The Federal Government has announced the release of ‘conditional grants’ to 148 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in order to improve investment at the grassroots level.


The senior special assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Precious Gbeneol, who announced this in Abuja at a pre-implementation workshop for local government officials said the conditional grants scheme has availed the nation the opportunity of leveraging resources from all tiers of government in order to achieve socio-economic development of the rural areas.


She explained that the scheme is aimed at reducing poverty and providing even development of local government areas.


Ms Gbeneol warned the participants not to misuse the grants allocated to their local government areas.
Development partners from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pledged their support for the programme.


Read more at Channels

Orange Botswana has come up with an initiative concerning the second batch of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Biztech reported. Orange has partnered with Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including a Dutch one for the 'Voice Africa's Future' campaign. Orange Botswana said the campaign asks young people to share their vision for Africa's future using their mobile phones. Orange Botswana will send text messages to its customers aged between 15 and 35 and ask them to join in, free of charge.


Orange Botswana said it makes perfect sense to use the short messaging system (SMS) on mobile phones to give young people a voice. Botswana is ranked second in Africa for mobile technology penetration. The network provider is the only one in Botswana involved in the initiative so far. Orange said that with the deadline for the goals approaching, it was clear that not all of them will be achieved, and pointed out that in Botswana, HIV continues to be a heavy burden on the healthcare system, and causing child mortality and complications in maternal health.


Read more at telecompaper

Sudan confirmed its willingness to work with the international community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), calling for the importance of partnership and cooperation in the development agenda beyond the year 2015. State Minister at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Abdul Rahman Dirar said that in the statement he presented on behalf of Sudan in the high-level meeting organized by the UN Economic and Social Council in New York, in collaboration with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Trade Organization (WTO) and UN Trade and Development Organization, in order to discuss the global economic crisis. He pointed to the importance of addressing issues of debt for countries emerging from conflict. The minister called on international financial institutions to encourage the success achieved on the course of the relationship with South Sudan and in Darfur by dropping the debt and open trade and economic cooperation with Sudan.


The minister called for the need to inspire lessons from the financial and economic crisis, which showed the importance of partnership and economic to achieve common development. He pointed to Sudan's willingness to work with the international community to enforce the MDGs, according to the Secretary-General's initiative. The minister tackled the need for reform within the new economic system to finance and support the development in poor countries.


Read more at Sudan Vision

National leadership and action are crucial and governments have the primary responsibility for assuring the food security of their citizens, Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has said.


The Organisation's Director-General José Graziano da Silva told a high-level meeting on the United Nation's vision for a post-2015 strategy against world hunger in a statement signed by Peter Lowrey of the FAO Media Relations Department in Rome and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Friday.


He said the Millennium Development Goals had pushed us forward; however with 870 million people still suffering from hunger, the war against food insecurity was far from over.


The Director General said the only effective answer to food insecurity was political commitment at the national level, and reinforcement at the regional and global levels by the international community of donors and international organizations; adding that the world's attitude toward hunger had changed profoundly.


He stated that the right to food in the context of national food security was now the agreed foundation for policy discussion worldwide.


Read more at Modern Ghana

Millennium Development Goals now drawing near, the international community is looking at the path to follow to support the efforts of developing countries after 2015.  The 2013 European Report on Development (ERD), entitled “Post 2015: Global Action for an Inclusive and Sustainable Future”, is part of this global reflection. It comes just after the Commission’s proposal for a new development framework (“A Decent Life for All: Ending Poverty and Giving the World a Sustainable Future”).    


The ERD 2013 argues that the lessons should be learned from the MDG experiences to go further and calls for a new framework that goes “Beyond MDGs” and “Beyond aid”. Poverty eradication remains a central objective that requires strategies that tackle the roots of it in an inclusive and sustainable manner, by means of a genuine transformative programme. The report looks at the “drivers”: flows of money (development finance), goods (trade and investment) and people (migration) and enriches the analysis by examining, with local researchers, the experiences of four countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Nepal, Peru and Rwanda.


In Africa, the capacity of the Côte d’Ivoire, a middle income country, to benefit from trade and attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has played a key role, even if the country remains vulnerable due to its overdependence on a limited range of products. The recent political instability has compromised achievement of the MDGs but they remain a priority. The study notes that, despite the present crisis, the Côte d’Ivoire is succeeding in maintain high levels of tax revenue.  


Rwanda has experienced difficulties in attracting FDI and Official Development Assistance has played a bigger role there. The government implemented an ambitious development programme in which the MDGs played a central role but this dependence on aid also creates vulnerability. Today Rwanda is seeking to attract more FDI and is making progress in mobilising domestic resources.  


The report illustrates the importance of national choices and of taking ownership but also of the external environment and the need to avoid ready-made solutions. European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs welcomed its contribution: “I am pleased to see that the new ERD, which is particularly timely and relevant, in many ways complements and supports the work of the Commission; This year’s report, with its in-depth analysis and ambitious messages, will help stimulate the debate on the post-2015 development agenda, both at the EU and global levels.”


