MINCODE Chairperson, Ms. Andrea Maria Patricia M. Sarenas, voiced out civil society organizations’ call for inclusive people’s participation at all levels and in the whole process of the post-2015 agenda, from its inception to its full implementation and evaluation during the Interactive Hearings with Representatives of NGOs, CSOs, Major Groups and the Private Sector on the Post 2015 Development Agenda. The Interactive Hearings were held on May 26-27, 2015 in the United Nations, New York.
For Roundtable Discussion 4: Follow up and Review
Andrea Maria Patricia M. Sarenas, Chairperson,
Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), Philippines
After the post-2015 development agenda is finalized and adopted by the global community in September, the challenge of implementation would start. Ensuring the attainment of the post-2015 agenda requires effective mechanisms for monitoring, follow up and review – a holistic and robust accountability mechanism, which would include monitoring, evaluating and reporting on progress – or lack of progress, sharing of lessons and knowledge, and adoption and implementation of programs and approaches proven to be effective.
We, in CODE-NGO and other civil society organizations in the Philippines, join our colleagues in the International Forum of NGO Platforms (IFP), CIVICUS, Asia Development Alliance (ADA), Affinity Group of National Associations (AGNA) and Beyond 2015 and everyone here present in emphasizing the essential role of inclusive people’s participation at all levels and in the whole process of the post-2015 agenda, from its inception to its full implementation and evaluation.
The follow up and review of the agenda must recognize the key role of citizens, especially the poor and the marginalized, specially peoples struggling for their right to self-determination to be respected, and of their organizations and other civil society organizations (CSOs). CSOs enable the varied voices in society to be heard. Many CSOs undertake much needed independent monitoring of government programs, projects, activities and budgets.
Member States should ensure an enabling environment, including enacting laws, regulations, programs and practice, for citizens and their organizations to carry out their role as capable and independent development actors to ensure broad-based people’s participation in the monitoring, follow up and review mechanisms. That way, the principles of equality, social justice and peace, human development, good/accountable/transparent and responsive governance, people empowerment and gender equity are vigorously promoted.
Building Awareness and Understanding
The multi-level processes undertaken for the post-2015 development agenda which have made for a more open, inclusive and constructive engagement of CSOs and peoples’ organizations around the world should be sustained and improved. An enabling environment must be secured so that they can play their crucial role in raising awareness and understanding of the post-2015 agenda.
Member states and the UN need to support inclusive local and national and fora and dialogues on the post-2015 agenda to promote widespread and extensive awareness and understanding – particularly regarding the member states’ and business sector’s accountability for ensuring equity, human rights, gender equality, sustainable production and consumption, peace and environmental sustainability.
There is need to ensure accessibility of accurate, updated, comprehensive, disaggregated, open and user-friendly data on the post-2015 agenda that are easily understood by citizens –data from reliable national and local government sources, and also from citizens, CSOs and the academic community.
Ensuring Implementation and Accountability
The post-2015 agenda must be translated, through an open and inclusive process, into national and local sustainable development plans, programs and projects.
Accountability for inclusive, rights-based and timely implementation of the agenda requires transparent and participatory mechanisms and institutions at all levels – national, regional and global; but accountability must primarily be at the national level, founded on effective accountability at the local level. Without a solid foundation at the local level, the implementation of the agenda would crumble.
Review and follow-up mechanisms, led by review bodies must be broadly representative, cross ministerial, and convened by the highest level government officials so that they are taken seriously by all stakeholders.
The inclusiveness, transparency and effectiveness of review mechanisms need to be strengthened with more meaningful indicators beyond just GDP and GNI growth indicators – to reflect current global challenges – indicators for reducing inequality in its various forms, for respect and promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms, for enhanced people empowerment and good governance, for environmental soundness, and for peace building and human development, and greater resiliency, among others.
As we track global and national funding commitments post-2015, which we hope will provide support for programs for the empowerment of the poor and the disadvantaged, cost-effectiveness of the funding and related programs should be monitored to ensure that these promote sustainability and self-reliance rather than dependency of communities.
In many countries including the Philippines, so-called participatory mechanisms have often meant only token involvement, leading to frustration and cynicism among CSOs. In CODE-NGO’s experience, CSO participation in governance was invigorated recently when the Philippine government introduced Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) in all of its 1,600 local governments. Under this participatory budgeting process, decisions on priority projects to be funded are made by bodies composed of 50% government and 50% CSO representatives, making CSO participation become more meaningful and substantial. This program earned one of the gold awards in last year’s Open Governance Partnership awards. This program needs to be replicated in the local and national review mechanisms for the post 2015 agenda.
Governments must also recognize that many CSOs, especially organizations of the poor and marginalized, would need to be strengthened through capacity building and financial support from government and other sectors so that they can effectively participate in the implementation, review and follow-up of the agenda. This support must be delivered without compromising the CSOs’ independence. Support for CSOs by governments and UN agencies also means working with legitimate CSOs and promoting self-regulation and accountability mechanisms within the sector.
The formation and strengthening of local, sub-national and national networks of CSOs for mutual support, common advocacy actions and knowledge sharing also needs to be supported.
At the regional level, there should be transparent and participatory mechanisms for peer review of the performance of countries. Regional and global coalitions/networks of CSOs play a vital role in holding governments and other actors accountable for the accomplishment of the agenda.
The access to and use of modern information-communication technology, primarily the internet, computers and mobile phones must be maximized to facilitate transparency, accountability and participation.
The High Level Political Forum
We see the value of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), and we believe that it should be supported, so it can lead and ensure an annual participatory review of the Global Partnership.
It should regularly receive and publicly discuss country reports and regional reviews. It also needs to focus on global systems and issues affecting the implementation of the agenda, including global finance, trade, technology and governance. Its Stakeholder processes should be supported.
We, the CSOs in the Philippines, together with our colleagues in regional and global coalitions, commit to actively support the Post-2015 development agenda processes as we affirm our commitment to do something about the many issues that continue to confront us today at all levels – local to the global – pernicious and dehumanizing poverty, rampant corruption, weak and irresponsive and irresponsible governance, degraded environment, violence of all forms, conflicts that divide peoples and result in senseless loss of lives and property. We commit to be actively involved in the implementation and follow-up and review of the Post-2015 development agenda.
The URL of the webcast of RTD 4 may be accessed from this link: