Hilary Ogbonna, Rev .Fr. John Patrick Ngoyi noted that not everything was bad with the MDGs, and that there are so many success stories with the current development framework. He was however quick to observe that one of the major gap in the Millennium Development Goals is that it was not participatory; a reason why the successor framework in the post 2015 development agenda has to be consultative in nature in order to correct the past mistake. As the debate for post 2015 continues, there is need for a framework that focuses on global challenges; environment and climate change, food security, quality education, etc as fundamental issues that need to be tackled holistically. As part of this process, three high level meetings will be taking place including the one that will take place in Bali in March, in New York in May and all the meetings will contribute to the gathering of world leaders in New York, the United Nations Headquarters in September 2013.
Rev. Fr. John Patrick explained that findings from the “My World” an online platform and discussions on post MDGs show that Africa is not engaging enough on the debate, implying that Africans are not really ready to contribute to the debate on what shapes its future. He urged participants to ensure they make their inputs to the process by voting in the My World online platform. This will ensure that we do not wait for other people to design a new development agenda for us like the MDGs.
Mr. Akinfemide: Delivering a key note address on behalf of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Dr. Precious Kalamba Gbeneol, Mr. Akinfemide, the Director Sectors, office of the SSAP-MDGs observed that there is evidence to show that Nigeria has made remarkable progress in the attainment of the MDGs. Though some achievements have been recorded in accelerating MDGs in Nigeria, there is growing fear that the country is not likely to meet the 2015 MDGs target. This calls for more commitment in the area of budgeting, checking corruption, capacity building, mobilization and awareness creation etc if it must achieve MDGs.
First and foremost, it must be recognized that the context of 2000 when the Millennium declaration was made will be clearly different from the context of post 2015 when any successor intervention to the MDGs will take effect. In 2000, there was relative stability, prosperity and coherence when western economies were on the rise and the conditions were good for forging agreements on global targets for development. Reviewing the state of MDGs in Nigeria and the emerging priorities for a post 2015 development agenda, Dr. Otive Igbuzor gave the following score card:
The reality of the world today is that many countries are very poor and cannot meet their development needs.
- The challenge of inequality is real.
- Nigeria, which was one of the richest 50 countries in the early 1970s, has retrogressed to one of the 25 poorest countries at the threshold of the twenty first century.
- The 2012 Global report indicates that there is a major progress but the most vulnerable are left behind and there are huge inequalities. The target of reducing poverty and access to water has been met 3 years to deadline.
- 200 million slum dwellers ameliorated but number of slum dwellers increased from
- 650 million in 1990 to 863 million in 2012.
- There is progress in Africa but all the goals will not be met.
The Nigerian experience in MDGs implementation was summarized as:
- The status of MDGs in Nigeria today indicates that Nigeria is unlikely to meet most of the targets.
- E.g. The incidence of poverty has increased from 54.4 percent in 2004 to 65.1 percent in 2010.
- About 10 million children of school going age are out of school.
- In the 2011 election, the representation of women at the National Assembly actually decreased and the national average is about 6 percent which is one of the lowest in Africa.
- There has been a significant reduction in infant mortality and maternal mortality but the gap between current situation and the target are still very large. Access to safe water and sanitation and other environmental challenges are still huge.
- Nigeria is still an aids orphan compared to other African countries. However, there appears to be a good potential to achieve goal 6 on combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases given the consistent reduction in HIV prevalence rate over the past few years.
However, Nigeria has learned useful lessons from the implementation of the MDGs which need to be scaled up in the post 2015 development agenda. These include but not limited to;
- Budgetary allocation to MDG specific projects since 2006 made Nigerians to focus on the achievement of the MDGs.
- The institution of Monitoring and Evaluation of MDG projects is a positive development which has been adopted by the country and incorporated into the vision 20:2020 economic development blueprint. The involvement of civil society in the monitoring of the projects is a particularly good innovation.
- The OSSAP-MDG is guided by a clear strategy to achieve its mandate. This worked very well and state governments, local governments, ministries, departments and agencies need to learn from it.
In considering what should form the agenda for the post 2015, it is important to note that;
- Many countries especially in Africa are off track in terms of achieving the goals within the 2015 deadline
- The Context of 2000 is different from 2015
- The geography of poverty has changed (40 percent of the world poor live in fragile and conflict affected societies, 10 % in poor stable countries and 50 percent in middle income countries). The post 2015 development agenda must therefore address the issues such as food security, youth challenges, climate change/green economy, violence, corruption, accountable governance and leadership
Additionally, the post 2015 agenda should have improved content in accordance with international human rights laws; address root causes of poverty; inequality; climate change; management of natural resources; the need for enforceable accountability mechanism at national, regional and global levels (national oversight, independent reviews, mechanism for citizens to hold government to account, mutual accountability between governments and donors, among others. The agenda will also be meaningful if it addresses primary, secondary and tertiary education; the issue of people’s active engagement in shaping development, equity and sustainability; inequality, sustainable growth, job creation, trade and protecting the environment, as well as the challenges of the youth without being market driven.
