"For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today" - African proverb
The current over-arching development framework of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expires in 2015. With its measurable targets, it has helped focus global synergies towards progress in eradicating poverty, improving health and universal education among other milestones.
ACORD is currently engaging in the process of defining a new and even better global framework post 2015. This is based on background work already having been on the forefront in mobilising consensus, bringing together stakeholders and building progressive partnerships aimed at arriving at positions that safeguard the interests of social justice and development for Africa.
Building on this momentum and ongoing work to promote citizens engagement, ACORD in collaboration with United Nations Millennium Campaign, ‘Beyond 2015', UN DESA and other key stakeholders coordinated a strategic dialogue session in Dakar, Senegal from 14-17 May 2012. This forum was aimed principally at creating space for civil society voices to shape and engage in the Rio+20 and Post 2015 processes.
It was held on the sidelines of the upcoming regional preparatory consultations for policy makers dubbed "Rio+20". This is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) set to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012. The dialogue session attracted leaders from the civil society, academia and activists who discussed how to ensure that citizens' voices are incorporated into Post 2015 development plans.
ACORD, represented by the Head of Policy and Advocacy, led discussions on civil society participation in preparation for the June conference, and chaired the working group tasked with developing a common statement for Rio+20 together with partners the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) and Beyond 2015. The dialogue sessions resulted in an official statement including the position and recommendations by members of the Civil Society Organisation group.
"We have committed to ensuring that inclusiveness and active participation of the people we work with is guaranteed during the entire process, especially at the national level. To become effective in this process, the civil society needs to create awareness among key stakeholders and also speak the same language and with one voice", emphasised Salina Sanou of ACORD.
In a presentation titled "African CSO Dialogue on Rio+20 and Post 2015", developed by ACORD, UNMC, UNDP, UNDESA and UNCSD, clear links between the Rio+20 agenda, the MDGs and development were demonstrated. In addition, approaches, civil society engagement including how to generate political will were the core subjects of the discussion.
Citizen Ideas, Perceptions and Post-2015 Processes
In trying to visualise the post 2015 scenario, some of the key questions that pre-occupied the minds of participants and formed part of discussion groups were the following:
- What are or should be links between Rio+20, sustainable development and Millennium Development Goals?
- What approaches should be followed to push the transition/links between SDGs and Post 2015?
- How can civil society be engaged and their views heard?
Rio+20 aims to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges. Participants will include Government representatives, national and regional consultants, UN agencies and their partners, regional economic commissions, civil society organisations and the private sector.
ACORD works for social justice and development and is present in 18 African countries, building community mobilisation and intervention on livelihoods and food sovereignty, addressing HIV and AIDS, peace-building and women's rights.