United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Africa Platform

Co-Chairs, member states, fellow citizens,
Allow me to share my hopes, aspirations and may be a little disappointment, not qaws civil society, but a citizen of the continent we dearly love, a citizen of the world we dearly seek to preserve and of a national of Kenya and East Africa.
All of us that are called ordinary citizens many not be here. But our extraordinary hearts, desires and voices are no lesser. We believe in the United Nations-iots ideals, its aspirations and sometime its ambition. We always have. The question today is, does the United Nations believe in us?
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There are three worrying trends that make me ask this soul searching question, fellow citizens.
Do we believe in participation, inclusiveness and the cardinal rule that the people, not politicians, are the reason we are here? We agreed that if development is about freedom, then that freedom begins with allowing our citizens to be on the front seat of development. It’s a demand of the social contract that we have with them. We began with a truly open Open Working Group, a truly open MDG Summit, a truly open PGA’s dialogue sessions. Now, fellow citizens, we are being told here in New York that we should leave the final stage of indicator development to the technical team speaking for and on behalf of only political leaders.. that we should now pack our bags, fold our hands and wait for them to deliver for us the Indicators and a Framework for Implementation.
This is not right, fellow citizens.
The Indicator process, more than any other process, is the defining moment of our ambition. We agreed to be inclusive and participative. We are the ones who will feel the impact and the challenges that come with failed indicators, missed targets, off track goals, misplaced resources. We ask that the member states reconsider their decision to lock us out of this critical stage. This is the 11th hour. We have worked together for this long. Why lock us out now by telling us that this intergovernmental process. We too are part of that government.
Secondly, do we really believe that we can peace, well-being, good governance and all the issues that are at the heart of citizenship and the United Nations should be treated as secondary simply because we cannot measure them? That we should lower our ambition to conform to some scientific standards?vThis far, our member states have been ambitious, exceptionally ambitious. For the first time you have shown the world that you can change the world, shape the world, bring us the freedom that comes with development. But now the team working on Indicators is telling us that we should lower our ambitions because some targets do not meet scientific and technical standards. That can allow for strong indicators.
We beg to disagree. We have been transformative with our Goals and targets. We cannot now turn and be traditional with our indicators. We call on the statistical commission not to take us down a path we have left simply because of a technicality. Yes, the goals and targets may be many. But fellow citizens, development is political. Science is only a way to evaluate it, not to inform it. We need to be more innovative, throw away the box, be more daring in utilising technology to measure targets that are seen as un-measurable. Because human rights, peaceful societies, good governance and democratic ideals are too dear to us to reduce to technical measurement. They are about lives, about dignity, about our collective desire to be free and move our nations forward. We cannot begin to reject them because we cannot use science to measure them. Yet, fellow citizens, there are several sets of bottom up indicators being used by communities as far away as South Sudan, Cambodia, Argentina, Kenya. What we need is to ask the statistical commission to be more creative, more open minded and more focused on the lives we want to change rather than the science through which we would like
to measure those changes. More importantly we ask them to consult us and the communities we represent. As a citizen of Africa I am aware of the burden of data collection and analysis. Nowhere is this more acute than in conflict affected countries. Yet, we need to look for ways to support our citizens to be the engines of data gathering rather than think that we should rely only on our governments. The burden and science of data should not come in the way of ownership and the changing lives that we are working towards.
Finally, fellow citizens, allow me to address the issue of coherence and synergy. First we must ensure that the indicators developed are support the ability of citizens to hold their governmentgs to account, and achieve coherence throughout other processes such as the FFD. We have learnt our lessons from the MDGs that putting great goals and targets, but with no clarity on the means for their implementation is the surest path to failure. As citizens, our concern is not on how ambitious we are, but on how committed we are to realizing those ambitions. That is why we are concerned that the Statistical Commission is appearing to downplay goals critical to Africa and to our citizens. Some of indicators, such as those under Goals 8, 9, 16 and 17, have in fact weakened the targets. Fellow citizens, if we must go back to strengthening our targets, let us do so. If we must build capacity of our governments and citizens, let us do so. But let us not carry out an exercise that will weaken what we have worked on for so long.
To you who is listening to my voice. Hear me! Remember the tears, the pain, the hopes, the lives….of our mothers, our fathers, our brothers, our sisters. They are the reason we are here. If we cherry pick goals and targets simply because they advance our personal political ambitions, if we begin to prioritize for our citizens based on horse trading when these citizens have placed so much faith in us, they, not those of us here in New York, will suffer the pain and bear the consequences.
2030 is not far away, fellow citizens.
When we all finally face our sunset, as we will surely do, when we are seated under a tree in our old age in 2030, let us not regret that we let down our children, grandchildren…when in 2015 we have the will and the means to do otherwise. We have the chance now to correct those regrets and leave a legacy of hope and global citizenship. Do not let your children look at you and regret why you were allowed to come to the United Nations in 2015! And as citizens we are ready to support you all the way
Be ambitious, be innovative, be transformative and most importantly, be human. We have done it before. We can do it at this 11th hour.
Thank you