- Category: News and Highlights
The Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) together with Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goal among other partners held a successful regional Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) conference at the Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi on 12th and 13th April, 2016.
Themed ‘Starting Strong: The first 1000 days of the SDGs’, the event brought together researchers, policymakers, senior government officials from Kenya and other participating countries, advisors, members of the civil society, the private sector and the media to identify and discuss SDG priority actions for effective implementation at national, regional and global scales. SDGs which, were adopted in September 2015, build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), establishing a new round of development targets by way of 17 goals and 169 targets by the year 2030.
Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, who was the keynote speaker during the event, reiterated the importance of the dialogue in realizing sustainable development not just in Kenya but in the region and the world at large.
Hon. Kiunjuri noted that Kenya had made significant progress in many of the SGSs, especially in education and poverty eradication. The CS added that Kenya’s Constitution and the Vision 2030 had anticipated and incorporated most of the SGDs and also outlined detailed implementation frameworks.
“The Kenya Constitution, 2010 ushered the devolved system of governance with the primary goal being to take services closer to the people through devolving of functions, resources and decision making hence inclusivity in development. The County governments are thus expected to be a critical partner in the implementation of SDGs at the grass root level hence more targeted interventions and strategies, to fast track the achievement of the targets as well as reduce or eliminate the existing regional disparities. The County governments will, therefore, be expected to review and mainstream the SDGs in their development plans,” said Hon. Kiunjuri.
The CS said he expected the dialogue to generate a comprehensive action plan to guide the first 1,000 days of SDGs roadmap.
KIPPRA’s Acting Programmes Coordinator, Prof. Joseph Kieyah, welcomed all the participants and particularly thanked the CS for being part of the important dialogue. Prof. Kieyah noted the presence of Hon. Kinjuri as well as the Principal Secretary Mr. Saitoti Torome reiterated the importance of the SDGs agenda to the government.
According to Prof. Kieyah, the SDGs are the nexus between economics and politics and that although many African populations only cared about putting food on the table and having clean water, those who run the government mattered a great deal as they determined the kind of policies adopted.
“There is, therefore, need to change the narrative to appeal to, create an incentive and match the agenda of the politicians,” said Prof. Kieyah.
The Nairobi regional dialogue is the first among the three planned regional SDG dialogues with the rest taking place in Sri Lanka (Asia) in May and Colombia (Latin America) in June.
Dr. Edward Sambili, a member of the Advisory team on 2030 Agenda on SGS, gave a brief preview of the MDGs to draw lessons from their adoption and implementation, which in turn could be used to ensure the success of the SDGs.
Dr. Sambili noted that developing countries expected developed nations to fund the MDGs, which eventually slowed their adoption and implementation. According to Dr. Sambili, the SDGs implementation, therefore, needed to focus on domestic financing if they are to be successfully implemented. He also noted that there was need for quality baseline date and synchronization of SDGs to determine what is of priority to each country’s development agenda.
The conference also included panel sessions and group discussions where the various aspects of the SDGs implementation were discussed.
Among the speakers during one of the panel sessions was Prof. Bitange Ndemo of the University of Nairobi, who gave his perspective on what it will take to successfully implement the SDGs. Prof. Ndemo said although developing nations could learn a lot from their developed counterparts, there was need to come up with homegrown solutions and make use of already available resources to develop Africa. He also said there was need for African nations to focus their resources and efforts to implementing policies that are already in place instead of spending a lot of time and money to come up with more.
Prof. Ndemo particularly took issue with Agenda 2063 saying: “We will have no one to hold accountable by 2063, as we will all be dead. I would rather work with Vision 2030 whose fruits I can enjoy.”
Participants were divided into four multi-stakeholder groups to discuss factors that can create an enabling environment for the SDGs implementation in the first 1,000 days. The group discussions focused on four key areas namely:
I. Political perspectives: What needs to be done to get the SDGs on the agenda in a country? How do we build political buy-in? How do we maximize participation? What policies need to feed into implementation?
II. Financing and institutions: How does one bring finance to bear against this broad agenda given domestic and aid budgets? How can we transform the way institutions work together to move beyond business as usual?
III. Accountability: How do we measure where we are at and where we need to get to? How do we report on the SDGs? How are governments held to account?
IV. The private sector: What is the role of the private sector in implementing the SDGs? What do we need to ensure their buy-in early on?
Concluding and summary remarks were given by KIPPRA’s Prof. Joseph Kieyah, Elizabeth Stuart, who is a Research Fellow –Team Leader , SDGs at ODI and Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair, Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals.
While handing over souvenirs to the visiting team leaders, Prof. Kieyah thanked the organizing committee of the conference, especially KIPPRA’s Policy Analyst Anne Gitonga who did a great deal of the work to enable KIPPRA host the successful event.