African Civil Society caucus before HLM2

With the 2nd High Level Meeting on Effective Development Cooperation currently underway, the road to Nairobi 2016 has been a process that has provided an opportunity for necessary reflection for important stakeholders without bias. Gathered with an agenda to come up with a Pan African CSO position in Nairobi, representatives of the civil society in Africa focused on fast tracking SDG implementation through the CSO Declaration on the Nairobi HLM2 towards Effective Development Co-operation.

The gathering reflecting on issues pertinent to the effective participation of the civil society in development cooperation and these include: transparency, accountability and results based approaches; creating an enabling environment considering policies that restrict CSOs; the arrests of activists and journalists that is restricting their space as well as the implementation of SDGs which is dependent on how progress is made in Africa.

Narrowing it down to practical terms, enabling citizens to enjoy development through democracy is a prerequisite that is attained through CSO efforts. An issue of Insurgency and religious extremism that is leading to wars and continued poverty and internal displacements is creating new development targets. The issues of insurgency are prominent in Western Africa and Southern Africa is ravished by the rising youth unemployment rates and the decline of socio-economic conditions. At the end of the day assets are looted and Africa is impoverished, approaching the HLM2, Africa has to have one consolidated voice led by CSOs. The second High Level Meeting comes at a time when the civil society was not fully included in the first Busan and Mexico Meetings. Issues of gender equality, human rights and environmental accountability were missing in these important gatherings and identifying African priorities that has been enabled by the mobilization of CSOs is a necessity.

Speaking on behalf of the women’s collective, Ms Diana applauded the role that has been played by feminist groups all over Africa in identifying local battles that shift power dynamics. She highlighted the key element necessary for discussion during the HLM2 and these include addressing systematic structural inequalities, challenging current economic models, the instrumentalization of women and the role of the private sector in development cooperation. The women’s collective emphasized on embracing democratic ownership and meaningful participation of women. She, however, condoned the lumping of women and youth together on one session in the HLM2 as they are two distinct areas of interest even if there are those who are female and youth amongst the two groups.

The convening thrashed topics to be discussed in HLM2 and these include the controversial issue of south to south cooperation and issues of financing for SDGs. The issues affecting CSOs with regards to effectiveness and inclusion were topical as behavior change amongst stakeholders was deemed a necessity. Another necessary point of action that was emphasized was local resource mobilization, tapping into the middle class and natural resources. Curbing illicit financial flows and beneficial ownership is the starting point for Africa. YIT shall be updating you on the proceedings of HLM2 in its social media platforms.

Article by

Thando Gwinji

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