You are currently browsing the IPA blog archives for November, 2010.
- Statement to the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Person
- Climate Crisis Is Man Made, Scientists Nearly Unanimous
- International Day of Families 2013
- Communication and Solidarity
- New Ways of Sustainable Living are Being Created!
- Commemorating 20th Anniversary!
- Volunteers are Essential to our Wellbeing!
- Sprinting to the Millennium Development Goals Finish Line
- Briefing on Secretary General’s Five Year Action Plan for Youth – 29 April 2013
- African dream ‘held back by illicit outflow of capital’
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Archive for November, 2010
The United Nation’s 20th Human Development Report draws attention to the achievements and the current struggles in development and standard of living throughout the world. To read the Report – The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development – go to: http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2010/chapters/.
The effects of climate change are being experienced dramatically in some countries and regions of the world, particularly in Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and South East Asia. Comprehensive policies are urgently needed to reverse the impact of climate change on the poor and the earth. When creation is threatened, churches and Christians are called to speak out and act as an expression of their commitment to life, justice and love.
Together with an international alliance of Christian organizations, the World Council of Churches has organized a photo petition for climate justice in the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico in December 2010. To join the petition go to: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/events-sections/countdown-to-climate-justice.html
“Now is the time to recognise the human dignity and worth of the girl child and to ensure the full enjoyment of her human rights and fundamental freedoms…” (Beijing Declaration 1995) At this fourth World Conference on Women, participating Governments also expressed their commitment – “to advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of humanity…”
That was fifteen years ago and the progress since seems to have been slow and uneven. In 2000 the 1325 resolution called for ‘participation in which women can contribute to decision-making and ultimately help shape societies where violence against women is not the norm’.
These two major events are unparalleled in terms of what they can do to empower women, not only to give 50% of the world’s population their due but also to make the world a better place to live. Yet the record of implementation by many countries is very disappointing. So far only 19 countries have submitted their national action plans for implementation.
This year (2010) marked the tenth anniversary of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Review Summit in September offered the opportunity among other things to critique the progress of governments in fulfilling the goals. It also offered women’s organisations the time to emphasise once again the centrality of gender equality and the empowerment of women in achieving the MDGs. It is accepted that ‘poverty has a woman’s face’ as many Sisters working in deprived areas or with the marginalised can testify. The key to the eradication of poverty may lie in the fulfilment of women’s rights and gender justice. Societies where women are equal stand a much greater chance of achieving the MDGs by 2015.
While I always had a concern for women and children, that concern has heightened considerably since coming to the UN. In the so-called developed world we can be removed from the real and dreadful suffering, deprivation, and powerlessness of women in other parts of the Universe. Very wisely our IPA mission directives call us to be mindful of and do what we can at whatever level to address these concerns. We have a unique opportunity here to add our voices to whatever statements are made to highlight the plight of women and girls… Recent data shows that in Sub-, Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East women account for more than half the people living with HIV/AIDS, while women over all make up two thirds of the world’s 774m adult illiterates … no change over two decades! No change either in the labour market where women’s participation over the same length of time has remained at 52%. Violence of different forms, against women and girls continues to be a universal phenomenon – within and without the home. A recent survey here in the States indicates that the numbers of girls trafficked has shown a considerable increase over the last six months alone. Research from the grassroots verifies these statistics from many parts of the world.
But there is a real hope for greater progress this year with the overall theme “Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work” because of the increased efforts of all those who want to make a difference supported by the creation of a new entity at the UN – UN Women, with its first Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet. She spoke with real conviction and determination, as did Hilary Clinton in the Security Council two weeks ago saying that “UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to expand opportunities for women and girls and tackle discrimination across the globe … all that is needed now to move from policy to action is determined leadership. We all know that women count for peace. But for them to count for peace, they need all of us.”
Teresa Kennedy pbvm
People are the real wealth of the Nations. “People are the true measure of a nation’s wealth” is the premise that guided Human Development Report (HDR) since 1990. The HDR is published yearly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), headed now by Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand. The HDR measures the nation’s wealth ‘not by GNP [gross national product], FDI [foreign direct investment], and ODA [official development assistance] but by “human development” – how human beings in each society live and what substantive freedoms they enjoy.