Read more at Africa and Europe in Partnership

Ahead of the high-level summit on energy in the post 2015 development framework taking place in Oslo on 9-10th April 2013, The World Coal Association (WCA) has called for clear action to improve energy access and address the challenge of energy poverty affecting 1.3bn people worldwide.


Participants in the Oslo event will discuss key energy recommendations and potential global energy objectives, with the aim of informing and shaping the post 2015 development agenda on energy issues. As the world’s leading source of electricity, the WCA wants coal to be recognised as having a major role to play in meeting global energy access and climate change objectives.


Milton Catelin, Chief Executive of the WCA, commented “One of the biggest criticisms of the Rio+20 conference was the lack of ambition to improve energy access and no real statement on how the international community can work together to deliver energy for all. In the current global discourse on energy poverty there is too much focus on patchwork solutions for energy access.


Read more at World Coal Association

For the first time in history, the United Nations (UN) are engaging people all around the world in shaping a global agenda: the next development goals.

We are breaking new ground using digital media, mobile phone technology and door-to-door interviewers to include as many individuals as possible in the debate on the future anti-poverty targets that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

To date, close to half a million people have taken part in the ongoing “Global Conversation.”

The discussion takes place on several platforms: close to 100 UN Member States are organizing local workshops with the participation of young people, vulnerable women, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups;  eleven global thematic consultations are taking place online through the World We Want 2015 website, where people can contribute their ideas on issues such as inequalities, food security, and access to water; and the MY World survey, available in 10 languages, invites people to vote for six out of 16 priorities for the future development agenda.


Read more at UNDP

For Garry Conille, the United Nations high-level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 development agenda will “go down in history as one of the most consultative processes ever.”
 
The former prime minister of Haiti is currently a special advisor to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who co-chairs the panel.
 
While civil society and aid groups greeted the outcome of the panel’s last meeting — held in Bali, Indonesia, on March 27 — with mixed reactions, Conille believes it has been “an incredible process” so far. Conille is optimistic, he told Devex, that the panel will be both “ambitious and bold” in its final recommendations, which are due to be released in May.
 
Looking forward, he said that any post-2015 development agenda would need to include practical and measurable goals — and ideally, global ones.
 
He also stressed the importance of the emerging economies and the private sector in achieving broad consensus beyond aid, asserting that “countries want to graduate from aid and part of achieving that is better trade.”
 
Here are some excerpts from our conversation with Conille, captured last week in Brussels.


Read more at devex

The EU’s latest proposal for the post-2015 development framework is on the right track. But, as Member States reflect on this document to adopt Council Conclusions in May, more effort is needed to spell out how a future framework can support and measure progress towards sustainable peace.


On 27 February, the European Commission (EC) released a Communication entitled ‘A decent life for all: ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future’, setting out a proposal for a common EU approach to the post-MDG framework. The EU’s vision revolves around five priorities that are seen as the building blocks of a decent life for all. These are: basic living standards; inclusive and sustainable growth; sustainable management of natural resources; equality, equity and justice; and peace and security. The inclusion of peace and security as one of the building blocks of the framework highlights recognition by the EC that “Where there is physical insecurity, high levels of inequality, governance challenges and little or no institutional capacity, it is extremely difficult to make sustainable progress on the key MDG benchmarks” (EuropeanCommission: A Decent Life for all: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future).


Read more at TransConflict

At the March 2013 Conference of African ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development that was held in Abidjan, African Ministers requested the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the African Union Commission to set up a Working Group that would come up with indicators aimed at following up on progress made in reaching the post 2015 development agenda in line with the Africa Common Position.

In this regard, the three institutions are jointly organizing a meeting, themed: Statistical Challenges of Monitoring Development beyond 2015 in Pretoria, South Africa on 2-3 May 2013. The objective of the meeting is to provide an opportunity to officials from the national statistical systems and other statistical organizations in the region to learn about the on-going policy work on the post-2015 development agenda at international and regional levels; initiate development of indicators and prepare a clear roadmap for meeting the statistical challenges through a balanced understanding of the likely data demand beyond 2015.

Regardless of the nature of post-2015 development framework that is finally adopted, the issues and challenges of monitoring progress against regional and national goals and targets through robustly measurable indicators still need to be seriously addressed. Further, while the policy work is in progress, it is hoped that the statistical community in Africa can start engaging in discussions on development of indicators; setting of goals and targets; as well as measurement issues for monitoring purposes. The discussion should also include the various statistical challenges currently being faced by the countries with regard to obtaining regular data for monitoring of development indicators, including those in the MDGs. Clearly, statisticians should prepare themselves to meet greater data demands in future.

Read more at 4- traders

The United Nations General Assembly is focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and fostering a successor development agenda, the President of the UN body said today, highlighting upcoming events to increase momentum as the 2015 deadline for both efforts approaches.


Vuk Jeremic, President of the General Assembly, told journalists in New York that he is putting a lot of my time and energy into working with the different UN actors and uniting their efforts on the MDGs “so that the way is paved for the General Assembly in the next 1,000 days to come to a single holistic and comprehensive sustainable development agenda.”


