Responsive states, Empowered citizens: ACORDís flagship report on the Post-2015 framework


In July 2014 the long, arduous and complex process to define a new global development framework reached a new milestone, as the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals concluded its work. The time remaining for the world to define a new political agreement on achieving sustainable development is shrinking, with the September 2015 UN General Assembly, where the final framework is due to be unveiled, creeping ever closer.

The final decisions on its contents will be the subject of much debate and fraught negotiation over the next year.
But where will this debate be had? In lavish conference centres, dimly lit backrooms of ministerial departments, in grand executive boardrooms, and eventually in the venerable environs of the UN headquarters in New York? Conversations over the future of our world must not be restricted to these high-level locations.

Every day in Africa, citizens discuss their lives, and share their ideas on how to address the problems they face. In the everyday lives of African citizens, we can find great knowledge, endeavour and intent about building Africa’s future.  ACORD,  has at its heart the belief that citizens must be the agents of change in their own development and therefore strongly advocate for these grassroots discussions  to be listened to, and the views that emanate from them be privileged in discussions over a new framework.

At this crucial juncture in the development of the new framework, ACORD attests that a process so crucial to the future of Africa must consider the views of African citizens themselves. We see our role as that of amplifying the voices of African citizens in this crucial debate about the future of our world and, with this in mind, we launched a series of Citizen-Driven Workshops in 13 countries across the continent.

All in all, we talked to over 4,600 African citizens. The results are collected and synthesised in our new report, Responsive states, empowered citizens: Findings from citizen-driven workshops on the Post-2015 framework held in 13 African countries.

The key finding is that the post-2015 development framework is an opportunity to build a new relationship between African states and citizens, a social compact based on inclusive growth in small-scale food production, universal access to quality services, women’s rights, and participatory governance.

Many of the experiences of African citizens when it comes to development and governance on the continent are indicative of a broken bond between citizens and state, in which states are not accountable or responsive to the needs and rights of their citizens, and citizens are not empowered to actively participate in building their own futures. But with the right provisions and political will, the post-2015 framework can be pivotal in rebuilding this relationship.

The report makes a number of recommendations on how the framework can be designed to respond to the concerns raised by the citizens and harness their ideas for building sustainable development in Africa. These recommendations cover how the framework can use its structure of goals and targets to build inclusive economies, respect women’s rights, build citizenship and guarantee access to quality services. It also argues that this will only be possible if the domestication of the framework is based upon participatory governance and accountability, and if the framework allows for increased domestic resource mobilisation to finance sustainable development.

The report is currently available in English and a French translation is also be available. The report is being launched in some selected locations. First out is Kampala Uganda on 19 August 2014.

Download the report
Download summary presentation of findings
Read more about ACORD’s role in the Post 2015 development process

  • acord
  • africa
  • citizen
  • food
  • post2015
  • uganda
  • united nations
  • women