At the launch of the 20th Anniversary edition on November 4 2010, the UN Secretary General acknowledged late Mahbub ul Haq, Pakistan’s Minister of Finance, a World Bank official, an adviser to UNDP, as the intellectual father of the Human Development Report. Prof Amartya Sen, Indian Economist and Nobel Laureate, present at the event, was honoured for his groundbreaking work as collaborator with Mr Haq. Please watch this short informative DVD.
Prof Amartya Sen reminded the participants that Millennium Declaration 2000 was focused on people centered development, drawing inspiration from the HDRs. The three new indices presented by HDR 2010 are: a) Inequality in health, education standards and the distribution of income; b) Gender Inequality in women’s participation in government and workforce; c) Multidimensional poverty identifying deprivation at household level including health, schooling and living conditions. It was declared that the HDR 2010 continues to be the source to draw inspiration to accelerate efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals as the 2015 deadline approaches.
To commemorate the International Day to Eradicate Poverty (17 October) you are invited to join in an IPA global action to assist two girls from Zambia and their mentor to attend the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2011 (CSW55).
Click on the links below for more information:
Sydney Morning Herald, 4 November 2010
Dr Vandana Shiva is an Indian physicist, environmentalist and recipient of the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize. This is an edited version of her speech at the Sydney Opera House on 3 November 2010.
When we think of wars in our times, our minds turn to Iraq and Afghanistan. But the bigger war is the war against the planet. This war has its roots in an economy that fails to respect ecological and ethical limits – limits to inequality, limits to injustice, limits to greed and economic concentration.
A handful of corporations and of powerful countries seeks to control the earth’s resources and transform the planet into a supermarket in which everything is for sale. They want to sell our water, genes, cells, organs, knowledge, cultures and future.
The continuing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and onwards are not only about “blood for oil”. As they unfold, we will see that they are about blood for food, blood for genes and biodiversity and blood for water.
The war mentality underlying military-industrial agriculture is evident from the names of Monsanto’s herbicides – ”Round-Up”, ”Machete”, ”Lasso”. American Home Products, which has merged with Monsanto, gives its herbicides similarly aggressive names, including ”Pentagon” and ”Squadron”. This is the language of war. Sustainability is based on peace with the earth.
The war against the earth begins in the mind. Violent thoughts shape violent actions. Violent categories construct violent tools. And nowhere is this more vivid than in the metaphors and methods on which industrial, agricultural and food production is based. Factories that produced poisons and explosives to kill people during wars were transformed into factories producing agri-chemicals after the wars.
The year 1984 woke me up to the fact that something was terribly wrong with the way food was produced. With the violence in Punjab and the disaster in Bhopal, agriculture looked like war. That is when I wrote The Violence of the Green Revolution and why I started Navdanya as a movement for an agriculture free of poisons and toxics.
Pesticides, which started as war chemicals, have failed to control pests. Genetic engineering was supposed to provide an alternative to toxic chemicals. Instead, it has led to increased use of pesticides and herbicides and unleashed a war against farmers.
The high-cost feeds and high-cost chemicals are trapping farmers in debt – and the debt trap is pushing farmers to suicide. According to official data, more than 200,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide in India since 1997.
Making peace with the earth was always an ethical and ecological imperative. It has now become a survival imperative for our species.
Violence to the soil, to biodiversity, to water, to atmosphere, to farms and farmers produces a warlike food system that is unable to feed people. One billion people are hungry. Two billion suffer food-related diseases – obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cancers.
There are three levels of violence involved in non-sustainable development. The first is the violence against the earth, which is expressed as the ecological crisis. The second is the violence against people, which is expressed as poverty, destitution and displacement. The third is the violence of war and conflict, as the powerful reach for the resources that lie in other communities and countries for their limitless appetites.
When every aspect of life is commercialised, living becomes more costly, and people are poor, even if they earn more than a dollar a day. On the other hand, people can be affluent in material terms, even without the money economy, if they have access to land, their soils are fertile, their rivers flow clean, their cultures are rich and carry traditions of producing beautiful homes and clothing and delicious food, and there is social cohesion, solidarity and spirit of community.
The elevation of the domain of the market, and money as man-made capital, to the position of the highest organising principle for societies and the only measure of our well-being has led to the undermining of the processes that maintain and sustain life in nature and society.
