Aqil: We recommend strengthening the integration of civil society as part of the international arena for its role in achieving development goals
“Aljowaily”: We recommend civil society to make partnerships with stakeholders to promote an outcome-based approach
“Boudali”: We stress the need for creating business to business alliances among sectors
“Carew”: We recommend engaging stakeholders strategically at the national level to integrate Agenda 2063
Pasha: African civil society should be included in the VPR consultations at the UN's HLPF
In its capacity as the head of the Interdependent Programs Sector in the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights organized an e-symposium on "Strengthening International and Regional Partnerships and their Role in Advancing Sustainable Development in Africa", in partnership with the African ECOSOCC, on the sidelines of the 2023 Partnership Forum of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The e-symposium was moderated by Abd al-Rahman Pasha, a researcher in the field of sustainable development.
During the e-symposium, Ambassador Amr Aljowaily, the Strategic Advisor to the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission (Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement), explained the importance of evaluating the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, in order to be able to formulate the Second Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, to determine Africa’s path and vision of development. Aljowaily recommended African civil society organizations, holding a consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, to strengthen means of cooperation within the framework of the African Union and the United Nations to implement the 2063 and 2030 Agendas, in addition to making partnerships with other stakeholders contributing to the development process, in order to promote a results-based approach.
For his part, Ayman Okeil, the international human rights expert and President of Maat, stressed the importance of creating partnerships between the African ECOSOCC and the UN ECOSOC to achieve common agendas represented in eradicating poverty and hunger, building peace and strengthening education, while explaining the effective role of civil society in achieving SDG 17 on activating global partnership between countries and societies in order to achieve sustainable development, through monitoring data and methods of presenting them to the relevant mechanisms, setting development plans and partnership priorities, as well as participation in developing and implementing these strategies. Okeil also called for the integration of civil society to be part of the UN arena, given its role in achieving these development goals.
In the same context, Khalid Boudali, the current chair of the African ECOSOCC, said that partnerships are essential for capacity building in developing countries. But, building partnerships across sectors requires new skills on the part of individuals and incentives on the part of institutions, in addition to long-term commitment. Therefore, attention must be paid to the geopolitical dimension of trade, technology and financial flows, pointing out that there is a need for more effective B2B alliances between businesses and collaboration across sectors. Boudali recommended the need to develop a road map for investment, and common standards agreed upon, with the use of good practices in the Economic and Social Council, to achieve the goals of sustainable development.
William Carew, Head of the Secretariat of the AU’s ECOSOCC, noted that the seventeen sustainable development goals are consistent with the goals of the 2063 Agenda. The scope of the sustainable development goals is limited to the social, economic and environmental dimensions, but the 2063 Agenda is broader in scope and covers social and economic considerations. Thus, the implementation of the 2063 Agenda will inevitably fulfill our global commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals. Carew recommended institutions to cooperate with the African ECOSOCC for the joint implementation of programs aimed at strategically engaging relevant stakeholders at the national and sub-national levels in order to integrate Agenda 2063 and translate it into national policy, and to give civil society organizations the opportunity at the country level to assume leadership of the programs aimed at achieving Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Abdelrahman Basha, moderator of the e-symposium and the researcher in the sustainable development, stated that partnerships have become imperative for African societies, noting that 41 countries around the world will review their voluntary national reports during the 2023 High-Level Political Forum, 7 of which are African countries. Pasha recommended the need to involve African civil society in these countries in the national consultation processes in a real and effective way to reach realistic solutions serving the interest of the African citizen in the first place.
Notably, this e-symposium comes within the framework of the 2023 Partnership Forum of the Economic and Social Council, which focuses, this year, on the theme "Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels."