Here follows an update on the activities of the Southern Voice initiative members for the month of May, 2013, courtesy of Dhaka-based Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD):
- Engagements in Norway. Chair of the Southern Voice and Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya gave a public lecture highlighting the “Southern Concerns Relating to Post-MDG Framework and Targets” at Christian Michelsen Institute (CMI), on 13 May 2013. He also addressed a roundtable organised by NORAD and Norwegian Foreign Ministry in Oslo on 15 May 2013 focusing on “Challenges of Partnership in Delivering Post-MDG International Development Goals”.
- Policy Dialogues in Washington D.C. Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya spoke at a number of policy dialogues in Washington D.C. in the month of May 2013. These included participation in roundtables with US governments policymakers at the US State Department which was chaired by Ms. Daniella Ballou-Aares, Advisor to the Secretary of States, and at the USAID which was chaired by Mr. Steven Feldstein, Director, Office of Policy, Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning. Dr Deb also made a presentation at Brookings Center for Universal Education elaborating on how the Southern Voice approaches the issue of education in post-2015 debate. The session was chaired by Dr Xanthe Ackerman, Associate Director Brookings Center for Universal Education. He also made a presentation at the plenary meeting of the International Food and Agricultural Trade, Policy Council (IPC) on “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security: Where do these Issues Stand in Post-2015 Development Debates?”
- Linking IPoA to Post-MDG. On behalf of the Southern Voice, Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director, CPD made a presentation on the theme “Southern Voice Initiative on Post-MDG Development Framework: Perspectives from the LDCs” at the High-level Dialogue on “Linking Istanbul Plan of Action (IPoA) with Post-2015 Development Framework” held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 8 May, 2013. The event was organised by the South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE). Professor Rahman’s presentation focused on the post-MDG framework, unfinished MDG agendas and priorities and partnerships in the context of the post-MDGs from the perspective of the LDCs. The dialogue was attended by Mr Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Hon’ble Minister for Home and Foreign Affairs, Government of Nepal as Chief Guest and HE Ambassador Gyan Chandra Acharya, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for UN-OHRLLS, United Nations, New York as Guest of Honour.
- National Consultation in Bangladesh. The People’s Forum on MDGs (PFM), Bangladesh organised a discussion meeting on 18 May, 2013 on the “Synthesis Paper on MDG Post-2015”. In the meeting Dr Manzoor Ahmed, Senior Advisor, BRAC University – Institute of Education and Development (BU-IED) and Vice Chair, Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) made the keynote presentation. Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, National Convenor of Rio+20 Drafting Committee, chaired the meeting. The nine organisations contributing to the synthesis report intervened and feedbacks from the participants were received for finalisation of the report.
- Preparation for National Consultatio, in Rwanda. John Rwirahira, Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR), Rwanda took part in a quick study, conclusions of which were included in the national consultation report on post-MDG. Consultations in Rwanda were held in April 2013 that mainly targeted vulnerable and marginalised groups such as people living with disabilities, sex workers, traditionally marginalised people, orphans, street children and extremely poor communities. The purpose was to give them the opportunity to express what they think should be prioritised in the coming world development agenda. A summary report on the consultation was submitted to the UNDP in May 2013 for perusal.
- Discussion on SDSN Report. Southern Voice hosted a webinar titled “Southern Voice engages with SDSN on its draft post-2015 report. The webinar took place on Thursday 30 May 2013 at 1 pm GMT (7 pm BST) to discuss the draft report “An Action Agenda for Sustainable Development”, prepared by the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN). The UN Secretary-General announced the launch of the SDSN in August 2012, and it is one of the key organisations whose inputs are helping to shape the post-2015 development agenda. Professor Jeffrey Sachs is the Director of the Council. At the webinar Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director, SDSN made the opening remarks and responded to questions and comments from the 15 participants from across four continents. Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya moderated the webinar. The major issues discussed in the webinar were; Issues of youth unemployment and, decoupling of growth and pollution, Challenges of technology and, intellectual property rights, Commitment to SDGs, Importance of Statistical Data and Developing countries’ challenges with governance and, pricing of environmental goods among other issues.