For Nigeria, the emerging priorities include:
From Visioning to Implementation: The need to prioritize inclusive growth, infrastructure development and job creation.
- Combating Corruption: The need for citizens to continue to put pressure on government.
- Addressing poverty and inequalities: The need to reverse the situation where there is economic growth and poverty is increasing.
- Taking the population dynamics serious: The need to address the huge youth bulge and the challenges of the settler/indigene divide.
- Addressing the insecurity/poverty nexus: The need to create a peaceful environment to tackle poverty.
Climate Change and its attendant effects on livelihood: The need to put in place comprehensive adaptation programme for floods, erosion and other environmental challenges.
He concluded by maintaining that having learnt sufficient lessons from the MDGs implementation, Nigeria is capable of developing a robust post 2015 development agenda that would transform the country if only we can be guided by the lessons learned.
5. Thematic Groups and Plenary
The second and final session began with thematic discussions that happened concurrently, lasting for 1hr 30 minutes. This was followed by a synthesis presentation of proposals on milestone and targets from thematic working groups on the post 2015 development framework. The following milestones and targets were presented by each group at the plenary:
What has worked in the MDG 2 include;
- Budgetary Allocation for education sector
- Enrollment of pupils into primary and junior secondary schools in various states
- Construction of block of primary and secondary schools across states
- Training and sensitization of teachers
- Distribution of instructional materials to primary and junior secondary schools
Current priority issues for post 2015 in the education sector are as follows;
- A focus on reducing the learning gap between the poor and rich by targeting action on funding (to reach the poorest), (ii) children with disabilities, (iii)girls, (iv) ethnic minorities and (v) children in conflict or emergency areas.
- The need to focus on policies that improve the learning environment and provide better opportunities for learning in communities.
- Promoting strategies for poverty reduction, improving equity, access and learning outcome.
- Improving the quality of teachers through training for better learning outcome.
- Enhancing community participation in improving demand, access and learning outcomes.
- Review existing curriculum to ensure students are trained in various skills for safe employment after graduation
- Increase collaboration and partnership among donor agencies both local and international
- Improved infrastructure, better teacher motivation and incentives
Governance and Accountability
What has worked well in the implementation of the MDG’s in this sector include:
- Integration of the MDG’s into the political and governance structure. Examples include the office of the MDG’s at Federal, State and Local government levels as well as the NYSC Scheme.
- Establishment of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme
- Inclusiveness of the three tiers of government in principle encouraging accountability
- Increased budgetary allocation for the MDG’s
- National policies put in place that promotes the realization of the MDG goals. Example NAPEP.
Emerging developmental priorities for post 2015 in the sector are as follows:
- Increased Youth Involvement in governance
- Insecurity and conflict management
- Uneven distribution of resources
- Support for local technologies
- Inadequate social welfare policies
- Tackling corruption and inequalities
- Building/strengthening of existing institutions
Hunger, Food and Nutrition
What has worked well in MDGs implementation
- MDGs have improved accountability in the sector as it has provided a pathway with clear objectives and indicators to track and monitor progress in poverty eradication.
a) It has not been able to sufficiently address the increased inequality, the lack of coordination at the international and national level and the failure of governance of food system
b) Ensuring proper coordination, considering the use of human right based approach to agriculture development and food security including the right to food, right to land, access to other natural resources, right to good governance and the right to have a constructive budget process.
Priorities for post 2015 include:
- Addressing climate change, insecurity and poverty
- Tackling corruption and lack of accountability
- Adequate investment in agricultural infrastructure,
- Increased budgetary allocation to agriculture, quality education for all and quality health care.
- Empowerment and employment of slum dweller, small scale farmers especially women
- Improved support to small scale agriculture & farmers
Population is a complex issue in which, for Nigeria, the population can be a challenge as well as an opportunity. It is a challenge if we do not get to manage it well, and it is an opportunity if we provide jobs, education and healthcare for them. It is clear that population dynamics are often not taken in to consideration in development planning in Nigeria and that may be part of the reason why development planning and budgetary implementation do not work.
- The population of youths is growing at an alarming rate which has tended to create a youth bulge, weaving around the issues of unemployment and poverty
- There is an increasing indication of the Impact of population growth on the environment (Lagos is soon becoming a mega city and how will this turn out in terms of the management of sanitation and public health issues)
- There is a disparity in terms of population dynamics as they affect different parts of the country, Nigeria. For example, fertility rate (5 children per woman) Borno-7 children, Lagos, 3 children (Population growth rate in Maiduguri may double that of Lagos. So in one part of the country, the population is growing very fast, while in another the population is not growing so fast).
