ECA develops toolkit to help member states integrate Agendas 2030 and 2063
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is developing a toolkit that will help African countries develop an integrated approach in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and Agenda 2063, Africa’s 50-year development plan.
Speaking in Abuja at the on-going high level policy dialogue on development planning in Africa, Bartholomew Armah, Chief of the Renewal Planning Section in the Macroeconomic Policy Division, said the integrated nature of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs calls for an integrated approach to their implementation and reporting hence the development of the new toolkit.
The toolkit will harmonize the domestication of the SDGs and Agenda 2063 to enhance efficiency and reduce transaction costs of reporting, facilitate integration of both agendas in national development plans and track performance on the two agenda.
“The toolkit idea emanated from the work we have been doing with our partners on the post-2015 agenda and now we have Agendas 2063 and 2030. So last year we requested funding to support member States integrate the two agendas into their national development plans and to support evidence-based policymaking allowing us to develop this platform,” said Mr. Armah, adding the toolkit is comprehensive and flexible.
The toolkit is an electronic platform which can be accessed on the web. It is also portable and can be downloaded onto desktops and can be used both online and off-line.
“The toolkit puts the SDGs on the electronic platform together with Agenda 2063 and walks policymakers through a series of questions on whether they have integrated the two agendas into their plans, and if so whether this has been done fully using the exact or proxy indicators,” Mr. Armah added.
“We do this because we want to be able to identify if there are some challenges that the member States are meeting in mainstreaming the SDGs and Agenda 2063 into national development plans so the ECA can then follow-up with the member States and try to work with them in trying to address those challenges and gaps.”
After going through the processes on the platform, it generates a report summarizing the responses and shows what type of integration a particular country would have reached, whether it met the economic, social or environmental dimensions of the SDGs.
“Essentially it gives you a mapping of whether the integration is at the three levels such that there’s no skew towards one dimension or the other. Basically it validates the quality and extent of integration,” he said, adding the tool also tracks progress on any given country’s national development plan.
The tool also identifies reasons for non-integration, providing the opportunity for the ECA and its partners to have further discussions with the member States for support.
It can also serve as an input into country preparations for national voluntary reporting to the High Level Political Forum and for national policy dialogue on the implementation of national development plans.
“Of course ours is not the only toolkit around but our distinguishes itself from existing ones in that it looks at the two agendas and its flexible to track progress in other agendas,” he said, adding SDG convergence with 2063 is high hence integration is made easier by the toolkit.
Mr. Armah, whose presentation to the meeting was titled: “An integrated Approach to the Implementation of International Commitments: Features of ECA’s Integrated Planning and Reporting Toolkit”, said the target for the tool is Africa’s national planning commissions.
The toolkit has already been tested in Ethiopia and is being fine-tuned ready for deployment end of June.
In Africa, SDGs are being implemented concurrently and in an integrated manner with the First 10-year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, Africa’s 50-year strategic framework for socio-economic transformation which seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.
High level policy dialogue kicks off in Abuja with ECA recommitting to strengthening support for Africa
The High Level Policy Dialogue on development planning in Africa opened Wednesday in Abuja with the ECA recommitting to strengthening its support to development planning and statistical development, among other areas, towards ensuring the effective mainstreaming of the SDGs in Africa and their realization in an efficient and effective manner.
Capacity Development Division (CDD) Director, Stephen Karingi, said the ECA recognizes the need to provide tailored capacity building and advisory services to member States in the area of development planning and statistics, including SDG mainstreaming to support Africa’s quest for inclusive and sustainable transformation and development.
“The Commission has a long-standing history in capacity development, through which it has continued to make distinct and recognized contributions to addressing Africa’s development challenges and aspirations,” he said, adding that given its dual role as the regional arm of the United Nations and an integral part of the African institutional landscape, its capacity development strategy was anchored within relevant frameworks of the African Union (AU) and the UN.
Mr. Karingi applauded the fact that member States have embarked on the process to domesticate the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development in earnest.
“In this connection, we have noted an increasing number of requests from countries for capacity building and advisory services in the areas of development planning and statistical capacity development, including SDG mainstreaming,” he said.
The 2017 HLPD seeks to explore relevant content and modalities that will help member States mainstream the SDGs into national development planning processes across the policy cycle; that is design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
Mr. Karingi said Africa cannot achieve its aspirations without proper development planning.
“Development planning provides a systematic approach to identifying, articulating, prioritizing and satisfying the economic and social needs and aspirations of a country within a given resource envelope,” he said, adding planning was therefore an essential means of achieving a country’s development objectives or vision.
The challenge confronting Africa, said Mr. Karingi, is not only to attain and maintain, but also to translate rapid economic growth into sustained and inclusive development, based on economic diversification that creates jobs, contributes to reduced inequality and poverty rates, enhances access to basic services and corrects market failures that undermine environmental sustainability. Important enablers, he said, include deepening regional integration and improving Africa’s standing in the global arena, accelerating the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and developing trade-related transboundary infrastructure.
In this regard, the attainment of the SDGs in Africa will necessarily hinge on the extent to which they have been mainstreamed into the national development planning process, he said.
Time for action
In her welcome remarks to participants, Nana Fatima Mede, the permanent secretary of the budget and national planning ministry of Nigeria, said it was time for Africa to take action on the ground as it seeks to promote policies that will change the lives of the ordinary people.
She said it was not for lack of knowledge that the continent was not implementing policies that can change the people’s lives, adding commitment to implement Africa’s plans is what is required.
“As we make efforts to mainstream the SDGs in our respective national plans, let us not forget to do the same for the Africa-focused Agenda 2063,” said Ms. Mede, who spoke on behalf of her Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Adoma.
“The point of emphasis must be social development of our people, inclusive economic development for prosperity, inclusive societies and responsive institutions for peace and environmental sustainability of the planet,” she added as she challenged participants to think through the possible connections and synergies that can be formed across African countries in mainstreaming SDGs in national plans.
UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Edward Kallon, said the HLPD offered participants an opportunity to dialogue on development planning in different countries and situational contexts with the ultimate goal of realizing sustainable development in Africa.
“While the challenges facing SDG mainstreaming in Africa are many and varied, a useful entry point for tackling these challenges is to address the seemingly co-joined problem of weak statistical capacities and dearth of comprehensive, reliable and up-to-date data for objective policy and programme design as well as tracking progress on specific SDG indicators,” he said.
“We must halt the steady slide of many African countries towards poverty and deprivation as well as widening inequality. We know what needs to be done. What we might not know, and if we know may not always agree on, is how to do it. I remain optimistic that this session will focus on the how question as opposed to the what questions.”
In his welcoming remarks, Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Advisor to the Nigerian President on Economic Affairs, explained his country’s economic policies and what the country has done so far towards mainstreaming the SDGs into its plans and related issues.
The three-day HLPD has brought together about 60 top African planners and chief executives of planning bodies to discuss development planning on the continent under the theme: Mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals into National Development Plans.