Cape Town , 31 October 2021 – The UNDESA-APRM joint workshop on ‘’Accelerating the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and AU Agenda 2063 in Africa: Building Resilient Institutions for the SDGs in the time of COVID-19’’ was successfully accomplished with the participation of various stakeholders and AU member states. Ms. Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, UN-DESA, Ms. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Chancellor, Nelson Mandela University and Chair of the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration and Hon. Ayanda Dlodlo, Minister of Public Service and Administration in South Africa provided the welcoming remarks of the meeting.
Hon. Dlodlo emphasized that the complex challenges that the world is facing especially during the COVID-19 time ‘’require new forms of thinking about our definitions of poverty and our understanding of factors behind inequality’’. Although there may be clear relations between poverty, inequality and corruption, ‘’there are a number of questions pertinent to structural and historic factors behind the lack of state capability for policy implementation in the developing world, especially Africa?’’ said Hon. Dlodlo.
Various African countries including Botswana, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Senegal, Sierra leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe shared national experienced progress towards Agenda 2063 and SDGs with a special focus on good governance, administrative reforms and public service delivery challenges.
Participants agreed that COVID-19 has significantly affected Africa, but crises also bring opportunities. Recovery scenarios and plans from the pandemic further present African countries with an opportunity for a transformation towards more equitable and sustainable pathways. Participants were of one accord that the pandemic underscored the role of public institutions in providing essential public services and that the pandemic exposed pre-existing weaknesses in the public sector.
They also underscored that public institutions have also innovated around e-government and digital delivery of services, public-private partnerships, and citizen engagement. Therefore, effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions are critical to help countries achieve accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and AU Agenda 2063, which are complementary and mutually reinforcing. These were sentiments echoed during the workshop.
Prof. Maloka, mentioned that further attention is needed to link national achievements with regional progress of Agenda 2063. Further, he emphasized that “Investing in African human capital, especially youth and women, requires further alignment between the partners’ strategies and national priorities”. He also emphasized the need to provide capacity building programs to advocate some policies and strategies liked to CEPA principles, especially principles of transparency, inclusiveness and sound policy making.
As far as digitalization is concerned, he also referred to the APRM newly developed Governance hub which shall provide a variety of virtual courses in partnership with GIZ, AAPAM and other strategic partners to diffuse knowledge and capacitate African youth and experts on different topics pertinent to governance-development nexus including some of the CEPA principles.
Some panelists agreed lessons learned need to be integrated and scaled up. They also urged that strategic partners and UN organs to act in a coherent and cohesive fashion and strategic alliances for maximizing impact of their programs and promote inclusion, participation, and public-private-partnerships.
The workshop also recognized that the CEPA Principles of effective governance for sustainable development as highly relevant to meeting Africa’s governance challenges. Participants also alluded to the need of further activities to enhance awareness of the Principles and provide more focussed support to facilitate their adoption in practice.
The meeting also acknowledged the work of the voluntary national reviews (VNRs) which offer a significant opportunity for countries to encourage the whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, in pursuit of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. An emphasis was put on the imperative role of APRM to coordinate with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to ensure that APRM key governance recommendations are considered at different levels to enhance governance progress in African countries alongside alignment with APRM national governance structures.
Ms. Hamouda commented that, under the expanded mandate of the APRM, the continental secretariat offered annual peer-learning exercise between African countries to share experiences on the VNRs and local reviews (VLR) preparations. Mainstreaming CEPA principles in this annual exercise as well as highlighting the principles’ significance for AU Member States and AU organs shall be accelerated in 2022 within the APRM activities.