The richer we get, the poorer we become ecologically and culturally. The growth of affluence, measured in money, is leading to a growth in poverty at the material, cultural, ecological and spiritual levels.
The real currency of life is life itself and this view raises questions: how do we look at ourselves in this world? What are humans for? And are we merely a money-making and resource-guzzling machine? Or do we have a higher purpose, a higher end?
I believe that ”earth democracy” enables us to envision and create living democracies based on the intrinsic worth of all species, all peoples, all cultures – a just and equal sharing of this earth’s vital resources, and sharing the decisions about the use of the earth’s resources.
Earth democracy protects the ecological processes that maintain life and the fundamental human rights that are the basis of the right to life, including the right to water, food, health, education, jobs and livelihoods.
We have to make a choice. Will we obey the market laws of corporate greed or Gaia’s laws for maintenance of the earth’s ecosystems and the diversity of its beings?
People’s need for food and water can be met only if nature’s capacity to provide food and water is protected. Dead soils and dead rivers cannot give food and water.
Defending the rights of Mother Earth is therefore the most important human rights and social justice struggle. It is the broadest peace movement of our times.
———————Vandana Shiva was born in the valley of Dehradun, to a father who was the conservator of forests and a farmer mother with a love for nature. She was educated at St Mary’s School in Nainital, and at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Dehradun. Shiva was trained as a gymnast and after receiving her BS in Physics, she pursued a MA in the Philosophy of Science at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada). In 1979, she completed and received her PhD at the University of Western Ontario. Her thesis was titled “Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory”. She later went on to interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. ——————-
There will be many bad memories from the summer of 2010. We’ve seen the worst oil disaster in US history, record temperatures across the globe, calving ice chunks the size of Manhattan, record heat waves and wildfires in Russia, and floods in Pakistan submerging one-fifth of the country. These extreme weather events are consistent with scientists’ predictions about global warming, and they portend more catastrophes to come as greenhouse gas pollution spews unchecked from power plants, vehicles, and factories .
But as the case for action grew more urgent Big Oil, Dirty Coal, and other energy companies redoubled their efforts to block congressional adoption of global warming pollution reductions. With that effort successful they are now scheming to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from following the law and setting reduction standards for the largest polluters.
Reductions would effectively establish a price on carbon pollution that would increase incentives to invest in clean energy technologies, create jobs, and enhance international competitiveness. The United States needs these investments now more than ever as it falls further behind international competitors like China that are forging ahead with investments in clean energy technologies that create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and increase their international competitiveness.
This occurs while the United States still suffers high unemployment and slow growth as we emerge from the worst recession in eighty years. Clean energy and climate legislation would create jobs and stimulate the growth of clean energy industries as well as hold polluters accountable for their emissions. Unfortunately, the Senate was unable to muster a supermajority of 60 votes to limit the danger of burning fossil fuels after the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act.
This failure is no accident. Big Oil, Dirty Coal, and other special interests like the American Petroleum Institute combined spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying lawmakers and filling their campaign coffers. So far, these dirty energy corporations have gotten their money’s worth.
Companies and trade associations have two powerful tools to defeat measures they don’t like. They can spend millions of dollars on lobbying to strong arm legislators into opposing measures that they believe will cost them money. And these special interests can bequeath campaign cash to legislators who support their agenda while funding the opponents of those willing to oppose them.
So just how much are these groups spending to defeat climate legislation? We created a preliminary “political pressure” measure that combines the funds companies and trade associations spent on lobbying and on their political action committee donations. This measure, however, significantly underestimates special interests’ total advocacy efforts because there are no public reporting requirements for spending on many traditional pressure tactics such as earned media, polling, rallies, and television advertising (which these companies and associations heavily engage in). Further, companies’ donations to trade associations are kept secret, and the recent Citizens United Supreme Court decision empowers corporations to spend their money to elect or defeat candidates often without any disclosure or reporting requirements.
Lobbying activities ramped up in 2009 as the House of Representatives began debate on the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Senate deliberations began last fall and continued throughout 2010. The entire electric utility industry spent more than $264 million on lobbying alone in 2009 and the first half of 2010. Oil and gas interests spent a record $175 million lobbying in 2009—a 30 percent increase from 2008—and have spent $75 million already in 2010.