“That is in my opinion possibly the most important piece of work for the General Assembly for the next 1,000 days,” Mr. Jeremic added.


Among the high-level events related to the MDGs, Mr. Jeremic noted plans are underway for a “landmark” conference on 25 September to coincide with the high-level opening of the General Assembly in New York.
The event, Mr. Jeremic said, would be the last big conference aimed at marking the transition from the MDGs to a sustainable post-2015 development agenda.


Read more at UN News Centre

High-level aid officials and close to 100 people from local communities across Africa and Asia will be participating today in a conference in Dublin that aims to drive post-2015 development agenda discussions on the interlinkages among hunger, nutrition and climate change.
 
The Dublin Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, Climate Justice — hosted by the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice and the Irish government, which currently holds the EU presidency — will act as a platform for the aid community to exchange ideas on tackling hunger and malnutrition.
 
About 870 million people — 563 million of them from Asia-Pacific — continue to suffer from hunger, according to the the FAO’s 2012 State of Food Insecurity in the World. Climate change is expected to add 10 to 20 percent more to this number by 2050. It adds to the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, affects crop production and water access.
 
A paper released ahead of the conference highlights these scenario and the need to address the nexus between hunger and climate change. With an expected world population of 9 billion come 2050, the need to produce food enough for everyone becomes more critical.


 Read more at devex

The United Nations General Assembly today is holding a thematic debate with the Group of 20 major economies, or G20, to strengthen interaction between the two bodies and to improve global economic governance.


“Since the outbreak of the world economic, financial and debt crisis, the ongoing discussions about how to improve global economic governance have grown in significance, drawing increased public attention across the planet,” General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic said in his opening address to the thematic debate, ‘UN and Global Economic Governance.’


Mr. Jeremic noted that the UN General Assembly is the only global forum with universal membership and the only one to give equal voice to all members.


“The General Assembly should become a venue for enhanced interaction between international financial and trade institutions, the G20 and non-G20 Member States, by providing a platform to reflect on common concerns, as well as exchange views and share information,” he stressed.


In his speech, Mr. Jeremic outlined some ways to better formalize ad hoc practices to boost relations between the General Assembly and the G20, whose presidency is held this year by the Russian Federation.


Read more at UN News Centre

Kenya will continue to support sustainable urbanization as key part of the post-2015 global development agenda. “We believe that a post-2015 development agenda should be transformative to address the main challengers and opportunities that cities and towns in the 21st Century face, we should find better ways to manage our rural environments in order to stem disruptive migratory flows to big cities,” the country's President Uhuru Kenyatta said when he opened the United Nations Habitat 24th Session of the Governing Council.


“We want an agenda that focuses on small villages as much as it does on mega-cities and balances the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development,” Added Kenyatta.


According to Kenyatta, the theme of the session ‘Sustainable Development: The role of cities in creating improved economic opportunities for all’ speaks to the highest priorities of the Jubilee government. “Over the next five years, my government in keeping with the pledges made by the Jubilee coalition will deliver on a manifesto that tackles the challenges we are discussing here” Remarked Kenyatta.


“Our manifesto rests on three pillars with elements that are congruent with the theme of Sustainable Urban Development and the generation of economic opportunities through cities especially for young men and women,” he said.


Read more at African Science News

Southern Voice, a network of 48 Think Tanks based Africa, Latin America and South Asia has recently launched its ‘Occasional Paper Series’. The aim is to provide “quality data, evidence and analyses that derive from research in the countries of the global South”  as “these think tanks seek to inform the discussion on the post‐2015 framework, goals and targets, and to help give shape to the debate itself”, while strengthening their outreach capacity in a policy context dominated by Northern institutions.


The two papers below are amongst the first in the Occasional Paper Series, and take a critical view on the post-2015 development agenda.


Read more at Post2015.org- what comes after the MDGs?

In collaboration with the Berlin Civil Society Center, CIVICUS, DAWN, IBON and Social Watch, GCAP helped organize a civil society forum in Bonn, March 22 – 23, 2013 that was attended by 260 representatives from over 200 CSOs including EA SusWatch represented by UCSD, to advance the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda (a successor to the Millennium Development Goals framework to end in 2015).


In a video message at the start of the Conference, Dirk Niebel – Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development underscored the importance of civil society in the Post 2015 development process with a task to point out challenges and how to address them. ‘An inclusive process through the UN will give the necessary legitimacy to the process,’ the Germany Minister emphasized.


In addition, he called for the Post 2015 outcome to apply to all countries (not only developing countries), and the need to link the Post 2015 development process to the intergovernmental Open Working Group process on sustainable development goals (SDGs) called for in the Rio+20 Outcome Document, June 2012 that is also underway.


Read more at In2EastAfrica

Following the final meeting of the U.N. secretary general’s High-Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Bali, Indonesia from March 25-27, panel members are now engaged in drafting a report that will recommend the vision and shape of a post-2015 development agenda that responds to the global challenges of the 21st century.


