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SDGC/A formalizes relationship with the APRM
Following the jointly organized event with APRM for the Continental Workshop in Kigali in October 2019 on Africa’s Voluntary National Reviews and the governance of SDGs Post High Level Political Forum 2019 and virtual dialogues on VNRs (2020), the Sustainable Development Goal Center for Africa and APRM signed a Collaborative MoU at the Margins of the APRM capacity-building workshop on Africa's Voluntary National Reviews for the HLPF 2021 and Agenda 2063 Reporting Framework in Djibouti on 21-23rd February 2021.
The main objective of this framework of cooperation is to strengthen collaboration in Africa’s development priority areas of mutual interests in order to accelerate the achievement of African Agenda 2063 and the Global SDGs Agenda 2030, capitalizing on each party’s comparative advantage. Specifically, the planned activities include but not limited to Organization of annual VNRs continental workshop as a follow up to the HLPF and UNGA resolutions to strengthen the AU’s role in the regional coordination among African countries and promote VNR peer-learning and best practices between AU member states.
This year’s conference discussed lessons learned from HLPF 2020 and countries' experiences, governance enablers for building resilient societies in the pandemic time alongside innovative tools to report on SDGs and Agenda 2063. The widely engaging event, brought valuable lessons but key emerging takeaways from country experience lessons were the need to address SDGs at all levels, including the localization of structures beyond the high level thematic SDGs groups. The involvements of Parliamentary committees into SDGs remains imperative. There is notable and commendable progress on mainstream and alignment of both SDGs and Au 2063 agendas but variedly for the two agendas. Domestication however, is mainstream but anchoring the agendas into implementation frameworks. Critical challenges to agendas, continue to predominate. In particular, and also related to the two presentations made by the SDGCA related to financing upheaval for SDGs and AU 2063 in the wake of unprecedented COVID 19 by Dr. Enock Nyorekwa Twinoburyo and data monitoring and reporting for SDGs by Ms Olive Dushime.
Financing for SDGs remains large, as large as African countries collected in revenue from all streams of revenue– Dr. Nyorekwa underlined. This leaves Africa at cross roads. Revenue streams (domestic revenue, official development assistance, foreign direct investment, portfolio inflows as well as remittances all reduced substantially in 2020. Consequently, debt levels rose sharply, already at the backdrop of narrowing fiscal space in many Africa nations pre-COVID19. This being the case, Dr Nyorekwa describes as turning from one crisis (twin health and economic one) into another – debt crisis as low levels of development. Partnership, inclusive institutions and governance remain critical for realization of funds for sustainable development.
Data gaps too are large, with still only 4 in 10 of the SDG having comparable Data – intimated Ms. Dushime. Governments report both financing and data as main challenges to realization of the SDGs, also corroborated by presented lessons from VNR. Existing household surveys do not comprehensively cover all the SDGs and AU 2063 indicators, but even are not widely comparable across countries. COVID19 has had implications for data frameworks; traditional means of data collection no longer possible, National statistical offices unable to deliver timely and disaggregated data for a number of indicators, 9/10 African Countries have seen funding cuts and are struggling to maintain in the new normal, at the aggravated risk of regional and continental data inequalities.
There is need for Collaborative Action for SDG and Agenda 2063 data to maintain adequate coverage as well as to guarantee the internal consistency, comparability and overall quality of data produced to advance implementation of development agendas. There is also need for innovative data systems that allow Africa countries to generate country-level reports to assess their development agendas performance. The SDGC/A has developed a real time Monitoring and Reporting System (MRS) which is a dedicated monitoring and reporting system for SDGs and Agenda 2063. It is built on the robust DHIS2 platform which is a generic tool, with an open metadata model and flexible user interface that allows the user to define the contents of a specific information system without the need for programming. The Center aims to roll out this to African nations, who will be the hosts of the system but the harmonized data collection methods will allow comparability on reporting on SDGs and AU 2063.
Lastly, from the good cluster of key messages coming through the event, governance and related principles for effective governance were discussed. Preliminary results from an APRM led collaboratively report undertaken under the auspices of the African Governance Architecture and in partnership with the SDGs Centre for Africa in Kigali on the Report on the Implementation of the UN CEPA Principles of Effective Governance for Sustainable Development in Africa were validated by countries.
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