The oil, gas, and coal industries have spent over $2 billion lobbying Congress since 1999. These three industries combined spent a whopping $543 million on lobbying in 2009 and the first two quarters of 2010. Meanwhile, alternative energy companies spent less than $32 million on lobbying efforts in 2009 and have only spent $14.8 million this year.
The 20 biggest-spending oil, mining, and electric utility companies shelled out $242 million on lobbying from January 2009 to June 2010 . Trade associations that generally oppose clean energy policies spent another $290 million during this time. This is over $1,800 in lobby expenditures a day for every single senator and representative.
Six of the seven companies with the largest lobbying expenditures are Big Oil companies—ExxonMobil (1), ConocoPhillips (2), Chevron (3), BP (5), Koch Industries (6), and Shell (7). Their 18-month lobbying expenditures total $143 million. Their agenda varies among companies, but generally they oppose most proposals to reduce global warming pollution from oil refineries and transportation fuels. And they seek to limit companies’ liability for oil spills like the BP oil disaster.
Southern Company, a major utility with significant coal-fired power generation, was the fourth-largest lobbying company at nearly $20 million. The company is a longtime opponent of efforts to reduce global warming pollution. American Electric Power, or AEP, was eighth, spending nearly $10 million. AEP played a (somewhat) more positive role by attempting to shape clean energy and global warming legislation to its benefit. But it also supported efforts to prevent EPA from limiting global warming pollutants from the largest sources in the absence of congressional action.
The largest trade association working to defeat clean energy and global warming legislation is the umbrella lobby organization the Chamber of Commerce, which spent nearly $190 million during this year and a half . The Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor owned utilities spent $18 million—a million dollars a month—lobbying on global warming legislation. EEI was occasionally supportive of some proposals, but it strongly advocates halting EPA from reducing global warming pollution.
The American Petroleum Institute, or API—the trade association and lobbying arm for the biggest oil and gas producers—spent $11 million to lobby Congress to defeat pollution reductions and maintain their tax loopholes. The New York Times reported on some of their activities with their story, “Oil and Gas Interests Set Spending Record for Lobbying in 2009.”
API certainly got its money’s worth since no legislation was passed and the tax loopholes are still in place. Their spokesman Bill Bush said: “We had a lot of work to do trying to educate people on these issues… We hope we were successful.”
Lobby reports show that oil companies lobbied on a number of clean energy and global-warming-related issues. These included:
- The Blowout Prevention Act, HR 5626, to prevent future oil disasters
- BP federal royalty payments for oil captured from the Deepwater Horizon blow out, Spilled Oil Royalty Collection Act, HR 5513
- Clean Air Act pollution reduction requirements
- Efforts to cut global warming pollution: American Clean Energy and Security Act, HR 2454 and the American Power Act
- Opposition to closing tax loopholes that save oil companies $45 billion
- Opposition to a “Community Right to Know” requirement that shale gas producers publicly report on the toxic chemicals they use to “frack” rock to produce natural gas, Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, HR 2766
- Restrictions on the use of oil produced from highly polluting “tar sands
- Increases in energy efficiency and deployment of wind, sun, and other renewable energy sources
- Other public health, job creation, oil reduction, and environmental protection policies
Twenty-first century campaigns are outrageously expensive. Senators and representatives must raise millions of dollars in campaign cash for their contested reelection campaigns. Legislators’ need for money combined with special interests’ access to cash makes campaign contributions a potent weapon in the hunt for votes. Trade associations, businesses, and their employees donate thousands of dollars to legislators willing to do their bidding.
Political action committees, or PACs, from the oil and gas industry gave $6.6 million to federal candidates from January 2009 to June 2010, with two-thirds going to Republicans. The mining industry donated $1.6 million so far, with $3 of every $5 going to Republicans.
The most generous individual energy PACs belong to Koch Industries and ConocoPhillips, who doled out $700,000 and $600,000, respectively. And this does not include Koch’s recent $1 million donation to pass Proposition 23 in California, which would repeal the state’s landmark clean energy and global warming law.
