This IDPS panel session was held on 13 June 2018 at the the GIZ sponsored FriEnt Peacebuilding Forum 2018. It brought together members of the IDPS with CIC/NYU Pathfinders multi-stakeholder partnership to implement the SDG16+, to provide their perspectives on the role of inclusive dialogue processes between donors, governments and civil society, in supporting peacebuilding and statebuilding and the Agenda 2030 in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone’s government representative re-affirmed the continued relevance of the New Deal principles for Sierra Leone, although it requires some simplification. Sierra Leone is a founding member of the g7+ and is currently chair of the g7+ and co-Chair of the IDPS. Sierra Leone is also a New Deal pilot country and as such, has experience of New Deal implementation. For instance, in 2012 findings of the Fragility Assessment (FA) were used to inform planning of the national development plan (2013-18). In 2016, the updated FA was particularly useful in the elaboration of the Government’s response plan to the Ebola outbreak. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) of Ministry of Health, are testament to the incorporation of the New Deal (effectiveness) principles beyond Finance and Planning. Some challenges were also noted – even if many of the basic principles are understood, e.g. ‘mutual accountability’ – sometimes the overly technical language is a problem (FOCUS, TRUST, PSGs) for wider uptake.
New opportunities for applying the New Deal emerged with the new government in place since March, as strong commitments were made to many of the issues that are close to the International Dialogue: inclusive governance, social justice, strengthening democracy, tackling corruption and fighting against violence against children and women, amongst other issues. Plans are underway for a new national development plan and the national budget – both of which are to be ready in November 2018.
Supporting coherence and coordination between actors and initiatives in order to avoid duplicating efforts and overwhelming the government is key. DEPAC (Sierra Leone’s mechanism for dialogue between donors, civil society and government) which meets on a quarterly basis, needs to be re-energized.
We should be careful not to get bogged down in processes that focus on targets, indicators and mechanisms and lose sight of what brings us together. The SDGs are just a vehicle to address broader questions such as eradicating all forms of violence, building democratic institutions etc. The country dialogue process should focus on helping the government to deliver on its priorities and commitments, including delivering the SDGs and playing a leadership role as a Pathfinder for Goal 16+. The New Deal principles could help, but it is important to ensure that the form follows function and not the other way round.
Yet, processes are important. How we get to where we want to, in a way that builds cohesion and inclusion is not always straightforward. Participants identified several potential challenges including the profusion of initiatives around building peaceful, just and inclusive societies and competition between these initiatives.
Some interest was expressed in mapping and an assessment of all these initiatives with a view to aligning them before presenting an offer to the government. Whilst scoping is important, others insisted on prioritising concrete actions and results, rather than overwhelming the new government.
The country dialogue process could provide a forum for fostering coherence between these initiatives, identifying synergies and creating partnerships within the country based on comparative advantage; improving and strengthening coordination between donors; and strengthening the existing institutions. The FA in particular was identified as a useful country-led assessment that could be used to convene all those wishing to invest in joint risk assessments. It was suggested strongly that the IDPS convenes a country dialogue around sharing and further developing this assessment.
The language around ‘fragility’ is sensitive in New York and inside Sierra Leone, and as such may need to be reviewed. Building peaceful just and inclusive societies, which are resilient, could work better as a message.
The lack of national cohesion became most apparent during and after the elections. Yet, someone suggested that Sierra Leone’s political tensions are deeply rooted in its history and state formation itself. Some highlighted the potential contradiction between ending impunity and the need for building cohesion. Civil society participants insisted on the importance of accountability without a political witch-hunt. Social cohesion with accountability, security and land rights (particularly in context of mining and extractives) were suggested as possible focus of future country dialogues.
Civil society representatives raised concerns about increasingly restrictive NGO policy – in light of government concerns to have more visibility over service delivery, requiring NGOs to register to ensure equitable regional distribution.
Read the full summary report here.
A forum entitled “The Role of Young People in Promoting Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Socities” took place on July 19, 2017 as a side-event to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum in New York City. The goal of the event was for participants to exchange information and experiences surrounding the role of youth in conflict-affected and fragile countries, and more specifically with regard to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2250, which calls for greater inclusion of youth in local, national and international decision-making and peace and statebuilding efforts. Resolution 2250 was created in recognition of the threat to stability and sustainable development caused by the radicalisation of youth. The theory behind the Resolution is that greater youth inclusion in all decision-making arenas will decrease radicalisation and violence, as it will provide young people a say in both their own futures and the future of their country.
Today, 1.5 billion of the world’s poorest live in countries grappling with conflict or fragility. By 2030, without coordinated international action to tackle the root causes, two thirds of the world’s poor will be living in countries and regions plagued by endemic violence, and fragility. This will undermine any prospect of achieving the UN’s ambitious goal of eradicating extreme poverty in Agenda 2030, which the world signed up to last September. And, crucially, it could further precipitate the global humanitarian and refugee crises and heightened threats of terrorism with increasing repercussions on a global scale.
Recognising the urgency of this challenge, members and supporters of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, from over 40 countries, gathered in Stockholm on 5 April to commit to speeding up and scaling up their efforts to prevent conflict by tackling its root causes.
The Effective Institutions Platform (EIP) and the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (IDPS) joined different branches of the federal government of Somalia and development partners for the Somalia High Level Partnership Forum held in Istanbul from 23th to 25th February 2016.