Upon her return from the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York City, Beth Chitekwe-Biti shared some key takeaways on SDI’s participation in the processes and activities surrounding the post-2015 development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. Beth highlighted in particular the challenges of grassroots organisations operating within such formal systems, the need to target city governments for implementation of the SDGs, and the obvious links between implementation and the work of SDI, particularly around the Know Your City campaign, which calls for community-driven data collection as the basis of active partnerships between organised communities and their city governments in order to co-produce inclusive upgrading and development solutions:
“The SDGs on paper seem an improvement. But of course it’s about how much political will there is on the ground to actually create tangible benefits to the urban poor. There seems to be a commitment to get the urban poor involved, but there is always a chasm between intention and what actually happens.
The systems seem very formal, so you are forcing grassroots people to be quite formal in how they work and engage with each other… I wonder if this really allows for creative engagement between different grassroots organisations and whether this really works with getting the grassroots voice heard in the UN. But at least the space if there for us to use the best way we can…
…Some of these commitments are pitched too much at the national level when it is really city government that will make a difference. This was emphasised at the Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme event, but is missing in a lot of other discussions. This fits in with SDI’s Know Your City message and hopefully governments who sign on will realise that it is at the city level that things really need to be implemented.”
To read more, and listen to an excerpt from Rose Molokoane’s talk at an even on implementation of the SDGs, click here.
Last week New York City was buzzing with events surrounding the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit for the post-2015 development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were formally adopted on the first day of the summit. SDI’s Rose Molokoane and Beth Chitekwe-Biti were in New York City for the week and participated in a number of events, many of which focused on how actors in the development sector – particularly urban development – can effectively work together to implement the SDGs.
Rose Molokoane was invited to speak at a high level plenary and workshop on “the implementation pathway for the post 2015 development agenda and its SDG on cities and human settlements” hosted by the UrbanSDG Campaign. In her talk, Rose addressed the importance of productive, effective partnerships between organised communities of the urban poor and local and national governments in the planning and implementation of development priorities. She emphasised the frustration that is building in communities after more than twenty years of global conferences and forums with little change on the ground:
“…It is really creating an issue of depression to us as the people at the community because we are very happy to listen to you when you say community participation. What kind of participation are we talking about? Is it participation of coming here, sitting here, listen to Rose Molokoane making noise then after that Rose goes back to South Africa and nothing happens? Or is it participation of saying let’s create the forums that will continue to happen even after the SDGs and the Habitat 3s; where we go back locally and sit together and say ‘What did we learn from Habitat 3?What is it that we can do together?’ and the important part is planning, information, and recognition of what it is the people are doing on the ground and then institutionalising the forums we are talking about.”
Listen to Rose’s entire address below:[audio m4a="https://sdinet.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Rose-at-Ford-meeting-.m4a"][/audio]