But the lobbying and campaign expenditures capture only part of the influence of spending by the oil, coal, utility, and other traditional energy industries. Many of these companies and trade associations are also spending millions of dollars that need not be reported to run expensive television, radio, and print “message” ads that do not explicitly mention energy or global warming legislation but are still designed to shape legislators and voters’ views.
BP, for example, is spending $5 million a week on advertising to restore its image after its oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Between April and July BP spent $93 million, which is more than three times the amount it spent on ads during the same period last year. Meanwhile, Big Oil and its allies have spent more than $126 million on television ads this year to promote the expansion of offshore oil drilling and defeat efforts to eliminate their tax loopholes.
Companies are not required to report these expenditures like they are for lobbying or campaign spending. API, Koch, and others have also funded Astroturf rallies to spread their anti-global-warming and anti-safety-regulation platforms. These expenses are unreported, too.
The energy interests’ successful efforts to block clean energy investments, oil use reductions, and global warming pollution limits have real costs. It’s not clear, for example, whether or when there will be a declining limit on global warming pollution that establishes a carbon price. This doubt has in turn led investors to husband rather than invest their capital in the research, development, deployment, and commercialization of clean energy technologies. Fewer investments mean fewer jobs.
And while the United States dithers other nations continue to build their clean energy industries to bid for their share of the $1 trillion we’ll see in the worldwide clean energy market by 2030. For instance, China knocked the United States down to second place as the most attractive market for investing in renewable energy according to Ernst and Young’s new “Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices.” Ernst and Young cite lack of clean energy policies like a renewable electricity standard and long-term stable incentive structures as reasons for the takeover.
The United States has economic, national security, and environmental imperatives to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy generation, reduce oil use, and cut global warming pollution. What’s more, Americans overwhelmingly support these measures, as many recent opinion polls demonstrate.
Yet the Big Oil and Dirty Coal lobbies are working hard to stop reforms so that they can protect their enormous profits. Legislators must ignore the pleadings of special interests and adopt comprehensive clean energy and global warming policies to enhance our economic competitiveness, safeguard our national security, and protect public health and our environment.
Daniel J Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy, Rebecca Lefton is a Researcher, and Susan Lyon is a Special Assistant for Energy Policy at American Progress.
 See US Energy Information Administration, “Annual Energy Outlook” (2010), p 4.
 Lobbying and PAC contribution figures from the Center for Responsive Politics at opensecrets.org.
 The Chamber of Commerce undoubtedly spent many of these resources lobbying against the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, and other issues. Lobbying reports do not specify the various amounts per each issue.
Taken from: Climate Progress website
There were over 600 participants from 81 different countries. A diverse group from the entire globe met in Kampala, Uganda. Global forum on local development was convened by UNDP and UNCDF to explore how to pursue MDGs through local government.
I was excited to be a participant, where we discussed and debated, in the collective effort to reconfirm our commitment to bring quality service to the people through good governance, especially to the 47 least developed countries. Zambia is one of these countries.
We had a few plenary sessions and more round table sessions to facilitate the process for the 600 participants present.
MDGs 2015: What are the keys to unlocking the potential of local governments.? The significant session was a skit from the local community from Uganda. It was a powerful session as they reminded us of the purpose of our meeting.
After plenary sessions we had interactive round table discussions. These sessions were held simultaneously and so the participants had to make a choice to be part of one of them.. I participated in: Do local governments have a comparative advantage in service delivery? While other sessions were on Food security and strengthening local governments in post-conflict settings.
This gave a chance to participants to contribute information about their diverse situations and explore a way forward.
There were other issues such as: Reducing poverty, building climate resilience, empowering women.
I joined the group on empowering women: How can the local level be harnessed to promote gender equality? We extended our topic further… Have women gained greater ‘voice’ at the local level? Has their access to services and resources improved? Where are the bottlenecks?
I was really happy to be in this group. The women were vocal in sharing their experiences, and gained insights as to how, from their experience of the reality of life, they can contribute to initiate programs that can help to reduce poverty.
We recalled the story told by the local group of people on the first day… where they acted out their struggles and brought before us the reality of people at the grass root level.
All at the Conference recognised the potential comparative advantages of local governments in delivering basic social services, such as health, education, water and sanitation, promoting local economic development, responding to climate change and managing natural resources, ensuring gender equity, and contributing to state-building in post-crisis situations. It also recognised the direct and strong impact that local governments action in these areas could have on the achievement of the MDGs.
