Post-2015 MDGs: African Leaders Must Show Commitment To Achieve Targets – Ogbonna | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Post-2015 MDGs: African Leaders Must Show Commitment To Achieve Targets – Ogbonna

Posted: Jun 21, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

National Coordinator of the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC), Hilary Ogbonna, in this interview with Business Editor, Sylvester Enoghase, insists that to achieve the 2015 MDGs target, significant efforts will be needed to reduce large numbers of the working poor, to increase employment rates for women, youth and people with disabilities, to promote formalisation and close the gender gap Excerpts:



The year 2015 is significant in that it was meant to be the terminal date for the implementation of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed by the UN, and its member states in 2000. Could you please, suggest some development priorities which Africa leaders must not toy with?

In preparation for post MDGs, Africa leaders must emphasise inclusive economic growth and structural transformation by reorienting the development paradigm away from externally driven initiatives towards domestically inspired and funded initiatives grounded in national ownership.
The second priority for Africa leaders is for them to emphasise equity and social inclusion as well as the need to give more attention to vulnerable social groups, notably women, children, the youth, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Another priority is to note the condition of the various African countries at the start of the MDG process and to recognise the progress they have made in reaching these goals, instead of just highlighting how much they are falling short of realising the MDGs.
There are the urgent needs for Africa leaders to integrate various national, regional and global initiatives. These include national and regional consultations co-ordinated by the UNDP, the outputs of Africa-wide programmes and the outcomes of the 2012 Rio + 20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

Are you saying that the MDGs priority issues put in place by the government of Nigeria are adequate in addressing poverty and human development challenges for post 2015 target?

Well, the MDGs, good as they are, were framed as minimalist development targets, but were not far-reaching because when you take poverty for instance, record shows that for now the push has met halving Nigerians living in hunger and below a dollar and later 1.5 dollars.

While education is being restricted to universal basic education, health did not recognise non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and also did not adequately address environment and sustainability issues

There is also lack of an accountability framework especially in the new development challenges like food security, climate change and new health challenges

With these challenges, could you please suggest possible way forward policies that would be of benefits to Nigeria government in the post 2015 MDGs plans?

The post-2015 framework is an opportunity to incorporate issues that were part of the Millennium Declaration but were not reflected in the MDGs like human rights, environmental sustainability, peace and security

The post-2015 development agenda is so designed that it must be universally applicable, but flexible to meet specific needs of countries and peoples as participation and inclusiveness and continuing with the ‘unfinished business’ of the MDGs and Re-define global partnerships to make it truly global with a clear accountability framework for both developed and developing are enveloped countries to meet the core values contained in the Millennium Declaration still remain valid in today’s world.

Could you please throw light on some of the themes in post 2015 MDGs?

The proposed main themes for Post 2015 Development Agenda are; human rights, inequalities, sustainability while the specific themes are; population dynamics, peace and security, stable and inclusive economic growth, Productive employment and decent work, food security, Governance including principles of inclusion and participation, promoting transparency and accountability, building resilience of vulnerable population groups

How do you situate these themes to Nigeria meeting the post 2015 developmental agenda?

The discussions and deliberations in the last two days centre on the emerging issues from Nigeria government in identifying citizens’ priorities for the Post 2015 Development Agenda. This   has to do with governance and accountability, fighting corruption, accountability and implementation framework, effective institutions, addressing inequalities, addressing special needs of vulnerable people

The discussion calls for an urgent need for government at state, local and national levels to use the priorities to strengthen democracy and continue to improve the nation’s infrastructure in Nigeria’s post 2015 developmental agenda

This is because it is clearer here that the impediments to be seriously addressed have to do with corruption, weak institutions and absence of rule of law, Insecurity impacts on the development, data management, availability and quality

Can we know more about the policy trust of the UN Millennium campaign here in Nigeria?

The UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC) was established by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in late 2002 as the flagship initiative of the UN globally for MDG advocacy.

The purpose and mandate of the campaign is to work with a wide range of partners to foster a self-sustaining movement, extending beyond the UN system for the realisation of the MDGs.

UNMC benefits from the highest level of political and moral support, including the United Nations Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General and the UNDP Administrator as chair of the UN Development Group.

As an inter-agency initiative, it is able to work across and in synergy with multiple agencies in the UN system.

Are you saying that UNMC has the mandate of United Nations on these advocacy projects?

Yes. The UN Millennium Campaign (UNMC) has an interagency mandate within the UN system to leverage the advocacy potential of the United Nations system. It has global presence with vast stakeholders across sectors using its impressive array of established partnerships with civil society, the private sector, new and traditional media and government at all levels.

The Millennium Campaign also has vast networks of trusted partnerships reaching deep into communities as well as capacity to mobilize additional campaigning resources.

As a neutral and credible moral voice for poor people across the world, the UNMC has a multi-level advocacy and campaigning skills to create visibility for MDG progress which will in turn help to create a base of support for international development issues.

The uniqueness of the Millennium Campaign made it a bridge to facilitate citizens’ interactions with the state as well as strengthen country accountability systems and promote the catalytic use of foreign and national resources to enable the highest return on development and achievement of the MDGs

In a nutshell, investing in the UNMC means investing in the development of nationally owned and sustainable accountability capacities, which are a prerequisite to make development results last and, thus, deliver value.

Could you be specific on the empowering tools for citizens of Nigeria by the Millennium Campaign?

