Launch of the Stakeholder Engagement Framework
Key words: Stakeholder Engagement Framework, SDGs, SDGs Implementation, COVID-19
The incorporation of the Stakeholder Engagement Framework is a timely thought-out development for the all-time progressive movement of implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), before the expiration of the 2030 timeline. In what way you ask. Let me enlighten you;
Multiple stakeholders were in consensus about the need to propel a steady relationship between themselves for a seamless if not perfect continuous implementation and capacity building of the SDGs. This led to the existing partnership between the media, private sector, academia, SDGs Forum - Civil Society Members, UN Agencies, and Government agencies. The SDGs Inter-agency Technical Working Committee invited key representatives from the above-mentioned stakeholders to participate in the conference held in Mombasa, Kenya on 15th and 16th December 2020 to discuss the way forward for advanced coordination towards actualization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development during the Decade of Action on SDGs. The conference was graced by prominent guests from the Kenya Parliamentary Caucus on SDGs and Business including Bondo Member of Parliament; Hon. Dr. Gideon Ochanda, Adopt a Light founder and Nairobi County Women Representative; Hon. Esther Passaris and the Women Representative Murang’a County Hon. Sabina Chege. Representatives from the National Government included Principal Secretary, State Department for Planning, Hon. Saitoti Torome.
The Stakeholder Engagement Framework, 2020 was officially launched by Hon. Nelson Gaichuhie, the Chief Administrative Secretary of the National Treasury and Planning in a cheerful yet composed ambience, stressing that the engagement of the stakeholders is vital in accomplishing the goals, targets and indicators set for the next decade; A decade of Action on SDGs, whilst Professor Gituo Wainaina, an academia guru outlined the 3 key objectives of the Multi-Stakeholders Framework being; guided decision making and support to achieve strategic development objectives, creating a synergy in acceleration of all SDGs and providing technical and financial support to national and local statistical systems to provide statistical data for sustainable development. The benefits of the Stakeholder Engagement Framework will enable stakeholders to tap into the spring of knowledge and road test initiatives that are effective in different national and county levels to accelerate SDGs implementation and harmonize their contributions as experts of policy and program development.
In as much as the movement was appreciated, a common concern that was raised by participants at the conference was the need for counties to specialize on the SDGs they aim to address. Mr. Benedict Omollo the Chief Officer of Operations & Strategy at Standard Media Group stated that “Our role as the media is to communicate and tell a story, we create a benchmark of comparison between one county and the other, to answer the question of what is causing the difference. The Counties should be free to select specific SDGs to focus on, evaluate and execute them effectively instead of trying to realize all the 17 at once”. Similar sentiments were echoed by Robert Papa, the Head of Strategy & Service Delivery Unit of Busia County, affirming that counties should be realistic about implementing delivery of SDGs at the community level. An SDGs issue in West Pokot is different from an SDGs issue in Kakamega County.
Respectably, the Multi-Stakeholder Engagement has proven to breathe life into one of its principles of Leave No One Behind by giving the government an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon of accelerating implementation of SDGs. Mrs. Peninah Mukami from the National Finance and Treasury outlined initiatives aimed at advocating SDGs incorporated by the government such as policies that attract investors, resource mobilization and inclusivity of stakeholders with relevant knowledge and skills. Institutionalization of SDGs is people centered to foster participation by the people and the Department of Social Economic Planning has trained Economists to integrate the SDGs Goals all the way to the lowest level in the community. Additionally, Ward and Sub-ward committees have been set up and SDGs champions selected per ward and sub-ward to advocate for implementation in Makueni County. In Kakamega County, growth in own-resource revenue generation is noticeable. They credit their growth to progressive projects and initiatives such as the one-cow initiative set to promote nutrition to families.
Engagement of the youth in implementing the SDGs is paramount, because the future is young. Clearly, the youth are not mentioned in the Framework but they were definitely represented in the conference. Ezra Yego, the Project Officer from UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network highlighted his positive sentiments about the Stakeholder Engagement Framework saying “As much as the Framework does not actively mention youth as key stakeholders, it still presents an opportunity for the youth to participate in the inclusive engagement strategy and their views are incorporated in national reporting through youth serving organizations that are involved with SDGs.”
The rubber met the road when the global COVID-19 pandemic struck threatening the livelihood of many individuals, mainly in negative ways. Human health is still at risk, and stakeholders were stretched beyond their noticeable faces in achieving SDGs. Paul Okumu, the Head of Secretariat for the Africa Platform applied the Matthew Effect to explain how African countries have responded to COVID-19. Basically, the Mathew Effect speaks to the ideology that individuals placed in situations of opportunities are likely to gain more and vice versa.
Countries were given the mandate to raise funds channeled towards protecting the world-wide agenda of SDGs, but the same resources went to individuals’ pockets (these are not my words, don’t shoot the messenger). Research states that African countries collectively raised a promising 43 Billion for COVID-19 response, laughably out of debt, but what is more comical is the same amount is less than what the U.S gave to African countries for student loans and packages. Capitalism sticks out like a sore thumb during this pandemic when it comes to resource mobilization, in that the rich get richer and the poor get even more poor.
Self-examination and assessment are paramount if any meaningful progression is to be seen. Public and private stakeholders should practice sustainable and inclusive development to self-assess their reports, frameworks and initiatives on how far they have utilized the available resources to implement the SDGs. “The resources available to us are enough to take forward the SDGs agenda for the benefit of the community” says Robert Papa, Head of Strategy and Service Delivery Unit, Busia County. Arguably, the Stakeholder Engagement Framework is a brilliant step towards a sustainable future.
The Annual Multistakeholder Forum 2020 was supported through a basket fund by State Department of Planning, SDGs Kenya Forum, GIZ Good Governance Programme & Sightsavers.
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Hash tags; #TwendeKaziNaSDGs #DecadeOfActionOnSDGs #LeaveNoOneBehind #TheKenyaWeWant #SDGsKenyaAwards2020
Date; 16th December 2020.