I was moved by the skit the people acted reminding us to remember that we were discussing about them, and yet they were not part of this conference. They challenged us that we had spent a lot of money for this conference, and pleaded that we include their reality and do justice to make a concrete difference in their lives.
I felt challenged to listen and to participate in this global forum, remembering I was carrying the voices of the marginalized people and marginalised Earth. I was happy I had visited some of the slums and village programmes in Uganda before the Conference. This had given me a sense of the places we were discussing. In Africa there are many natural resources and yet the people of the place are poor and marginalized. Many times it was voiced by the participants, that we are carrying the legacy of colonization, still operating out of those governance structures and finding it difficult to decentralize. This includes all the bureaucracy. I was also challenged by a voice from India… “India is progressing, not Indians.” I was encouraged to hear that some of the countries had made progress in decentralization, and have worked on gender equality and they can see the difference in sustainable development. Solutions may not be the same for every country, but political will is necessary to bring about change in the lives of the people.
I feel called to have a wholistic view and to be able to encourage the efforts made by the government. It is important to keep the connection between local and global level. I feel called to promote awareness among women and to work at literacy programs to empower women and the girl child. I must avail of every opportunity to enable people to live in dignity.
IPA needs to take concrete action. I affirm the concrete action IPA is taking. We need to accelerate the empowerment of women in partnership with other associations. We can contribute by raising awareness of MDGs 2015, and by focusing on some issues regarding the involvement of women in decision making, capacity building, and environment protection. It is important to localize the MDGs.
As Presentation Sisters around the globe, we can make a difference by addressing the root causes of poverty and strengthening the network working for structural change in issues related to women and children , human rights and the whole community of life.
I remembered you all and blessed you with the waters of the Nile at its source.
Lynette Rodriguez pbvm
At the first Global Forum on Local Development, convened by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and hosted by the Government of Uganda, over 600 delegates, including Heads of State, Government ministers, representatives of Local Governments and their associations, development partners, international organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector came together in Kampala on October 4-6th, 2010.
In the view of the conveners, Participants in the first Global Forum on Local Development:
REAFFIRMED their commitment to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by the year 2015;
RECOGNIZED that in many countries progress towards the achievement of the MDG has been limited and/or is threatened by the effects of the global economic crisis and the challenges of climate change, with the least developed and fragile states facing particular vulnerabilities;
NOTED that a strong is emerging in the international community on the critical role that governments could play in accelerating progress toward the MDGs;
RECOGNIZED the potential comparative advantages of local governments in delivering basic social services, such as health, education, water and sanitation, promoting local economic development, responding to climate change and managing natural resources, ensuring gender equity, and contributing to state-building in post-crisis situations, and the direct and strong impact that local governments action in these areas could have on the achievement of the MDGs;
ACKNOWLEDGED local governments are not the only actors in the local space, and that partnerships must be established with all other MDG stakeholders including, central and state/provincial-level government agencies, development partners, civil society and the private sector;
NOTED that local governments can play a strong orientation and coordination role vis a vis the multiple actors operating in the local space and that they are ideally placed to facilitate the establishment of strategic partnerships for local development;
ACKNOWLEDGED the ability of local governments to foster local development and contribute to the achievement of the MDGs may be seriously constrained by limited decentralization, inadequate central support and inappropriate oversight, lack of financial and other incentives, and related low levels of local capacity;
RECOGNIZED the critical importance of meaningful levels of local autonomy in policy-making and implementation, to enable local governments to develop innovative responses to the challenge of achieving the MDG, fighting poverty through locality-specific programs and projects to mobilize local community and private sector resources, and complement and leverage national and global resources and efforts.
AGREED that Local Governments have a major role in the design and management of local development strategies that contribute to the achievement of the MDGs.
AGREED that localizing the MDG will require:
- Continuing to implement the 2008 Accra Agenda for Action, and involving local governments in preparing, implementing and monitoring the national development policies to achieve the MDGs; and
- Further developing the legal and institutional framework, the local capacity, and the financial incentives for local governments to both efficiently implement national policies in the localities and develop their own local policies to achieve the MDGs, foster civic engagement and mobilize additional local resources; and
- Giving meaningful effect, at national, state and local level, to agreed international principles and standards on local democracy, good governance and decentralization, and monitoring their practical implementation.
