In September 2010, world leaders gathered in New York to reaffirm their commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and evaluate progress. With the 2015 target date only a couple of years away the campaign results are spread unevenly across the continents, with least achievement in Africa. Certain goals are still achievable, but good governance is required to achieve the set objectives. Unfortunately, there is a striking lack of systematic engagement of elected representatives of the affected populations in the process of policy formulation and implementation. African parliamentarians face the daunting task of providing oversight of legislation, policies and development funds towards the MDGs without access to research on policy impacts, information on budgets allocations and foreign aid flows. Through the MDG Programme, AWEPA aims at capacitating parliamentarians, thereby strengthening evidence-based policy dialogues and parliamentary democracy as a means towards Africa’s achievement of the MDGs over 2011-2015. In 2012, discussions to shape the post-2015 development agenda gained momentum, but only an inclusive consultative process will ensure that all actors, including parliaments, are involved in its implementation, monitoring and, eventually, its success.
The overall objective of the MDG Programme is to contribute to the realisation of democracy, poverty reduction and sustainable development in Africa through supporting the capacity development of regional African Parliaments (PAP, CEMAC Parliament, EALA, ECOWAS Parliament, SADC-PF), and through promoting a better understanding among European parliamentarians of the challenges for achieving the MDGs in Africa. Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is contingent
upon supporting locally-owned solutions for poverty eradication, enhancing transparency and accountability of governance frameworks, reinforcing regional integration and peer-learning mechanisms. It also entails that policy makers at the national, regional and international levels to acknowledge the crucial role of Members of Parliament in attaining most of the MDGs targets and sub-targets, as well as the role of policy coherence in Europe.
- Discussions and recommendations made within regional parliaments are taken increasingly into account in the international MDG-related policy debate;
- a number of activity recommendations and communiqués were tabled for plenary discussions and adopted by regional parliamentary bodies, including on the sustainable development of the Lake Chad basin, on making agricultural investment work in West Africa and on Youth Employment in the East African Community (EAC) region;
- regional parliaments were invited to consultation meetings to shape the post-2015 development agenda;
- increased engagement from parliamentarians of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP);
- strengthened North-South dialogue through the exchange of lessons learned on the fair management of natural resources.