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Post 2015 Agenda to be Informed by Voices of People Affected by Poverty and Active CSO Engagement

GCAP Africa Coordinator Sonia Kwami recently attended a meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who has recently been nominated to co-chair a United Nations High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Process. The following is her account of the meeting.

While speaking to Liberian CSOs after meeting with President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Mwangi Waituru, GCAP Kenya National Coordinator and Beyond 2015 co-chair exclaimed ‘GCAP Africa welcomes the appointment of Her Excellency President Ellen John Sirleaf as co-Chair of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post 2015 process and welcomes an inclusive process in the post MDG agenda.’ During this meeting, GCAP and other African CSOs presented proposals to the president on how to strengthen CSO engagement and ensure an inclusive process towards developing a post 2015 agenda.

The team included CSO representatives from GCAP, Agency for Cooperation in Research and Development (ACORD), Beyond 2015, Youth for Community Academic and Development Services, Liberia (YOCADs), Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWWA) and United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC). They met to congratulate President Johnson Sirleaf on the her appointment, offered her their support, and proposed that the HLP co-chair should establish a secretariat as a streamlined channel for Civil Society input. They also requested an effective CSO engagement plan and a truly inclusive process, which would successfully bring the voices of the poor and marginalized to the table.

The President acknowledged the high expectations, the challenges of the task ahead as well as the short time frame for delivering the report to the UN Secretary General by mid-2013. She welcomed the comments made by the CSO representatives, was open to the suggestions made, and identified with grassroots and marginalized groups, as well as the need for their voices to be heard. She also reiterated that the process of developing a new post 2015 agenda should not be done in an ivory tower, but should be inclusive of the voices of marginalized and grassroots groups.

Her Excellency made a commitment to share the issues raised by the CSO delegation in a leadership meeting during the AU Summit and would emphasize the need for concerted efforts to accelerate the MDGs at a national level and collectively as a continent.

With three years towards the deadline, the MDGs need to be visible and of priority in the midst of structural change to ensure that many more people benefit from progress made towards achieving these goals.

President Johnson Sirleaf also shared her plans to reach out to CSOs in Liberia and proposed a mechanism for CSO engagement with her office on post 2015.

GCAP and other Civil Society Organizations across Africa are planning for an Africa wide CSO dialogue in October in which Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has accepted an invitation to participate and deliver the key note address. Engaging on the post 2015 process is a continuous process and the opportunity of holding this discussion with the co-Chair in Liberia will open the door for strengthening CSO engagement and ensuring that the voices, visions and aspirations of poor people, women, youth and persons with disability are taken into account while developing a new framework for post 2015.