Nigeria’s population policy does not address current dynamics and need to be reviewed
- Poor management of population data in the country. Consequently, there is extreme politicization without attempts to address the underlying issues dispassionately and appropriately
- Inconsistent population census data to be considered in planning forthcoming national census in 2016
- Insecurity and the implications of population displacement
Priorities for post 2015 in the sector are as follows:
- Population control must be taken serious as part of Nigeria strategy for development
- A need to review the current population policy of Nigeria to accommodate current realities
- There is a need to critically consider how population dynamics affect resource exploitation and the environment
- There is a need to create awareness concerning the problems of population dynamics
- The realities of population dynamics should be considered in the process of development planning
We need to ensure that the post 2015 will take into consideration the population issues
Insecurity and the Poverty Nexus
Underlying causes of insecurity and poverty in Nigeria
- Horizontal inequality-(the feelings of apathy make people act adversely and violently)
- Corruption and inequality
- Lack of development as it impacts on the economy and its impact on access to basic infrastructure
- Opaque electoral processes
- Massive unemployment rate
Recommendations for improvement include:
- Tackle corruption head on and fighting poverty genuinely in the system through thorough monitoring and evaluation
- Combat impunity in Nigeria
- Appropriate sanctions and reward system to enforce compliance
- Investment in social welfare services to ensure social security for vulnerable and disadvantaged constituencies/ populations
- Creation of strong institutions and empower them to perform
- Implement and enforce frameworks based on international best practices to address and reduce insecurity
- Continuous sensitization and raising the political consciousness of citizens
- Community policing and ownership of security process
- Democratize local governance and local government autonomy
- Address the energy deficit as it relates to adequate capacity for generation, transmission and distribution.
- There is also the need for the diversification of source of energy (massive and well planned investment in the system will reduce cost of doing business in Nigeria which would in turn attract more investors and create jobs, boost the economy).
- The bottom to top approach in plan and implementation processes.
- Feedback initiative to enhance meaningful interaction between service providers/policy makers and implementers and the end users, the people (effective citizens feedback and monitoring process).
Environmental Sustainability: Climate Change Adaptation/Mitigation.
It was observed that the present MDGs on environmental sustainability emphasized more on water and sanitation and less on climate change issues. Environmental issues did not attracted much attention despite the fact that MDG 7 is connected to all the other goals. According to the UNEP report of August 4th, 2011 on Niger Delta issue, the Government of Nigeria is not taking environment serious.
What has worked well in the implementation of the MDGs Program in Nigeria:
- Progress in the provision of Water,
- Upgrading of climate change unit of the Department of Climate Change at the federal Ministry of Environment,
- Amendment of NESREA Bill, and approval of Climate change policy
- Adoption of the REDD+ Policy
What are the emerging developmental challenges for post 2015 agenda:
- Conflict and Insecurity
- Climate Change- flooding, erosion, desertification
- Urbanization and population explosion
- Policies (Climate Change Bill)
- More collaborations between CSOs and the Government Institutions
- Climate Change awareness creation and capacity building
Employment and Job Creation
Causes of unemployment in Nigeria with an unemployment rate of 23% are as follows:
- Examination malpractices
- Diversion of public fund to private use
- Investment of stolen funds in foreign countries which also prevent Direct Foreign Investment (DFI)
2. Poor implementation of the budget:
- Maputo declaration, that 10% of the Budget for Agriculture
- World Health Organization, that 15% of the Budget for Health
- UNESCO said that 25% of the Budget for Education
3. Unfair Trade Practices:
- •Proliferation of foreign goods in Nigeria market
- •Unfair competition
4. The absence of democratic Governance at the local level:
- Many state have not conduct Local Government Elections after 2 years
5. Youth imbibe the wrong value system:
- Mass drop out of school
- Moral decadence
- Indiscipline among youth
The way forward:
- Good and responsive government
- Youth and Women empowerment,
- Better Access to infrastructural facilities
- By giving appropriate sanctions to corrupt practices
- Improved political will to act
- Citizen participation in governance for accountability and transparency
- Population control
- Promoting equal opportunity for all regardless of age, sex or gender.
- Ensuring a society free from gender based violence
- Creating an enabling environment and promoting the political participation of young people and all vulnerable groups including the physically challenged in the society
- Improved access to quality free formal, vocational and other forms of education at all levels
- Ensure that gender is mainstreamed into all policies at national state and regional levels based on specific needs of the people.
- Publishing gender and culture sensitive data and evidence from research and using the available data for policy formulation.
The entire process of consultations especially the one organized by GCAP ended well, but civil society participation and engagements in the post 2015 debate, the struggle to end poverty by 2015 and the monitoring and evaluation of current MDGs will certainly continue. GCAP also has the opportunity of partnering with the government and the UN system in Nigeria on the MDGs acceleration framework (MAF). This is just the beginning.