Kenya's CSO common position on the proposed SDGs


We, the representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Kenya:

RECOGNIZE the commitment of the CSOs in Kenya in the post 2015 Development Agenda, notably through participation in various consultations at the National, Regional and Global levels; and making valuable submissions to various Government and United Nations (UN) led technical teams at different levels;

ACKNOWLEDGE the various Initiatives by the UN as well global, regional and thematic consultations on the Post 2015 development framework. This include the: efforts of the United Nations General Assembly’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the developed proposed SDGs as at the end of July 2014, High Level Panel of Eminent Persons advising the UN Secretary General, Members of the High Level Committee on Post 2015 who developed the Common African Position (CAP) and Ministry of Devolution and
Planning national consultations;

NOTE that the Government of Kenya, through its Permanent Mission to the UN, had the opportunity to Cochair United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Open Working Group on SDGs together with Government of Hungary, working together in a team of a total of 30 UN member states;

ACKNOWLEDGE the 17 Proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 169 proposed targets;

ADD our voice to the next UNGA by calling the attention of the Government of Kenya and other UN Member states to the following;

1. The proposed SDGs are very progressive and should be objectively discussed, acknowledging that a lot of consultations, debate and negotiations have already taken place. That the debate on the proposed SDGs must be guided by the following principles; Mutual Respect and Accountability, Equity, Equality and Inclusivity, People Centred.

2. Whilst the debate on the SDGs is enhanced, the persistent weakness of evaluation and documenting the extent to which the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) specific targets, in each of the Nations, must not be lost. Each Member state must commit to carry out a comprehensive evaluation to determine the achievements of the MDGs before the end of 2015.

3. The Success of the MDGs must be measured in regards to the transformations among the people living in poverty and exclusion across all age groups and abilities; and that the same should apply to the SDGs. The measurement of success should be disaggregated by sex and include improvements made for unforeseen, uncounted and invisible including children, youth, older persons.

4. We welcome the commitment to a goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment and that this are addressed in different goal areas including equal rights to education and life-long learning, to decent work and equal work and equal pay for equal work value. Notably, access to universal sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), ending all forms of violence and harmful traditional practices, including but not limited to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Early, Forced Child Marriage, against children, youth, women and older persons in all settings is a precondition for a healthy, educated and prosperous society and they must be a clear priority in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. For a truly transformative agenda, the SDGs need to guarantee the full respect, protection, and fulfilment of SRHR for all.

5. The persistent challenge of youth unemployment must be at the center stage at the UNGA debate and UN member states should recognize and commit more investment on the reduction of the vulnerabilities of children, youth, women and older persons, this being a critical requirement for sustainable development.

6. The UNGA should affirm that; the right of every child to survive and thrive, including through access to quality health care, adequate nutritious food and support to carers; and malnutrition in all its forms remains one of the world’s most serious but least addressed public health challenges. Malnutrition and stunting are significantly impacting children’s lives. The first 1000 days of life (pregnancy to age 2) are critical not only to a child’s survival but also to their potential to grow and contribute to the societies and economies they live in. Food security which includes sustainable agriculture should be integrated with nutrition.

7. The UNGA should recognize that millions of vulnerable children, youth, women and older persons are caught in the devastating effects of fragile contexts and conflict, living in fear and without hope of a secure future. Peaceful societies are a foundation of successful sustainable development and nations should focus on building the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations, and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

8. It should be affirmed that addressing inequality across the life course is vital in order to reach the most vulnerable children, youth, women and older persons. Inequality has multiple impacts on development and increases the risks people face. Investment in children, youth, women and older persons, with added focus on people with disability at the heart of the next global sustainable development agenda will not only bring great opportunities and ensure their well-being, but also deliver significant and lasting benefits for societies as a whole.

9. The UNGA must affirm that full and effective participation of women and their equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life is paramount and guaranteed.

10. We welcome the goal on reducing inequalities within and between countries and the targets therein. However, for the SDGs to be truly transformative they need to acknowledge that the current development model based on growth has failed to address concentrations of wealth that are deepening poverty, inequalities, and environmental degradation. We call for stronger language on: universal social protection floors for all, progressive tax systems worldwide, including elimination of VAT for basic foods, medicines, sanitary products. Governments need to embrace policies that tackle illicit flows including good governance reforms to tackle corruption as a source of illicit funds, but also more decisive efforts by rich
countries that shelter tax havens or the proceeds of grand corruption.

11. The UNGA should further affirm that National ownership of the global sustainable development agenda is of primary importance. Equally important are locally-led and transparent mechanisms to monitor progress and ensure accountability to the citizenry, zero tolerance to corruption and eradicate pilferation of public resources. The participation and voices of all citizens, particularly children, youth, women and older persons, as agents of change will be essential for the future global agenda to be successful.

12. The UNGA should commit to adopt modern technology in data production; this includes a process of data revolution promoting data disaggregation to ensure the framework is monitored and applied to all ages and abilities across genders; commitment to increased funding for data collection and information management and use.

13. Good governance, transparency and participation in decision-making processes to be vital for achieving sustainable development in any given field. UNGA should recognise the important role of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the designing, realising, and monitoring of the post 2015 development agenda. A bold and transformative Post 2015 framework can be realised through guaranteed access to information and knowledge, services and proactive policies so as to overcome barriers to political and social participation. Access to information should be central to the post-2015 development agenda.
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List of Civil Society Organisations

1. GCAP Kenya
2. World Vision Kenya
6. WWF
8. Wasanii Mtaani
9. Plan Kenya
10. Action Aid Kenya
11. Help Age
12. SEED Institute
13. Article 19 Kenya
14. Society for International Development
15. Media Focus on Africa
16. DSW
17. Young Women's Leadership Institute
18. Scaling Up Nutrition Movement
19. Aga Khan Foundation
20. IPPF
21. GROOTS Kenya
22. African Platform (APC)
23. Center for the Study of Adolesence
24. UNGA Kenya
25. Girl Child Network
26. Africa Capacity Alliance
29. Men Engage Kenya Network
30. Dandelion Kenya

Photo: Coping with disaster, sandstorm in Kenya. UN Photo, Flickr