The UNMC has a broad thrust of strengthening citizen feedback on service delivery using the rapidly growing ICT capacity, among others, as empowering tools as well as framing the discourse for the realisation of the MDGs through strategic communications and evidence based advocacy

Part of the outcomes of the Millennium Campaign is the strengthening of old and setting up new alliances that mobilise communities to engage with governments to ensure the effective use of public resources to achieve the MDGs.

Also, the re defining and reorganised citizen groups campaigning for effective service delivery and MDGs policy implementation as well as facilitating citizen led demand for the achievement of the MDGs from the grassroots through strategic partnerships and initiatives established for the accelerated achievement of the MDGs.

When did the UNMC endorse its MDGs campaign in Nigeria?

The campaign has been active in Nigeria since 2004, and has over this period invested in and developed trusted relationships across the country involving a variety of CSOs, including Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), faith-based organisations, academia and the social research community, parliamentarians and parliamentary committees, and the entertainment industry, among others.

These groups have mobilised millions of people from the Global White band days to the signature “Stand-Up and Take Action” (SUTA) for the MDGs campaigns, bringing visibility to the MDGs and building a broad based constituency that can be harnessed in other ways behind a strategy to accelerate achievement of the MDGs.

The UNMC and its Nigerian partners are currently mobilising resources towards the implementation of its Nigerian Strategy between 2010 and 2015 targets

What will be your advise to the Federal Government as necessary condition to reduce working class poverty in the country?

Well, we live in a time of opportunity and uncertainty in which some of the barriers that have prevented workers from fully realising their capabilities are coming down, but in which good jobs that provide the foundation of security to build better lives are increasingly difficult to find.

And with global unemployment at historically high levels, there has never been a greater need by the Federal Government to put employment at the centre of economic and social policies.

It is unfortunate that, even among those who work, the extent of poverty underscores the need for a far greater number of productive and decent jobs.

A major effort is needed by the Federal Government to improve productivity, earnings and working conditions in order to reduce working poverty that affects nearly half of all the workers in the Nigeria.

This is because the insufficient pace in creating decent work in Nigeria points to the need for government to have a greater coordination of macro-economic policies, as well as active labour market policies at both in the 36 states and at the national level.

What is your position on the commitment to be kept to make MDGs target a reality in Nigeria in the less than 192 days to come?

The commitments that must be kept by the Nigerian government to make MDGs targets a reality are financing the MDGs needs at the grass root through the Federal Government raising and allocating domestic revenues as well as the donor community delivering on its long-standing promises of greatly expanding official development assistance (ODA).

There is an urgent need for Nigerian government to endorse an accountability framework that consolidates global aid commitments, linking them to results within timelines, and established monitoring and enforcement mechanisms in Nigeria.

In a nutshell, only total commitment to right policies, because there are gains in right policies that will make Federal Government of Nigeria meet MDGs targets by 2015.

Are you saying that there are no gains without the right policies?

Yes. There are no gains with right policies because it is only good policy that can give good result. For instance, the recognition that environmental and socio-economic challenges need to be addressed in a comprehensive and complementary manner by the Nigerian government would definitely address environmental and socio-economic challenges, first through promoting sustainable production processes at the level of the business itself, especially among small-and-medium-sized enterprises in the key sectors in the economy.

It will also support an extension of social protection, income support and skills training measures, which is key to ensuring that workers are in a position to take advantage of the new opportunities that accrue thereof from the policy.

In all, it is on record that environmental sustainability is not a job killer, as it is sometimes claimed. On the contrary, if properly managed, it can lead to more and better jobs, poverty reduction and social inclusion.

Could you please, comment on the United Nation (UN) is commitments to global fighting poverty?

The UN has taken global poverty-fighting commitments more important than ever in a world facing economic, food and climate crises as a result of global economic downturn.

The report on Strengthening the Global Partnership for development in a time of crisis written by the office of Secretary-General’s MDG Gap Task Force, which brings together more than 20 UN agencies, the IMF, the World Bank, WTO and the OECD to track progress on the development partnership called for in the eighth Millennium Development Goal.

The report highlighted a coverage gap in ODA distribution, as most of the increase in ODA since 2000 has been limited to a handful of post-conflict countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. In contrast, many of the poorest nations in Africa have seen very little increase in aid. And from the report it was obvious that the global crisis has put aid budgets of donor countries under pressure, making it harder to meet that intermediate target.

This is because the UN takes a stand on global aid, trade and debt commitments, since the onset of the financial crisis.

Strengthening the Global Partnership for Development recommends public-private partnerships to improve access to essential medicines, mobile cellular telephony and Internet service.

A major theme emerging from the UN study on it  is that implementation of the full range of global Commitments that can effectively advance economically and environmentally sustainable growth that mitigates climate change while addressing the political, economic and public health deficits associated with extreme poverty.

There are suggestions that Africa leaders should look inwards to make their commitment for the post 2015 target. How do you see or view ways these factors can be overcome?

Well, financing for development it is obvious that the international communities and the individual countries have roles to play when it comes to developing countries.  What we are saying is that they must ensure that they take up their responsibilities those programmes that support the poor people and also prioritizing the programmes in resource allocation because they must be willingly to put their own resources into the development of their own people.

And of course, based on what happened in the past years with the financial crisis, we know that there will be less international resources flowing our way and therefore government of Nigeria need to redouble their efforts and ensure that they actually looked to her own budget to ensure that it is good for their own development, but the government has her own challenges because of her own government is also affected by the financial crisis which therefore means that there have to be proper management of domestic resources.