CALLED on National Governments and their Development Partners, Private Sector and Civil Society organizations and Local Governments and their Associations to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs by supporting, as appropriate to country contexts, “Local Development through Local Government” (LDLG) approach, which relies on the design and management by Local Governments, of local development strategies to achieve sustainable development.
CALLED on National Political Leaders and National Governments to:
- Recognize the need for National level local development Policies to drive the decentralization reforms process, to make sure that the reforms are not limited to the establishment of sub-national political and administrative structures, but actually enable development-minded, democratic local government institutions.
- Provide local governments with meaningful levels of autonomy, including, as appropriate, constitutional and legal recognition, to enable them to exercise leadership, innovate in addressing a wide range of local development challenges, mobilize additional local resources, stimulate the emergence of active citizenship and ultimately become better partners of the State in the fight against poverty.
- Exercise the leadership required for a consistent implementation of decentralization reforms by all agencies of the central administration, overcoming bureaucratic resistances to the transfer of functions and resources and developing the central State capacity to support and supervise autonomous local governments and enhance their accountability to both their constituencies and the State.
- Establish the necessary structures for effective intergovernmental relations between central, state and local government, designed to ensure close cooperation and consensus on localizing the MDGs.
CALLED on Development Partners to:
- Ensure that external country assistance strategies and programs are cognizant and supportive of national efforts to promote local development and implement decentralization reforms, including by involving local governments in the design and implementation of the strategies.
- Ensure that aid modalities originally meant to align and harmonize external assistance with national sector policies do not reinforce centralizing tendencies and do not compromise the ability of local governments to participate actively and to bring their comparative advantages to bear on the design and implementation of such policies.
- Provide, wherever possible and appropriate, coordinated assistance to the development of national decentralization strategies and related implementation programs.
- Support the building of local governments capacity to develop and implement local development strategies that contribute to the achievement of the MDGs, increasingly through direct partnerships with local governments and their national, regional and global associations
CALLED on Private Sector and Civil Society Organization to:
- Work with both National and local governments to identify and make the most of unexploited potential and resources available locally, including human, financial and natural resources.
- Maintain an open and constructive dialogue with national and local government towards the establishment of a business-enabling local environment.
- Engage with local governments in the design of local development strategies and the definition of a common agenda, bringing their financial resources and human capacities to bear on the implementation of it.
- Promote partnership and develop community-based and private sector solutions for delivery of basic services impacting the achievement of the MDG, building partnerships with local governments for their effective implementation.
- Advocate for the empowerment of Local Governments and keep them to account, developing appropriate institutions for social auditing of local governments performance and encouraging transparency and inclusiveness.
CALLED on Local Government Associations to:
- Embrace and advocate the developmental role of Local Governments, focusing on what needs to be done to promote genuine, pro-poor local development, beyond the establishment of sub-national structures and systems.
- Advocate decentralization reforms that are driven by a national strategic commitment to local development, and provide the degree of local autonomy, which is critical for confident local governments to contribute to the achievement of the MDGs.
- Raise the awareness and develop the capacities of Local Governments to realize their potential for local development and achieving the MDGs, focusing on local leadership and the adoption of strategic management practices.
- Expand and deepen their interaction with development aid partners by systematically voicing Local Government’s concerns and requirements, in national-level aid programs formulation and negotiation processes and offering new and complementary channels for external aid to build Local Governments capacity for local policy-making and development administration.
- Work at the regional and international levels to disseminate and encourage good practices in local government and facilitate international local government partnerships and city-to-city links.
The Conveners of the Global Forum and Forum participants AGREED that a ‘local approach’ may not be the solution to economic, social and environmental challenges but can certainly be part of the solution. Forum participants agreed that a future is possible where rural areas will thrive, cities act as hubs for development and the benefits of growth are shared across and within countries.
The Conveners of the Global Forum, UNCDF and UNDP, will pursue the actions called for above through supporting the efforts of National Governments, Development Partners, the Private Sector, Civil Society organizations and Local Governments and their Associations, to further empower local governments and make sure they can fully realize their potential as key agents of change and development.