Head of UNDP Africa: UNDP’s role in advancing the post 2015 Agenda

Apr 25, 2014

UNDP’s role in advancing the post 2015 Agenda in Africa

Speaking Notes for RBA Regional Director
Africa Group Retreat, 25 April 2014

Two main objectives in the presentation:
To identify common ground and differences between The Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the CAP;
To indicate how UNDP can support the post-2015 development agenda.

Common ground and differences between the OWG and the CAP

General observations:

The agenda emerging both under the OWG and the CAP is more balanced, more holistic, better integrated, and more sophisticated that we had under the MDGs. It will learn from the progress made on the MDGs, but also plug some of the important gaps. This level of ambition, however, may bring challenges in landing on a limited set of goals and targets that are easy to communicate and monitor – a strength of the MDGs.

Significantly, human rights is absent in BOTH the OWG and the CAP – in the CAP mentioned only in passing as an enabler.

Under the OWG, governments have already agreed that the new agenda will be universal in nature – that is, it will apply to all countries.  The new agenda will recognize that we share (and contribute to) many problems: poverty, inequality, unemployment, and the degradation of our global commons.  As importantly, it will explicitly recognize that the solutions to these problems exist at the local, national, regional and global level.  All countries will have a responsibility to act on the challenges that exist in their own countries, plus the ones that are shared across borders.

The OWG is following an inductive approach: there is not a unified, negotiated political statement, from where the SDGs will be derived; instead, the SDGs are being derived, somewhat implicitly, from a variety of documents, from the Millennium Declaration to the Rio+20 Outcome document. In contrast, the MDGs followed a deductive approach: they were derived from the Millennium Declaration; this is also the approach being followed by the CAP, which first settled on a negotiated political declaration, from which goals and indicators are now being derived.

Content analysis (details in the Annex):

There is a large overlap between the OWG and the CAP. When compared with the MDGs, both put more emphasis on the additional priorities that are important for Africa: growth and structural transformation, sustainability and resilience to shocks, peace and security, and more meaningful partnerships that can make sustainable development happen.

There are, however, areas that are given prominence in the OWG that are missing in the CAP. This includes focus area 11 in the OWG (Sustainable Consumption and Production). Also, focal area 16, covering issues of governance including fighting corruption and promoting rule of law. They only appear as enablers in CAP.

Also, there are areas where the CAP is strong, but are weak or absent in the OWG. This includes social protection, population dynamics (mentioned in the title of Focus Areas 3 of the OWG, but not in the content). The CAP gives more prominence to comprehensive structural transformation including diversification, value chains and infrastructure. The management of the extractive sector is also absent from the OWG, as well as science, technology, and innovation. Finally, issues related to illicit flows and security are well articulated in the CAP but not in OWG.

The UN Development System including the UNDP and the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) can support the post-2015 agenda in Africa in three ways:
Enhancing ownership of the agenda at national and local level;

Building on the experience with the MDGs, it is important to localize and “socialize” the agenda nationally, including incorporating it in national development plans and policies. UNDP has extensive experience in doing this, and will continue to work with governments and decision makers on the post-2015 agenda.

Monitoring progress at the national level – in the form of regular reports – is an essential element of accountability and source of information to design and implement policies. Again, UNDP has supported most African countries to produce several MDG reports, and will continue to work on national reporting towards the SDGs.

Building on the experience of national consultations on post-2015, the agenda will seek to mobilize and engage a broader set of stakeholders beyond governments, including civil society and the private sector. Delivering on the SDGs will need to involve society as a whole, and will need to draw on the creativity and energy especially of African women and youth. The UN Development System at the country level played an important role in the past  and will continue to  play a key role on the post 2015 agenda.

Supporting the implementation of the agenda;

Learning from the MDG experience, the UNDP MDG Acceleration Framework has proved to be a critical implementation tool to advance progress towards the MDGs – but was introduced late, only in 2010. UNDG will support the design of an implementation framework, a la MAF, right from the beginning of the SDGs, and will use the experience in the roll-out and implementation of the MAF to provide a solid framework to support implementation.

For a long time, the MDG agenda was seized by the need to mobilize aid for Africa. Aid remains important, especially so for some countries and specific areas in almost all African countries, but it is now broadly understand that the much more ambitious and broader SDG agenda can only be financed by creating more national fiscal space. The mobilization of domestic resources for development will imply action across a broad set of areas, from curbing illicit financial flows to harnessing extractives for development, to increasing the tax base. UNDP will have active programmes in all of these areas, building on on-going analytical work and new initiatives under its new regional programme for Africa. In terms of external finance, it is important also to look beyond aid, towards remittances and FDI, and UNDP can assist countries to help to channel these resource flows to development.

The implementation of the post-2015 will also greatly increase demand for data, and there will be a need to support capacity to collect, treat, store, and analyze data.

UNDG can channel some of its capacity development resources to this endeavor, complementing the analytical support to reporting and policy formulation.

Documenting good practices on the SDGs and sharing relevant experiences among African countries and with the Global South are important areas the UN Development System and especially the Regional Coordination mechanism (RCM) could bring to bear in supporting the implementation process. This also includes helping countries to scale up excellent pilot projects to broader and wider contexts.

Advancing the regional agenda (with regional institutions).

UNDP will continue to work with regional institutions to aggregate national data, information, and reports upwards to the regional level, providing a regional “scorecard” on how the region is doing when it comes to the post-2015 agenda.

Again with regional institutions, UNDP will support the organization of sub-regional/regional consultations on progress, challenges, bringing analysis to the UNDG regional meetings and to the RCM to help mobilize the UN to support the process.

Finally, UNDP will work with regional institutions to project the voice of Africa globally, and to continuously mobilize the international community to pay attention to the unique challenges of Africa.

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