Report Of The Expert Workshop Of The National Working Group (Nwg) On Sdg 16 Organized By The Centre For Sustainable Development And Education In Africa (Csdea) In Collaboration With The Institute For Peace And Conflict Resolution (Ipcr) On The 5th Of September 2019 In Abuja
The meeting which started at about 10:25 am was a technical workshop of key stakeholders from governmental and non-governmental agencies that was organized by the CSDEA in partnership with the IPCR, and with support from the Global Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS), TAP Network and the European Union. The aim was to present their activities, success stories, challenges, and suggested way forward from their perspectives in the application and implementation of programs and policies within the context of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 16). The workshop was attended by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the SDGs, UNESCO, ECOWAS, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, UK DFID, the Nigerian Military, Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution – Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Nigerian Red Cross, Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa, the Nigerian Police Force, the Nigerian Navy, Victims Support Fund Foundation, National Defense College, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), National Judicial Institute, the Nigerian Air Force, Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offenses Commission (ICPC), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Federal Ministry of Interior and the Markengee Foundation.
The one day workshop started with a welcome address by the Director-General of IPCR, Professor Bakut Tswah Bakut. He welcomed all the participants while stating that SDG 16 seeks to promote peaceful societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build accountable and inclusive institutions at all level. According to him, Nigeria was one of the countries that endorsed the SDGs in New York in September 2015 and since then the country has designated a Senior Special Assistant to the president on SDGs to take the lead in its implementation. Nigeria was part of 2017 Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the SDGs, but did not sign up for the 2019. However, plans are under way to feature Nigeria in the 2020 VNR. The Director General emphasized the need for the Senior Special Assistant to President on the SDGs to pay special attention to SDG 16. He stated that the SDG 16 is very critical to the mandate of the IPCR in proffering peace, and in the management and resolution of conflict in Nigeria and beyond. He added that a similar workshop was held on the 5th of July where the Multi-Stakeholders National Working Group (NWG) was set up to better coordinate, network, and to track and document what the government, civil society and developmental partners are doing with regards to the implementation of the SDG 16.
He added that the workshop is aimed at monitoring the progress of peacebuilding frameworks in Nigeria, and that the implementation of the International Dialogue for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) and its New Deal for Engagement in Fragile and Conflict Affected States, the UNSCR 2250, and UNSCR 1325 can serve as enablers to the implementation SDG 16.
The Executive Director of the CSDEA, Mr. Theophilus Ekpon stated that the workshop is meant to expand the SDG16 NWG and to further track activities of what stakeholders are doing around peaceful societies, justice for all and accountable institutions. He stated that years after Nigeria signed up to SDGs, the need to access the achievements of Nigeria with regards to SDG 16 is vital to the workshop. In his words, Nigeria was part of the Voluntary National Review in 2017, and in 2020, Nigeria is expected to present Voluntary National Review, with a focus on goals one, three and four, which covers poverty, health and education. He stated that there is need to incorporate SDG 16 into the VNR due to its strategic importance, and that without peace, security, accountable institutions and justice, the other goals cannot be achieved.
Mr. Ekpon stressed the need to access the activities of stakeholders in the field at national and community levels as well as success stories, challenges and recommendations. At the end, the outcome document will be printed and disseminated to inform policy and practice.
The United Nations Chief Technical Adviser, Dr. Zebulon Takwa who represented the United Nations Resident Coordinator served as Chairperson of the Workshop. He emphasized that the timing of the workshop is very critical as the SDGs summit is underway and Nigeria is expected to take part stating that a host of Nigerian Governors will be on the spotlight during the 2019 SDGs Summit in New York. Dr. Takwa highlighted the need for the creation of an enabling environment and that SDG 16 stands out as a very unique enabler for other SDGs to be implemented. He added that Nigeria is moving on the journey of development, which requires peace and that for the peace to exist, engagement must be on the increase, and that this is an opportunity for the NWG to lead the peace agenda in Nigeria both vertically and horizontally.
The Chief Technical Adviser, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs (OSSAP SDGs), Dr. Bala Yunisa stated that the implementation of the SDGs can be seen from two perspectives – National and sub-national levels. At the national level, his office is charged with coordination and providing strategic guidance to Federal MDAs of government on the implementation of the SDGs. Nigeria went into recession shortly after commencing the implementation of the SDGs in 2016. In trying to salvage the situation, the OSSAP SDGs designed a medium development plan known as the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to take Nigeria out of recession. In doing this, OSSAP SDGs collaborated with the Federal Ministry for Budget and National Planning to ensure that the three dimensions of the SDGs (economic, social and political) were imbedded in the ERGP. The ERGP according to him has three objectives which include: restoring law; investing in people; and a competitive economy.
At the sub national level, the government tried to apply the same formula, but much was not achieved. This was because the Nigeria Federal System of government did not give room for such intervention. As a result, the OSSAP SDGs introduced a vertically system to engage at the sub-national levels in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This is to ensure that the SDGs including SDG 16 are mainstreamed into the ERGP and other development plans.
Dr. Yunisa added that Nigeria requested to present its VNR to the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the SDGs in New York in 2017, and that the goals to be reported on are defined by the HLPF with the leadership of the Economic and Social Council of the UN. He added that all the countries that did not present prior to 2019, are given the opportunity to present in the next phase of the VNRs in 2020. Nigeria has made its request to present our VNR next year (2020).
He further stated that the national planning going forward is based on the SDG modeling in helping to throw resources directly at sectors that are meant to assist in achievement of the SDG. The President is expected to launch the Nigerian SDG domestication model during the SDGs Summit in New York this September. He concluded by reassuring SDG 16 NWG members that the agency is open for consultation and engagement.
Dr. Yunisa concluded by stating that the lack of security and peace has undermined the progress towards the implementation of SDGs in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Air Force represented by Air Commodore David Aluku reported that the Nigerian Air Force has provided aid to civil authority and civil power; it has airlifted electoral commission personnel and materials during elections; conducted kinetic operations; established a directorate of civil-military relation; established a human rights and gender desk; Ombudsman and transparency officers have been put in place; available and improved justice system in place; Armed Forces Act being reviewed; National Defense Policy being reviewed; and took part in non-violent election sensitization. He added that there is no adequate training for Air Force personnel, and there is the need for improved economic state of life for Air Force personnel.