In the decades preceding the turn of the new millennium, there were hopes and expectations that year 2000 would provide a magic wand that would provide solutions to many if not all of the intractable challenges facing humanity. It was a period where commonplace were slogans such as “health for all by the year 2000”, “education for all by the year 2000”, “food sufficiency for all by the year 2000”, “shelter for all by the year 2000”, “prosperity for all by the year 2000” and several other slogans. Poverty, hunger, starvation and diseases seemed to be the major challenges facing the developing nations while the developed economies seemed to be enjoying the benefits of development including human rights, democracy, and good governance.
The United Nations indeed felt concerned about the plight of common people especially in the global south. In order to address the problem of poverty and promote sustainable developments, the 8 millennium goals were adopted in September 2000 at the largest gathering of Heads of States committing both rich and poor countries to do all they can to eradicate poverty, promote human dignity and equality, and achieve peace, democracy and environmental stability. By this commitment the world has an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of billions of people by adopting practical approaches to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
The MDGs and related targets and indicators serve as benchmarks of progress towards the shared vision of where we want to go and commitment to work together to get there. There are 18 targets and 48 indicators set to achieve the 8 goals by 2015. Three distinct characteristics of MDGs are that: it is people-centred; it is adaptable to SMART test; and it involves the development partners, among others.
There have been several initiatives, alliances, formations, coalitions, organizations including NGOs, CBOs, FBOs, trade unions, professional associations, student organizations, community groups, bilateral and multilaterals, and intergovernmentals working worldwide alongside the UN and governments in order to attain the vision and mission of the United Nations on the Millennium Declaration.
THE CHALLENGES OF ATTAINMENT OF MDGs
Can we attain MDGs by 2015? Yes, No! If “Yes” what happens, do we rest on our oars ? and if “No” what about it, do we become despondent? The need to monitor and evaluate performance on MDGs implementation is not only important but also highly necessary so as to know whether the programme is on course or derailing, or to know how far we have gone, and where we need to strengthen our efforts. Monitoring and evaluation efforts have shown some astounding results giving way to despondency on attaining MDGs by 2015.
Thirteen years on from the original adoption of the MDGs at the 2000 Millennium Summit, and two years left to 2015 it seems all the efforts by stakeholders towards achieving MDGs are not drastic enough. According to the UN Secretary-General, though there is some remarkable progress made in some countries, collectively we are falling short in the achievement of MDGs globally. The consequence of these shortfalls, further aggravated by the combined effects of the global food, climate, energy and economic crises, is that improvements in the lives of the poorest are happening at an unacceptably slow pace while in some countries, hard fought gains are being eroded. At the current pace, several of the eight MDGs and associated targets are likely to be missed in many countries. The challenges are most severe in the least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs) and some small island developing states (SIDS).
Therefore, if MDGs cannot be achieved by 2015 (which is very certain), the need to look beyond the target year is imperative. CSOs therefore have a crucial role to play in further engaging the governments to address those MDG lines they could not achieve at the set date and do more on those they achieved. If governments achieved MDGs by 2015 (which is very uncertain), imperative is the need for the CSOs to further engage governments in monitoring and evaluation so as to consolidate on and not to derail from the gains hitherto achieved.
Though the MDGs are people-centred and development focused, lacking are the essential ingredients of human rights, peace and justice which are the bedrocks of development. The issues of democracy, good governance, and human rights, are not expressly stated in the Millennium Declaration though they can be linked in some way. However justice, peace, and security especially global terrorism are difficult to situate within the purview of the 8 goals.
CONSULTATIONS FOR A POST-2015 UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
The need for all to look beyond 2015 MDGs is emphasised in the 2010 Annual report of the Secretary-General (11 July 2011) titled, “Accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: options for sustained and inclusive growth and issues for advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015”. The Millennium Development Goal summit requested the Secretary-General to make recommendations in his annual reports, as appropriate, for further steps to advance the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015. Over the coming months, structured discussions, in different United Nations forums, will enable Member States and other relevant stakeholders especially the CSOs to make their own assessments on how the Millennium Development Goals should be reviewed and rethought. The post-2015 development framework is likely to have the best development impact if it emerges from an inclusive, open and transparent process with multi-stakeholder participation. Using established global, regional and national mechanisms and processes is one way to ensure that such deliberations benefit from the wide range of lessons learned and the experiences of different stakeholders. Several formal and informal meetings are scheduled in the run-up to 2015. In addition to taking stock of Millennium Development Goals progress, these could discuss elements of a post-2015 framework.
The UN has started the work programme to foster a broad based, open and inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders, including civil society actors, on the post-2015 agenda. A key part of this will be a global conversation on post-2015 to capture the voices of citizens. As indicated in the UN Secretary General’s report to the General Assembly in September 2011, the UN Millennium Campaign will act as one of the outreach mechanisms to civil society to gather inputs and feedback on the post-2015 agenda and facilitate dialogue with the UN system. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) have been mandated by the Secretary-General to lead the work on the post-2015 framework. A Task Team of senior technical experts from UNDP and DESA, chaired by Olav Kjorven (UNDP) and Jomo Kwame Sundaram (DESA), and supported by the full UN system, was set up in January 2012 to define a system-wide vision for the post-2015 agenda.
The UN Secretary-General has also set up a think than group called High Level Panel to whom the reports on various consultations would be submitted. The HLP would advise the UN Sec-Gen on the reports. Among the HLP are two Nigerians: Ms Amina Ibrahim (Mohammed), and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The Task Team is mandated to produce a study which will serve as a roadmap for the work of a High-Level Panel that the UN Secretary General has appointed third quarter of 2012. The study will critically appraise the current MDG framework, map on-going activities inside and outside of the UN on defining a post-2015 agenda, and assess challenges that have become more prominent in the last decade.
As part of this work, UNDP, working with other UN Development Group (UNDG) agencies, is supporting consultations at the national level in up to 50 countries and producing and distributing guidance notes to the UN Country Teams to facilitate these exercises. The consultations are set up in a way that facilitates the inclusion of voices of poor people and those that are vulnerable; although the modes of doing this will depend on the country context. The detailed list of countries and type of support that will be offered are already being shared UNDP is also facilitating 8 regional/global consultations to discuss thematic and cross-cutting issues in post- 2015 global agenda, such as inequality, sustainability, population and governance. As a general principle, civil society organisations are invited to participate in all levels of the consultations.
The CS has a key role to play in the various deliberations towards post-2015 development agenda. Campaign2015+, Beyond 2015, GCAP etc have been involved in all the processes. Beyond 2015 has appointed Campaign2015+International to lead the CS deliberations in Nigeria.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CAMPAIGN2015+ INTERNATIONAL AND BEYOND 2015
By default, Campaign2015+ International is a staunch member of Beyond 2015 and an international member of GCAP and CIVICUS. CIVICUS has funded our project before on poverty hearing in Nigeria. Our members have served in various committees and discussion groups set up by Beyond 2015 since 2011. Few of these would suffice:
- We were since April 2011 on Beyond-2015’s discussion group on Essential Must-Haves for a global development framework
- Since 23 August 2011 we have been part of Beyond 2015 governance working group
- In September 2011, We made substantive contributions to the commissioned paper from a consultant, Kel Currah, to work closely from Beyond 2015’s must-haves to flesh out how the principles of an inclusive, participative and legitimate process would translate in practice;
- We are also a contributory member of Beyond 2015’s Position paper on UN Thematic Group on Conflict, Fragility and Disaster.
- In May 2012 we were an active member of 3rd Teleconference Berlin Working Group on MDG Advocacy & Post-2015
- In February 2012 we contested though lost the membership of the Executive Committee of Beyond 2015.
Though with membership in some African countries, Campaign 2015+ is located in Nigeria which is one of the countries that UNDG-led consultations would take place. This would afford us the opportunity to input into the UN discussions. Apart from its large membership across Nigeria, it is the only coalition that has grassroots reaches which would make it easy for us to have all-inclusive discussions on post-2015 global development agenda. Also, Campaign2015+ knows the issue bordering on post-2015 more so that its members are members of Beyond 2015 while its convener led GCAP campaign in Nigeria for three years. It is interesting to note that it is the only coalition not only in Nigeria but also in Africa primarily established to collaborate with governments to attain MDGs and to campaign beyond 2015 on development issue. Importantly, Campaign2015+ is the only coalition so far in Nigeria that has started discussions already on post-2015 agenda as it has solely organised several meetings already (we have report to back this up) while it collaborated once with a Faith-based group to organize another one.
THE EFFORTS SO FAR
Campaign2015+ in the third quarter of 2012 formed a national think tank to strategize for holding national consultations. The first meeting hosted by JDPC took place in Ijebu-Ode in early September 2012. Campaign2015+ also single handedly sponsored and organized consultations in two states – Osun and Ondo States – and the deliberations continue. We expect each zone or state or local group to organize theirs also bordering on post-2015 MDG framework. Meanwhile, there have been several meetings now organized by various states especially in the southwest while individual groups like NYSC-MDG Group held theirs in Jalingo, Taraba State on post-2015 development agenda.
Towards the end of November 2012 having been appointed the Lead Agency to organize and coordinate deliberations on post-2015, Campaign2015+ International was supported by Beyond 2015 based in Brussels. Hence we are supporting small hubs of deliberations across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
We were/are to be supported with $10,000 for organizing zonal meetings and $5000 for national and regional meetings including secretariat support. On the modality for organizing the deliberation, we threw the debate open, and people agreed that we should have zonal deliberations so that the outcome would be all-inclusive. So, we are supporting each zonal deliberation with a sum ranging from N150,000-N200,000. The deliberations started in the second week of December till January 2013.
However, Campaign2015+ members agreed on the need to organize one national deliberation but we need to source for fund for this as the current grant cannot cover both the zonal and national. We have set up a small hub of three people to map out how we can contact the UN Country team for identifying with us and support to organize the national deliberation where we are going to bring to Abuja representatives of Campaign2015 from each zone/state. If you have any suggestion as to getting financial support for that one national deliberation, let us know. The Abuja deliberation would afford us the opportunity of formalising/ratifying the appointment of Ad-Hoc Committee as full-fledged Steering Committee or Governing Council.
I am happy to inform us too that Alliance for the Southern Civil Society on Health is partnering with Campaign2015+ in organizing an international interface and discussion of results on post-2015 health related issues in Abuja. Campaign2015+ has also been appointed as a Lead Author and a team member among ten who will be directing the work of the drafting team in synthesizing the inputs which Beyond2015 and other key partners have gathered thus far on the vision, purpose, principles and criteria of a post-2015 framework.
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