Last week, in an effort to inform the writing of this report, HLP members received a consensus brief, Equitable Learning for All elaborating on a vision and goal for education within the post-2015 development process. This brief was developed in response to members of the HLP’s request for consensus from the education community around a specific theme and vision for the post-2015 agenda. It was developed from an analysis of the many voices that have provided input for the post-2015 education consultation process, and it has been endorsed by 93 civil society organizations (CSOs) and other partners around the world, the vast majority of which are from the global south.


Read more at Brookings

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It is with great pleasure that we announce the recipients of the 2013 Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Awards.

This year, the Innovation Awards are providing seed funding of US$3,000 to local dialogues between civil society and other sectors usually not connected. The dialogues follow the theme of the 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly, “a new social contract”, and the programmatic track “Building partnerships for social innovation”. In 2013, only CIVICUS members who participated at the 2012 World Assembly were invited to submit proposals.

An international panel of civil society experts selected five winning dialogues:

  • “Stakeholders forum on building citizen engagement and participation in the Niger Delta”, by the Niger Delta Women's movement for Peace and Development, in Nigeria;
  • “No more time out from Poverty”, by Living In a Shanty Town (L.I.S.T) in Kenya;
  • A new social contract session during the Post-2015 Development Agenda on Population and Youth Employment Conference, organised by Cape Verde Youth Federation, Organization of African Youth, Network of Former United Nations Volunteers in Africa, in Cape Verde;
  • "Enhancing religious pluralism and tolerance in humanitarian organisations”, organised by Action For Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD), in Uganda; and
  • “Responsabilidad social: una apuesta por el aprendizaje cruzado”, organised by Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental, in Ecuador.

« Ce qui se passe aujourd’hui dans le monde arabe peut être considéré comme un laboratoire ouvert au service non seulement des sociétés arabes mais de l’ensemble des pays en développement. L’éveil démocratique qu’a connu la région  en aspirant à passer d’une phase de violation systématique des droits, d’injustice sociale et d’inégalité vers des projets de démocratisation est digne d’une attention particulière. Dans cette ébullition, les OSC sont pratiquement présentes partout et ne se contentent pas uniquement du rôle de revendication… ». Anas Elhasnaoui, du réseau ANND, membre du Partenariat international des OSC pour l’Efficacité du Développement (POED) nous parle dans cet entretien du dialogue conflictuel entre les OSC et les autorités publiques dans le monde arabe. Il évoque les résultats d’enquêtes d’opinion sur les OSC et les questions de transparence et de redevabilité des OSC.  Il témoigne de la participation et la contribution du réseau ANND aux processus internationaux en matière de développement et conclut enfin sur les principes essentiels d’une nouvelle génération d‘objectifs de développement.


1.    Existe-t-il des résultats d’enquêtes d’opinion sur les OSC dans le monde arabe ? Comment sont-elles perçues par le public ?

A ma connaissance, des enquêtes d’opinion spécialement dédiées à mesurer la perception publique des OSC n’existent pas,  au moins durant la dernière décennie. Toutefois, en se référant aux quelques enquêtes pays menées dans le cadre de l’indice CIVICUS, notamment sur l’évaluation de l’impact des OSC, on peut relever que la perception de l’impact n’est pas très forte et que la confiance dont jouissent les OSC par rapport à d’autres types d’institutions est plutôt faible tout en étant en revanche, plus importante que celle accordée aux institutions gouvernementales et parlementaires. Il est notoire de constater aussi l’appréciation faible de cet impact par les OSC elles-mêmes comparativement à la perception externe qui est davantage positive. Enfin, il faut noter que les institutions religieuses bénéficient d’un crédit de confiance deux fois supérieur que celui accordé aux OSC.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, in collaboration with the UNDP, on Thursday officially launched the post-MDGs 2015 agenda at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.


Speaking at the launching, acting-UN resident coordinator Dr Babagana Ahmadu said Africa specifically has realised steady economic growth and improvement in poverty reduction and has sustained progress in several MDGs.


According to him, African is on track to achieve the targets of universal primary education, gender parity at all levels of education, lower HIV-aids prevalence among 15-24 year olds, increased proportion of the population with access to antiretroviral drugs, and increased proportion of seats held by women in national parliament by 2015 years old among others.


The Gambia as an African nation has also remarkablyprogressed towards achieving these targets in addition to ensuring environmental sustainability, he said.


Read more at The Point

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy, as consortium members of the Civic Space Initiative,  welcome the opportunity to make a submission on ‘Enabling Environment for Civil Society Organizations’ for inclusion in the post 2015 development agenda. CSOs – whether they are non-governmental organizations (NGOs), trade unions, faith based groups, think tanks, social movements or community based groups – have a central role to play in development, and it is crucial to explicitly recognize this in the Post 2015 goals framework.

Submission on CSO Enabling Environment to the UN High Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda

dannyI write this introduction at the end of my third month at CIVICUS. In this time, my conversations with colleagues, members and partners all around the world reveal a serious inconsistency. Just as we are seeing a consensus about the importance of civil society, we are seeing developments that undermine the ability of citizens to come together and shape the world around them. This inconsistency is explored in this report.

