By Vitalice Meja
In two years’ time, world leaders will assess the progress that has been made in meeting the Millennium Summit commitment to “spare no effort to free our fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty”. This commitment, was enunciated in the Millennium Declaration of 2000 and encapsulated in the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Africa however still remains the continent with the highest proportion of people living in extreme poverty within the developing world
Global Economic stability is crucial for the attainment of the MDGs - prior to the onset of the food and fuel crises and the global recession, African countries were making steady progress toward attainment of the MDGs until the crisis
Top down led MDGs approaches don’t work - top-down” process that established the MDGs did not involve those most affected by their implementation, particularly marginalized groups.
Peace, security and stability are essential factors in achieving the MDGs- The political developments inNorth Africa and the Middle East are a wake-upcall for all on that the need for a more inclusive and equitable approachto growth and development is crucial for the achievement of the MDGs.
Countrieswith MDGs as a framework for development planning, strengthened coordination and cascading the MDGs to lower tiers of government have made better progress, though better budget allocation and alignment
Countries with strong policy innovations facilitated more progress toward attainment of the MDGs. Innovations towards provision of agricultural subsidies in Malawi turned that country in to a net exporter of maize from a food relief recipient, new and expanded social protection programs enhanced access to schools in Kenya, and health services in Ghana.
Domestic resources must be complemented by scaled-up and sufficient development assistance if African countriesare to attain the MDGs. It is crucial that EUC and its member states attain the 0.7 target of the GNP.
Looking beyond the MDGs requires a new approach to tackling development challenges. This is especially crucial if the international community is committed to forge new pathways to a common future we all want and desire – a future where the common good of all takes precedence over the interests of a few; where the needs, rights and hopes of all people are realized; where the environment is not sacrificed to benefit only the few.
The current development pathway, will not take us to the future we want as it has failed to grant rights, liberties and freedoms to the majority of the people and the protection of their environment. Greater hunger, inequality, landlessness, unemployment, precarious employment conditions, public indebtedness, loss of social protections, deprivation of basic services, dispossession of communities, forced migration, financial and , climate crisis remain part of the challenges for achieving MDGs.
There is a need to embrace a new vision of development based on the philosophy of “living well” in community with others and in harmony with nature. This entails a radicalredistribution of ownership, access and control over productive resources in the economy so that no one is denied the basis for living in dignity and freedom. It involves the democratization of state and social institutions so that communities and citizens can democratically set social goals and priorities rather than the markets. It requires a reorientation of production and consumption to meet people’s needs and human potentials within environmental limits rather than maximizing short-term profits.
As part of this transformative agenda, we challenge you to break away from the current model of development and undertake meaningful reforms that truly address the needs of present and future generations.
The ongoing process of establishing a new set of sustainable development goals and a post-2015 development framework should serve as an impetus for governments to address the foregoing challenges. This process should recognize and provide full mechanisms and opportunities not just for consultations but for full participation of civil society in deliberations and decision-making at all levels.
At the national level, multistakeholder forums should be formed with representatives from the government (including parliament and local authorities), civil society and other stakeholders to decide on national development strategy and priority targets based on local consultations with experts’ inputs. At the international level, multistakeholder processes led by Task Teams under the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals can be set up where member governments and representatives of civil society and other stakeholders can formally meet and work side-by-side to draft proposals for the General Assembly.
The modalities should include providing adequate support for the participation of those directly affected and most vulnerable to poverty, inequality, injustice, ecological destruction and human rights violations, especially from the Global South.
We specifically demand the following form part of the review, acceleration of MDGs and beyond;
- Adoption and enforcement of appropriate laws and policies backed up by maximum available resources to protect, promote and realize the full range of civil, political, social, cultural and economic rights
Poverty and Inequality
- Implement progressive and redistributive taxation, public spending and social policies (in education, health, wages and social protection) to minimize economic and social inequality
- Provide support to small-scale farmers, women producers, rural workers’ secure access to water, land, soils, biodiversity, credit and
- Adoption of food sovereignty as policy framework towards adequate, safe, nutritious food for all, and investments to support small-scale farmers, women producers, food security depends is key.
- Securing worker’s, farmer’s and rural people’s democratic access to land, water resources and seeds, as well as to finance infrastructure to ensuring food security
Full employment and decent work
- ensure full and productive employment, enforcement of international labour standards for all workers, including migrants and workers in the informal economy
Universal social protection
- Ensure universal access to basic guarantees of social protection including access to health care, education, housing and sanitation with affirmative action in favour of disadvantaged groups.
- Ensure income security for the unemployed and those whose livelihoods depend on precarious work,
- Full implementation of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
- Ensure equal access and opportunities in employment, education, health, government and eliminate discrimination and violence against women in line with the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action
- Ensure availability of sexual, reproductive health and family planning services
- systematic application of effective affirmative action to prevent marginalization and discrimination of women
Climate Justice and environmental sustainability
- Ensureadequate and appropriate financial contributions by countries on the basis of historical responsibility for global warming to make reparations to all affected peoples
- Ensure access to safe, appropriate, ecologically and socially sound technologies unhindered by intellectual property rights
- adopt ecologically and socially sustainable production systems and technologies in manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, mining
Trade, monetary and financial reform
Reform trade relations to promote equality among trade partners, uphold the special and differential treatment of developing countries, and help economic development in poor countries
implement democratic reforms in the international monetary and financial system, including: improved regulation of banks, financial flows and financial activities such as derivatives trading; greater developing country voice in the Bretton Woods Institutions; broadening the role of central banks beyond controlling inflation; and establishing a mechanism for sovereign debt renegotiation.
Democracy and good governance
- Institute measures for accountability and transparency in governance and ensure people’s participation in decision-making, access to information, and access to justice – three pillars of the Aarhus Convention
Peace and security based on justice
- Promote inclusive development processes and respect people’s right to define and pursue their development aspirations.
- Rechannel military expenditure to social expenditure