Kenyan government, MPs and CSOs discuss post-2015 development framework | Meeting Recap
Ms. Sarah Muui, Chief Economist, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, gave a background on the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the turn of the new century when 189 member states of the United Nations signed the Millennium Declaration, committing to reducing extreme poverty by creating an environment conducive to development.
Between 1990 and 2008, the world witnessed the fastest reduction in poverty in human history, from 47 per cent to 24 per cent. Even if all the MDG targets are attained, the world will still have an unacceptably high number of people living in poverty.
The High Level Panel of Eminent Persons co-chaired by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom recommended, among others things, that no one should be left behind in the consultation process to develop the post-2015 framework; sustainable development should be put at the core of the new framework; economies need to be transformed for jobs and inclusive growth; and peaceful and effective, accountable and transparent institutions must be created.
The African Common Position recommended the following as major goals to be focused on:
• Structural economic transformation and inclusive growth
• Science technology and innovation
• People-centered development
• Environmental sustainability
• Peace and security
• Finance and partnerships
Kenya Post 2015 consultation, which included government ministries and departments and CSOs, recommended as emerging issues gender-based violence, disability issues, security, climate change, quality of education, regional integration, non-communicable diseases and adult literacy as issues that should be addressed in the new framework.
Nationally, economic growth remains a key requirement for achievement of development aspiration. Increased regional integration for purposes of market expansion and sharing of new technologies was also an important requirement. Mainstreaming of old age and disability was also recommended.
The Open Working Group on SDGs finalized and adopted a set of 17 goals and 169 targets on July 19, 2014. This report was present to the UN General Assembly in September 2014.
The Government will continue working with key stakeholders to drive the agenda forward and hold forums on the same. Advocacy will continue to focus more on grassroots level. The SDGs will be mainstreamed in Vision 2030.
Salina Sanou, Head of Policy and Advocacy at ACORD, said that the MDGs were not inclusive of citizens’ views and that the process of developing the MDGs was very expensive. She said global decisions remained the same but grass root consultations have shown that citizens have a different perspective on what is important for them. Between now and 2015, CSOs and parliamentarians need to map the way forward on a collaboration towards post 2015.
Civil society organisations lobbied to have peace and security included in the discussions for post 2015.
Mwangi Waituru, Beyond 2015 National Lead, Seed Institute, said that western countries have acknowledged that the MDGs were developed in a hurry and the post-2015 needed to be inclusive of citizens.
“As CSOs, we are pushing that governments commit and deliver on human rights and gender. We want our parliamentarians to provide for participation of citizens in the process. Financing for development needs to be taken seriously so that issues about financing the post-2015 framework and dealt with ahead of time, unlike the MDGs where the discussion on financing the MDGs took place two years into the implementation of the goals.”
Deputy Speaker Hon. Dr. Joyce Laboso said the MDGs were shoved down the throats of nations. Questions arose as to whose goals these were and who decided them. In Kenya, there has been progress on the MDGs although the country has lagged behind on maternal health.
“This time round, everybody is involved in the process of developing the post-2015 framework. The people’s representatives need to be aware and know how to involve their constituents.
We want the input from parliament in a structured manner. Members of parliament can provide input in the kind of development that the citizens want. Also, there is the need to implement the needed legislation that will ensure that the goals are met, whether amending existing legislation or enacting new legislation.
Parliament can influence, in the coming year, the process that will be taking place in the UN. Also, financing the goals will be an issue that parliament is very involved in. Budgetary allocations towards the goals are important. The Constituency Development Fund can prioritise the achievement of the goals.
CSOs and parliamentarians need to speak in one voice. Occasionally, members of parliament are unaware of what is going on in the global arena. CSOs should domesticate the global discussions so that parliamentarians can understand and bring these issues to parliament for discussion at a local level.”
Jackson Kiplagat, WWF Kenya, addressed the way forward for CSOs, government and parliamentarians in Kenya on post-2015 discussions.
“We need to establish a Parliamentary post-2015 Development Agenda Caucus that monitors Kenya’s engagement at the national level, in the UN discussions and establish policy and legislative engagements. Also, parliament plays a key role in the national budgeting process, Constituency Development Fund allocations and monitoring and evaluating the post-2015 process. Parliament can also provide input in a structured way to the Inter-Parliamentary Group on the post-2015 agenda by September 2015. Parliament can also help encourage the youth to become more involved in national development including agriculture and contribution to the post-2015 process.
For CSOs, a team has been engaged with Hon. Dr. Laboso, the deputy speaker, and will continue to do so with the goal of forming and strengthening a MPs caucus on post-2015 process. It will also support with the identification and working out the details and structure of engagement for National Assembly between now and September 2015.” This time round, everybody is involved in the process of developing the post-2015 framework. The people’s representatives need to be aware and know how to involve their constituents.
Hon. Shakeel Shabbir, the member of parliament of Kisumu East and a member of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, said parliamentarians are concerned because they are never in the picture until the last minute. He recounted that when Vision 2030 was up for discussion during a parliamentarians’ retreat, many members did not know about it. He said parliamentarians were not part of the process during MDGs and they have also been left out during the discussions for the post-2015 process.
“In many countries, civil society, government and parliament are on the same page and speak the same message. In Kenya, we need to have a discussion between all stakeholders. Parliamentarians are open to discussions with others to ensure that we are all on the same page. We need to ensure that constituents at the grassroots level understand these goals.
We need to coordinate especially when it comes to financing development. CSOs need to educate parliamentarians so that when we in parliament are discussing budgets and voting on bills, we are fully informed about the issues going on globally and regionally.”