Governments, international agencies and businesses increasingly recognise that a free and vibrant civil society is a fundamental building block of democratic societies and a means to promoting economic development. Recent international agreements, such as those on development effectiveness or on protecting human rights defenders, reaffirm this consensus, while every politician I have encountered in recent months seems deeply committed to unlocking citizen potential.

jay naidooCitizens always know better than the government or the market what works for them. The question is whether our political and economic elites are prepared to listen. And all of us in civil society should understand that as well, too.

My most important lessons after a life of activism were learnt from marginalised communities and migrant workers living in the most brutal of conditions in mines and factory hostels. Many were illiterate but from them I learnt to listen, to listen carefully and digest their wisdom, which helped me co-create a vision and strategy that eventually became a mighty movement and the pillar of our fight for freedom in South Africa.

I learnt that those in power only respected us when we had power. And we only had power when we painstakingly organised our communities, workers, women, students and faith-based organisations around their bread-and-butter issues. None of those truths is different today: our role as activists is only catalytic. Success is only possible and sustainable when local leadership arises and people own and lead their own struggles. And every experience, victory or failure, must be seen as a lesson, too. Our role is to hear the voices and struggles of the grassroots we claim to represent, and make them heard on a global platform.

Cathy AshtonA vibrant and independent civil society is an essential ingredient of effective and stable democracy. The EU has for many years sought to incorporate the input and views of civil society in its foreign policy.
 
During my mandate, I have ensured that civil society remains a central pillar of our external relations. Civil society organisations are our partners when advocating human rights around the globe or designing programmes for women’s empowerment. Today, we fund a wide array of NGOs and seek the views of civil society organisations both at headquarters and in the field. On my trips overseas, I meet NGO representatives to hear from them how they see political as well as economic developments on the ground.
 
In Brussels, I have sought to ensure that the EU engages civil society in a more systematic way; in 2012, European foreign ministers adopted conclusions on Europe's engagement with civil society in external relations, thus renewing EU policy in support of civil society.

Johannesburg. 23 April 2013. Archibishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu joins CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation in expressing deep distress at the disappearance of Laotian human rights activist Sombath Samphone. More than four months have passed since closed-circuit television footage obtained by Mr Samphone’s family showed him being taken away in a car from a police post in Vientiane, Cambodia on 15 December 2012. It is critical that a complete and impartial investigation is carried out into the circumstances behind Sombath Somphone’s disappearance to ensure justice for him and his family.

Following are some additional areas of concern regarding Sombath Somphone’s disappearance and restrictions on civil society activities in Laos.

  • Mr Samphone is the Executive Director of the Participatory Development Training Center (PADETC). A public campaign is underway to demand information about his whereabouts.  Although government officials have denied knowledge about Mr Samphone’s disappearance, serious concerns persist about the lack of a proper investigation into the case and the resulting failure to apprehend the culprits.

English | Portuguese | Spanish    

Conectas Human Rights, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, CIVICUS: Worldwide Alliance for Citizen Participation and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development invite scholars and practitioners to submit articles for Sur Journal’s Issue No. 19, to be published in December 2013, with a focus on Foreign Policy and Human Rights.

Sur - International Journal on Human Rights is published twice a year by Conectas, in partnership with and with the support of Fundação Carlos Chagas. It is edited in three languages (English, Portuguese and Spanish), distributed free of charge to approximately 2,400 readers in more than a hundred countries, and can be fully accessed online at www.surjournal.org.

Sri Lanka currently faces widespread criticism for shocking human rights abuses, past and ongoing. These abuses have been well documented and have twice been the cause of Sri Lanka’s censure at the world’s premiere human rights body, the UN Human Rights Council. The latest instance was the Council’s resolution passed in March 2013 when the body decided to place Sri Lanka under its review for a year. The Government of Sri Lanka nevertheless has been defiant and has shown no significant signs of cooperating with the international community or moving towards accountability domestically.

Read more

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative would like to draw the attention of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to the human rights situation in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

The Kingdom of Swaziland, the last absolute monarchy in Commonwealth Africa, has been ruled by King Mswati III since 1986. This regime has been characterised by a suppression of fundamental freedoms, in particular, the freedoms of expression, assembly and association remain curtailed. Human rights defenders and especially those who engage in pro-democracy activities, face severe intimidation and threats. Media censorship in the country is widespread and police impunity is prevalent.

Read more

The post-2015 framework must bring equal development as new research shows inequality holding back education, nutrition, alleviating poverty, and food security.
Save the Children’s new report “Growing up with the promise of the MDGs: children’s hopes for the future of development” shows that growth does not automatically translate into improved lives for children.


“Children are most vulnerable to inequality because it directly impacts their early development and as a result, their future,” says the report which coincides with the Post-2015 High Level Panel meeting in Bali.


Save the Children Indonesia country director, Ricardo Caivano believes commitment to eradicating extreme poverty will not translate into reality unless there is a clear focus on inequality.
“The UN Panel is in danger of willing the ends but not the means,” he said.


The gap of available income between the richest children and poorest has grown by 35 percent since 1990.


