opinionBy Franco Wandabwa
In January 2014, African leaders adopted the report of the High Level Committee, chaired by H. E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, building a consensus on Africa’s conception of a new sustainable development framework. This position is what African nations will take into the negotiations at the UN, in the hope of securing a deal that delivers for people across our continent.
The HLC and AU have set out an ambitious agenda for the sustainable development of Africa and the promise of continent in which no one lives in extreme poverty by 2030.
It is very exciting to see that the Common Africa Position has addressed critical issues of inequality, accountability, quality of services and promoting a sustainable environment, thus balancing the three pillars of sustainable development (social, economic, environmental), which was not achieved in the Millennium Development Goals.
These strands are consistent with Save the Children’s global vision for the post 2015 development framework, to protect the world’s children against all forms of violence; ensure no child dies of any preventable causes, child and we preserve an environment in which they, and future generations, can prosper. Such goals are an important signal of the level of ambition expected from UN Member States in the upcoming negotiations on a post-2015 framework.
The principle of leave no one behind was adopted by a High Level panel (HLP) established by the UN secretary. After a review of the world’s performance on development it was concluded that In the future, neither income, nor ethnicity, nor disability, nor where someone was born will determine whether they live or die, or whether a mother can give birth safely, or whether her child will have fair opportunities in life. Being aware of Africa’s role in chairing the HLP processes, there is optimism that Africa is committed to the principle in its campaign by reinforcing the CAP statements on inclusive growth and inequality in the negotiating a deal on development for Africa.
This period in time presents a unique opportunity for Africa to preserve its future by being ambitious in their negotiations. It is within the reach of Africa and the world to eradicate extreme poverty, address inequalities in all forms and ensure access to basic social services such as health, education, water and sanitation and this must take centre stage in subsequent discussions on the CAP.
The question now is how will the ambition of the Common African Position communicate effectively to other UN member states? Emphasising ambition would most likely inject interest in the CAP; energise post-2015 debates thus making it an obvious contribution to the forthcoming negotiations with other UN Member States.
It will also be great to see African governments in their preparations towards negotiations acknowledge the gaps that exist between ethnic groups, religious groups, language groups and rural-urban groups which are a significant barrier to further development, progress and the realisation of human rights across Africa.
A priority of African governments through the UN negotiation should be ensuring universal and equitable access to quality healthcare without financial hardship to individuals and families. We know that the financial costs of healthcare can be a deterrent to families, keeping them in or pushing them back into poverty and now is the time to address this issue and secure free healthcare at the point of need.
Equally important is improving governance, curbing corruption and maximising domestic resource mobilisation amongst others, if we are to ensure poverty eradication is sustainable in the long term. Promoting good governance should be a goal in itself, not just as an enabler of other outcomes. This will foster open, inclusive and accountable governance, stimulate citizen participation through open access to information on government activity whiles playing the role of holding governments accountable
Clearly everyone has a role to ensure that post 2015 development framework has the financial support and enabling environment to achieve the ambitions set out in the CAP. The role of private sector investment and activities will therefore contribute to the objectives of the CAP and hence the post-2015 sustainable development goals. Encouraging that the private sector actors act transparently and with accountability; reporting on non-financial performance, demonstrating their economic, social and environmental impacts and their contribution to national development objectives is imperative.
While we celebrate the ambition in the CAP, we encourage that emphasis should be on address inequality in all its forms, eradicating poverty and ensuring that the children of Africa are protected from violence and preventable deaths in a sustainable environment.
This year will be crucial to the future of African development. The stakes are high to deliver a deal in 2015 that will serve the continent to 2030 and usher in the transformative change we need to see to ensure no one lives in extreme poverty.
Franco Wandabwa is Africa Advocacy Director, Save the Children International