African CSOs and the implementation of SDGs

Stephen chachaStephen Chacha is an independent development consultant, founder of Africa Philanthropic Foundation (member of Together 2030), a secretariat member of the Africa CSOs Working Group, and a Regional Focal Point for UNEP’s 10 Years Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production.;  Twitter: @Stephenchacha

This is the fourth and last post of a series from Stephen Chacha on the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Africa 

The breadth and size of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents a number of opportunities for civil society organizations and other non-state actors around the world and in particular in Africa.

From the experience of implementing the 8 Millennium Development Goals, with 21 targets and 60 indicators, it is very clear to most African countries that they need support from Civil Society Organizations and other non-state actors in their respective countries in order to effectively implement and realize the 17 goals and 169 targets under the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Goal 17 “Strengthening the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” recognizes multi-stakeholder partnerships as important vehicles for mobilizing and sharing knowledge, expertise, technologies, and financial resources to support the achievement of sustainable development goals in all countries, particularly developing countries.

Multi-stakeholder partnerships are expected to play an increasingly important role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes the reviews on the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is encouraged by the HLPF to include CSOs and other non-state actors.

African CSOs have a role to play to ensure that they are active members of the multi-stakeholder partnerships and provide meaningful and invaluable inputs towards the implementation and the realization of the SDGs. CSOs also have a role to play in ensuring that the knowledge and expertise possessed by multi-stakeholder partnerships are shared as widely as possible in order for it to reach beyond immediate constituencies and communities and to have an impact on a global scale.

National CSOs-Government engagement mechanisms have proved to be successful in a number of African countries (Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Liberia and Cameroon) to facilitate CSOs engagement with their respective national governments. One thing that almost all government representatives throughout the region have been complaining about is presence of unorganized and uncoordinated CSOs at national level and regional level in Africa.

National CSOs-Government engagement mechanisms are considered to be the solution for harmonizing and coordinating national CSOs views and positions for sharing with the government and provision of platforms for engagement with their governments. Strong national CSOs platforms are crucial for healthy partnerships with the governments, and effective CSOs contribution.

At regional level, the Africa CSOs Working Group has stepped in to fill in the vacuum from the lack of regional CSOs platform to harmonize and amplify African CSOs voices in national, regional and global platforms on sustainable development issues. The Africa CSOs working group seeks to contribute in defining the African narrative from CSOs point of view; claim the African CSOs space and represent African CSOs and their constituencies at national, regional and global platforms; and facilitate sharing of knowledge, innovations, best practices, and experiences in relation to domestication, implementation and follow-up and review of African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Initiatives led by the Africa CSOs Working Group include the mapping of national development plans, regional economic communities plans, Agenda 2063 and 2030 in order to come up with a model for effective implementation and follow-up and reviews of these development frameworks in Africa, and institutionalization of African CSOs and other stakeholders in regional structures through the African Union Commission (AUC), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The Africa CSOs Working Group membership is open to all African CSOs. I encourage all African CSOs working on SDGs implementation to join the working group by contacting the group’s coordinator Masiiwa Rusare,

At global level, Together 2030 is an initiative that brings together partners around national implementation and tracking progress of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It aims to generate knowledge and project voices from different civil society and stakeholders around the world on the challenges and opportunities for the Agenda 2030, bringing these into the discussions on the way to formulate and implement roadmaps at national level and holding governments to account at all levels.

With a strong focus on national implementation, knowledge and experience sharing, and global representation in its core group (including 2 organizations from Africa) makes Together 2030 an ideal global initiative for CSOs and other stakeholders from around the world.

Together 2030 membership is open to all civil society and non-profit organizations. I encourage African CSOs to join the campaign and its working groups by visiting the initiative’s website or by contacting the secretariat through

Given space on the table is one thing, and knowing what to do with the space is another thing. Before engaging with the governments on domestication, implementation and follow-up and review it is crucial for African CSOs and other non-stakeholders to assess their areas of strength and capitalize on them in order to demonstrate their value added and for it to clearly be seen and appreciated by their respective governments. The fact that most African governments consider CSOs to be more useful and effective in mobilization and in raising awareness, provides an excellent entry point for partnerships with governments.

Moreover, both Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 call for innovation in solutions for both implementation and follow-up and review. Therefore, solutions that focus on data capturing and processing, and capitalizing on areas of convergence between Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030 and recommendations on how best to integrate the areas of divergence in order to maintain the equilibrium and balance of the three pillars of sustainability as laid out in 2030 Agenda, while at the same time upholding the vision and aspirations of Agenda 2063 are bound to gain more traction with African governments.


One thought on “African CSOs and the implementation of SDGs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s