Read more at The Jakarta Post

Is good governance the key to post-2015 growth? Craig Fagan, senior policy coordinator at Transparency International, certainly thinks so. As the high-level meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on the post-2015 agenda comes to a close, he spoke to Devex on how addressing corruption “makes a tangible difference” in meeting development goals.
 
From the recent United Nations My World Survey, “an honest and responsive government” emerged as a top development priority.
 
The results of the survey were delivered to the U.N. High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, who have met for the final time to draw up recommendations for the post-2015 agenda.
 
This is a welcome change in the fight against poverty and inequality, Fagan asserted. Together with Transparency International, he sends this message: that unless corruption is tackled, no significant development for the marginalized and underprivileged sectors can be made.
 
Read more at Devex

As we approach the target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, discussions on what will replace them are gaining momentum. This week the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on the Post-2015 agenda is holding its fourth meeting, focusing on global partnerships. The role of the private sector is high on the agenda.


Businesses have played an important role in contributing to the MDGs by driving economic growth; bringing investment; creating employment and increasing access to goods and services such as health and education. It is the innovation of private enterprise that has enabled the world to eliminate diseases, and transform the way we communicate, travel, and use information technology.


However, businesses can also commit, or contribute to, a wide range of abuses of human rights. Recent global crises – the credit crunch, rising food prices, climate change and social unrest – have shown how businesses are inseparably linked to these problems, more often than not with the power to exacerbate them.


Read more at UNICEF UK Blogs


In the United Nations’ first wave of global consultations, three priorities have emerged as post-2015 development goals.
 
The priorities, summed up in a snapshot report called The Global Conversation Begins, have emerged from the results of a global multimedia conversation, involving more than 200,000 people in 83 national dialogues across 189 countries.


Read more at Devex


Belarus participates actively in the discussions of the global development agenda post 2015, Mr. Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, said at the nationwide conference in Minsk.

The Millennium Declaration was unanimously endorsed by all UN Member States in 2000. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that define the general framework of development priorities for the period until 2015 has already been achieved in many countries of the world. “Belarus has made great progress. Now the task is to develop the agenda for the future, post 2015," said Sanaka Samarasinha.

The UN representative in Belarus stressed that at the time when the MDGs were developed the consultation process was not as extensive as it is now. “The United Nations is interested not only in the opinion of international agencies, governments, academia, the business community, and public organizations, but also in the people whose opinion had not been previously taken into account in decision-making at the macro-level. We hear from people that the MDGs are good but not enough. Primarily because the MDGs focus more on quantity instead of quality, more on numbers rather than the actual situation. As a result, the numbers conceal the problem of inequality, and this gap is widening. We therefore want to know opinions, suggestions and priorities of the inhabitants of the planet, including those from vulnerable groups,” Sanaka Samarasinha said.


Read more at Belarusian Telegraph Agency

 

The United Nations recently released a report entitled “The Global Conversation Begins,” which serves to illustrate progress towards universal understanding of and support for the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Almost a quarter of a million people from nearly 200 countries were contacted, all in a variety of ways which included conferences, mobile apps, and paper surveys. This project focused on communicating with those groups who normally do not have the means to make their voices heard, such as native tribes and the disabled. By developing more diverse lines of communication, the UN hopes to fine-tune its strategies for achieving its MDGs.


The Millennium Development Goals have served as an overarching global framework for improving the lives of the billions who do not benefit from (and sometimes are actively harmed by) today’s globalized economy. Several categories have benchmarks designed to measure and improve the factors which contribute to poverty and development traps, like poor maternal health, a lack of education, and preventable diseases. Projects all over the world are ongoing every day to help bring everyone forward, even if it is only a little bit at a time.


Read more at The Borgen Project

On World Water Day, UN Women is calling attention to the urgent need to increase access to clean water and basic sanitation and to support the initiative of UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson to enhance progress on sanitation ahead of the 2015 target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


Lack of access to basic sanitation infrastructures disproportionately impacts women and girls and puts them at a greater risk of violence and assault when there are no facilities in their homes. Lack of safe, private toilets at schools is one of the reasons for high drop-out rates amongst young girls and is a major impediment to girls’ education. Today, 2.5 billion people still do not have access to proper sanitation, increasing their vulnerability to diseases.


The lack of access to drinking water also disproportionately affects women and girls. In many countries, women and girls carry out most tasks related to water – they walk long hours to fetch water, they cook, they clean, they care for the sick and the elderly, and they grow food for their families and communities. Lack of access to drinking water increases their burden and reduces their time for other activities, such as going to school or earning an income.


Read more at UN Women

 

 

A new development framework needs new strategies for eradicating poverty. Justice—a principle missing from the current MDGs—needs to be part of the next generation of development efforts.


Justice is important enough to warrant its own goal. Lack of legal power and protection is a major reason why people fall into, and remain in, extreme poverty. Around the world, more than four billion people are living outside the reach of the law—mostly because they are poor.


Justice also cuts across most development issues—including health, education, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. So, integrating justice-related targets and indicators into other goals will also help to realize, sustain, and monitor gains in multiple sectors.
Increasingly, policy makers, governments, researchers, and, most importantly, people living in poverty are recognizing that justice is critical to improving lives and reducing poverty. There’s also an emerging consensus that justice is measurable.


