The African Narrative - bold but practical vision for Africa post 2015
African intellectuals, policy experts, practitioners and activists to draft a Narrative to inform civil society and inter-governmental consultations and positions.
As the 2015 target year for the MDGs draws closer, a complex set of consultative processes have been unleashed in the search of successor agreement. The UN Secretary General has appointed a 27 member High Level Panel, of which 5 are drawn from the African continent, and of the 3 co-chairs is President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia. A UN Task Team has already produced a report on behalf of the Secretary General to guide the global consultation process in terms of content. Up to 70 countries have so far committed to conducting inclusive and multi stakeholder consultations of which many are African. These Consultations will be facilitated by the respective UN Resident coordinators. In addition to the national consultations, global consultations have also been launched in eleven thematic areas. These thematic consultations are led by various UN entities, for example, UNICEF and UN Women lead the consultations on inequalities. One of these thematic consultations – Governance - will be hosted by the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) based in Johannesburg, in March 2013. A pre-consultation workshop to prepare for this event was convened in early October by the Pan-African Parliament.
The Economic Commission for Africa has launched regional consultations, in partnership with the African Union, the African Development Bank and UNDP, involving multiple stakeholders. Civil society organizations - both indigenous and resident international organizations - have already kicked off a number of regional and Pan African meetings, including a 3-day meeting in Monrovia organised in collaboration with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s support secretariat. Post-2015 is fast becoming a consultations industry.
The African Union, Economic Commission for Africa and African Development Bank have been working with UNEP and UNDP to support the development of an African consensus position on climate and development building on the common negotiating positions for the UN climate negotiations as well as on sustainable development for Rio+20. The Africa Climate Policy Centre has played a key role in this venture.
In addition to these Pan African efforts, a global survey seeking to reach out to at least 2 million people on their priorities for a post-2015 agenda is being rolled out by ODI, UNDP, the UN Millennium Campaign, the worldwide foundation and others. This survey will take 3 forms: on-line, off-line and sms. Side by side the post-2015 process is the “Open Working Group”, an inter-governmental expert group being set up in New York to pursue discussions on the sustainable development goals. These 2 parallel processes are meant to converge at some point.
All these initiatives are meant to ensure that what eventually succeeds the MDGs, if at all, are derived transparently and inclusively, in contrast with the way the MDGs were crafted and rolled out.
However, there is the danger that these multiple consultations can end up with a result inadvertently similar to the MDGs – a list of goals and targets not bound together by a coherent narrative which is consistent with the challenges of African development and aspirations of African people in the context of Africa’s place in the world at the current moment. Failure to do so could lead to a disconnect between post-2015 goals and national regional and continental aspirations and strategies leading to tensions of implementation as initially observed with the introduction of the MDGs in the early 2000s.
The African Narrative objectives
To initiate a smaller consultation of leading African intellectuals, policy experts, practitioners and activists involved in the numerous existing initiatives implemented to shape Africa's future led in particular by the African Union, to pull together a common bold but practical vision and narrative on the African agenda Post 2015, to inform civil society and inter-governmental consultations and positions.
The African Narrative and the African CSO Secretariat propositions
Those two processes are complementary and working in the same direction to aim at developing an African People's Narrative to engage the High Level Panel in Monrovia - early February 2013 - and beyond. The compiled propositions will include the voices of the grassroots, of African civil society, of African intellectuals, of African business leaders, of African researchers, practitioners and activists.
The African People's Narrative will propose a common African position on the Post 2015 agenda and its architecture making sure the voices of the most marginalised of the African citizens are heard and taken into account at the higest level, as well as concrete recommendations on specific issues and themes such as Economic Transformation that will be a core focus on the Monrovia HLP meeting in February 2013.