Stakeholders across the country had converged in Abuja to brainstorm on a generally acceptable approach of sustaining the gains of the millennium development goals beyond 2015 target date as the curtain gradually falls on the global agenda.
Meeting under the National Stakeholders Consultative Forum, which was facilitated by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, had participants who reviewed the progress so far recorded by the MDGs programme in the country,
while devising means of tackling the different challenges. The forum was also convened to formulate Nigeria” position and contribution at the forth coming post 2015 global development forum of the United Nations.
Speaking at the forum, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr Precious Kalamba Gbeneol stated that “as 2015 approaches the debate as to whether the MDGs should be subsumed within the new framework or in the alternative provide the over-arching principle guiding development efforts after 2015 is also on-going.”
Speaking further, Dr Mrs Gbeneol said, “It is in view of the foregoing that we are gathered here today. Taking a cue from the United Nations Secretary-General” suggestion that work on the post-2015 agenda should be grounded in a critical evaluation of how the MDGs have faired as a framework especially in response to current development challenges, it is expected that this forum will evaluate the outcome document from the Expert Group Meeting with a view to examining the experience with the MDGs agenda in Nigeria in terms of both content and processes while drawing out implications for the formulation of a post-2015 UN development agenda.” Gbeneol stated.
According to SSAP -MDGs, an Experts Group Meeting that was recently held in Abuja had proposed a two pronged approach to accelerate Nigeria” progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, MDGS and sustained development. She said that the Expert Group, based on their assessment of the successes that have been recorded by the country so far in meeting the various targets of MDGs, had recommended the implementation of 3-year plan Â that will be focused on redirecting resources to prioritized goals such as poverty reduction and the health MDGs.
She added that the second recommendation of the group is the formulation of a post -2015 development agenda for Nigeria which should take into consideration the peculiar challenges facing the country with strong emphasis on inter-sectoral coordination and collaboration. Dr Gbeneol noted that in spite of the weakness in MDGs’planning framework, indications are that there have been significant contributions to national development as a result of the implementation of the agenda.
“The Experts equally reasoned that there has been some reduction in the prevalence of HIV, maternal and infant mortality with modest improvements in school enrolment, access to safe drinking water and gender parity”, said Dr Gbeneol.
In a brief expose on the findings of the Expert Group Meeting, Mr. Otive Igbuzor, Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development said that despite the challenges, there are signs that Nigeria will be able to meet some of the goals set out in the MDGs by 2015.
He however noted that the goals of MDGs are very modest, hence the need for a post 2015 development agenda. Igbuzor said the post 2015 development agenda must address the issues of food security, youth challenges, climate change/green economy, violence, corruption, post primary education, accountable governance and leadership.
In her goodwill message, the Director, UN Millennium Campaign, Corinne Woods stated that despite obvious challenges, Nigeria is taking the lead in the attainment of the global goal. Woods called on other Africa countries to emulate the Nigeria in the global effort.
It is expected that the outcomes of the National Consultative Forum will enable Nigeria engage the international community as the world debates the imperatives of integrating the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development. The aim of the position paper is to begin the process of developing a post 2015 agenda that is participatory, ambitious and holistic as well as drive the socio-economic development of the country.
The outcome of the forum will also attempt to determine Nigeria” input to the post 2015 UN Development Agenda that will be considered at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development tagged: Rio+20 holding between 20th and 22nd of June 2012 in Brazil.
With about three years left until the 2015 deadline for the MDGs, discussion on the future development framework for the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs have begun but have however been controversial so far, with the link between SDGs and the MDGs still to be determined. The National consultative forum lasted for two days.