Here are two possible ways that justice could be included in a Post 2015 framework.


Read more at Namati: Innovations in Legel Empowerment

The United Nations presented today the first findings from an unprecedented global conversation through which people from all over the world have been invited to help Member States shape the future development agenda that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after their target date at the end of 2015.
The snapshot report of initial findings entitled “The Global Conversation Begins” was delivered to more than 100 representatives of Member States who will negotiate the future development agenda that is likely to build on the MDGs and sustainable development agenda from Rio+20.
“We are reinventing the way decisions will be made at the global level,” said Olav Kjorven, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of Bureau for Development Policy at UN Development Programme. “People want to have a say in determining what kind of world they are going to live in and we are providing that opportunity by using digital media as well as door-to-door interviewers.”


Read more at Post- 2015 Women’s Coalition

The Government of Liberia with support from the United Nations in Liberia will on March 18, 2013, hold nation-wide consultations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
The objective of these consultations is to ensure a bottom up approach to the development of the next Global Development Agenda, so that the plan is informed by the aspirations, perspectives and voices of the people who will be affected by the Agenda, making an improvement over the previous MDGs in order to facilitate an inclusive, nationally led process.
These consultations are expected to stimulate inclusive discussions amongst national stakeholders which include government representatives, NGOs, civil society, community-based organizations (CBOs), indigenous peoples, women's and social movements, youth and children, as well as the private sector among others, to build a shared global vision on the “Future we Want” with clear recommendations for governments, civil society and broad stakeholders on the Post 2015 Development Framework.


Read more at Modern Ghana


Restless Development Zambia convened approximately 50 young people from around Zambia to provide a youth consultation supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on their vision for the Post-2015 Development Goals. UNFPA is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.

This consultation has been apart of ongoing consultation by the UN Zambia to engage young people in the formulation of tangible goals that will impact their lives until the year 2030. This consultation is timely, as people from around the world are evaluating the successes and challenges of the Millennium Development Goals which are scheduled to elapse by 2015.


Read more at Restless Development

This week the United Nations is bringing experts and world leaders to Indonesia to debate development priorities beyond 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals expire. Good governance tops the list of what to add to the current eight targets.


We want to make certain that good governance and anti-corruption form part of the promises and solutions post 2015 – because they can make a tangible difference in delivering all the
A TI study from 2010 has shown the huge, positive impacts transparency can have on development – if you reverse the corruption-poverty equation. For example:
The findings suggest that higher levels of access to information — such as on a school’s budget, resource inflows provided to schools and appointment procedures for teachers and school administrators — is positively and significantly correlated with higher literacy rates.


In other words, make a school budget more transparent, our research shows, and literacy rates go up.


If we had an anti-corruption or “good governance” goal for all countries, what would we do to put the transparency pay-off into practice...


Read more at Transparency International


Post-2015 goals must satisfy several conditions. Goals must be few in number (so some sector goals will have to be omitted entirely or consolidated with others- lowering their visibility and disappointing interest groups), globally relevant, simple to understand, measurable and enabling. They must avoid the calculated ambiguity of most negotiated documents that leads to an “agreement all despise.” Most important post-2015 goals must galvanize widespread endorsement and action.


One project to explore the post-2015 development paradigm has involved researchers at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and its partners. In our modest effort to consult with experts around the world, we received a lot of passionate advice — “Base goals on already agreed language”; “Start with an empowering vision”; “Stress the key elements of development”; “Include the drivers of change”; “Focus on rules to allow mobilization of own resources”; “Emphasize interconnections and inter linkages”; “Mainstream accountability”; “Make the goals rights-based”; “Underscore democracy”; “Highlight corruption”; and “Recognize planetary boundaries.” We were advised to avoid a “Christmas tree” wish list, disregard ideological values, and to ignore estimating costs of achieving the goals.


Read more at thestar.com


Post-2015 goals must satisfy several conditions. Goals must be few in number (so some sector goals will have to be omitted entirely or consolidated with others- lowering their visibility and disappointing interest groups), globally relevant, simple to understand, measurable and enabling. They must avoid the calculated ambiguity of most negotiated documents that leads to an “agreement all despise.” Most important post-2015 goals must galvanize widespread endorsement and action.


One project to explore the post-2015 development paradigm has involved researchers at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and its partners. In our modest effort to consult with experts around the world, we received a lot of passionate advice — “Base goals on already agreed language”; “Start with an empowering vision”; “Stress the key elements of development”; “Include the drivers of change”; “Focus on rules to allow mobilization of own resources”; “Emphasize interconnections and inter linkages”; “Mainstream accountability”; “Make the goals rights-based”; “Underscore democracy”; “Highlight corruption”; and “Recognize planetary boundaries.” We were advised to avoid a “Christmas tree” wish list, disregard ideological values, and to ignore estimating costs of achieving the goals.


Read more at thestar.com

Eradicate extreme poverty, achieve universal primary education and combat HIV. These are only a few of the proposals made by the UN in 2000 to free people from multiple deprivations. This pledge turned into the eight Millennium Development Goals.


