Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 Tracking Workshop Report
The SDG 16 tracking workshop which took place on the 5th of July 2019 was organized by the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa (CSDEA) in collaboration with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR)-Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, TAP Network, and the Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS). The workshop was intended to review the activities, successes, challenges, and the way forward for the SDG 16 implementation in the last four years in Nigeria.
The following organizations sent delegates: Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution – Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs, Ministry of Information and Culture, National Orientation Agency, Ministry of Interior, the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Television Authority, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa, Youth Advocacy Health Foundation, Markengee Foundation, and Channel Network Afrique.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Director of the Centre for Sustainable Development and Education in Africa, Mr. Theophilus Ekpon stated that about 190 governments across the globe came together in New York in 2005 to part pen on paper in a bid to launch the Millennium Development Goals. Unfortunately, down the line, nothing much was achieved partly due to the problem of incessant conflicts and insecurity, stressing that without peace and security no development can take place. This is one of the key reasons the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in September 2015.
Mr. Ekpon stated that the objective of the workshop is to holistically examine what Nigeria is doing towards actualizing SDG 16. Are we making progress and if not, what are the indicators, challenges and solutions? The pillars of SDGs rest on justice, peace and accountability. He disclosed that High Level Political Forum (HLPF) this July will witness a Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the SDGs by several countries, and that Nigeria will not be part of the VNR until 2020.
Subsequently, the representative of the IPCR, Mr. Andy Nkeneme emphasized on the need for the review of SDG 16 after 4 years of implementation. He stated that effort has been made towards achieving the set goals but unfortunately, negative issues are given more publicity. This trend according to him is not good and that there is need to balance reports. He said the Federal Government is working in synergy with agencies and parastatals in the pursuit of implementing SDG 16.
In her contribution, Ms Rabiatu Zyimaga who represented the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs said what is needed for the success of SDGs is strategic direction, good planning, evaluation and reporting. Nigeria government is committed to the success of this programme and every necessary step will be taken to meet the goals. The SDGs office has an on-going series program with the Nigerian Television Authority on Agenda 2030 that is helping to create awareness on the SDGs.
The representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Brig Gen. A T Adedja commended the organizers of the workshop and assured them of full support of the Nigerian Army. He emphasized on the importance of peace building among various strata of the society. He agreed to the fact that Boko Haram activities have threaten government facilities, but the army have come up with measures to counter insecurity and all the challenges. He added that social justice is fundamental for peace to be achieved in any society. He urged both government and none state actors to invest more on preventing violence and promoting peace, and that the all-inclusive policies of government must be promoted. He assured that the military will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders and especially the Civil Society in promoting Military-Civil relations. The army has also set up human rights abuses complaint centers in all regions with head office in Abuja. This new structure will ensure that issues of injustice with relations to military operations and personnel are adequately addressed.
Other speakers in the same tune agreed that if not for the crises Nigeria could have made tremendous progress in the implementation of the SDGs. They emphasized that peace should be prioritized and that citizens should be integrated instead of stressing tolerance only.
Finally, participants agreed to form a National Working Group on SDG 16 and to publish the report of this review to inform the next review in 2020.