13 years later, as Europe lives on of the worst crisis in decades, economic and fiscal pressure will see many member states missing their targets in fighting poverty reduction. Europe fears that foreign aid will be among the first casualties of long-term austerity measures.


'This budget reduction goes against the principles of the European solidarity that we have always supported. Having to choose between fighting poverty in a European country or overseas is a complete trap', said social democrat MEP Ricardo Cortes.


Despite the economic crisis, the European Parliament will present a non-binding resolution in April calling for EU governments to live up to their commitment to devote 0.7% of their gross national income to development aid.


'We don't share this vision of cutting the budget for development aid. This is a mistake. According to Eurostat surveys, over 85% of the European population wants to continue helping those countries in need', said social democrat MEP Ricardo Cortes.


Only a few months before the United Nations agrees on the next Millennium Development goals, due to expire in 2015, the focus of the debate has shifted to the new up comers in the global scene.


Read more at EurActiv.com

The United Nations in Rwanda with support from the Government of Rwanda will hold national consultations on the Post 2015 Development Agenda called “The Future we want”. The consultations will be held from March 25thto April 6th 2013.


The objective of these consultations according to a UN communiqué is to ensure a bottom up approach to the definition of the next Global Development Agenda that is expected to succeed the MDGs after 2015, so that it is informed by the aspirations, perspectives and voices of the Rwandan people.


 This is expected to make an improvement over the previous MDGs in terms of more inclusive nationally-led processes.


“These consultations are intended to stimulate inclusive discussions amongst national stakeholders which include government representatives, NGOs, civil society, community-based organizations (CBOs), vulnerable groups, women’s and social movements, youth and children, as well as the private sector among others, to build a shared global vision on the “Future we Want” with clear recommendations for governments, civil society and broad stakeholders on the Post 2015 Development Framework,” the statement reads in part.


Read more at News of Rwanda

Taxation must be central to discussions on how to finance any new development goals, ActionAid said today ahead of a meeting of the high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda next week in Bali.

Members of the panel will be discussing the thorny issue of how to finance any new development goals that follow the Millennium Development Goals which expire in 2015.

David Cameron is one of three co-chairs of the panel, and will be represented in Bali by Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development.

A new ActionAid briefing paper, Bringing taxation info the post-2015 development framework, sets out a number of options for increasing domestic resource mobilisation, focussing on how developing countries could increase their tax revenues. This includes building tax collection capacities, but it also means changing the international rules that stand in the way of developing and developed countries collecting taxes.

The issue of corporate tax avoidance and evasion has risen up the global political agenda, with Cameron promising it will be a key item for the G8 this year.


Read more at AlertNet

Taxation must be central to discussions on how to finance any new development goals, ActionAid said today ahead of a meeting of the high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda next week in Bali.

Members of the panel will be discussing the thorny issue of how to finance any new development goals that follow the Millennium Development Goals which expire in 2015.

David Cameron is one of three co-chairs of the panel, and will be represented in Bali by Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development.

A new ActionAid briefing paper, Bringing taxation info the post-2015 development framework, sets out a number of options for increasing domestic resource mobilisation, focussing on how developing countries could increase their tax revenues. This includes building tax collection capacities, but it also means changing the international rules that stand in the way of developing and developed countries collecting taxes.

The issue of corporate tax avoidance and evasion has risen up the global political agenda, with Cameron promising it will be a key item for the G8 this year.


Read more at AlertNet

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf held talks with Her Royal Highness Princess Maxima of the Netherlands on the eve of a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Water in the Post-2015 Agenda and Discussion of the Results of the Global Thematic Consultation on Water.


Princess Maxima, who is the UN Secretary General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, met with President Sirleaf in the first of a series of meetings with the co-chairs of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The meeting mainly focused on making inclusive financing a key component of the post-2015 development agenda.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Princess pointed out that savings increased the resilience of the poor and protected them from falling back into poverty. She noted that even though large numbers of people make the transition out of poverty each year, health problems and other shocks force millions back into poverty. "By emphasizing innovative ways to help create easy access to financing, the world's poor can increase their resilience," she said.


Read more at allAfrica

As many as 30 civil society organizations under the banner of the newly established Indonesian People’s Alliance (IPA) plan to voice the unsung-aspirations of Indonesian grassroot communities at the numerous international high-level conferences in Bali this year.

The IPA, which was established in January in Jakarta, is a broad campaign platform to facilitate and coordinate initiatives from grass root communities — including environmental activists; farmers trade unions; indigenous people; migrant workers; research groups; women; and the youth and students — in response to the international conferences to be hosted in Bali.

The conferences include the United Nations High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda next week, the Asia-Pasific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit slated for Oct. 1-8 and the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ninth Ministerial Conference that will run on the island from Dec. 3 to 6.

The IPA’s members include individuals from the Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI), the Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity), the Alliance of Independent Labor Unions (GSBI), the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI), the Alliance of Agrarian Reform Movement, the Alliance of Indonesian Indigenous People, the Institute for National and Democratic Studies (INDIES) as well as the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).


Read more at Bali Daily (The Jakarta Post)

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