On 12 July 2012, Mwangi Waituru, representing the Beyond 2015 campaign, together with other civil society leaders from the African continent, met with Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. The delegation set out to bring the voice of African Civil Society to President Johnson Sirleaf as one of the three newly appointed co-chairs of the UN High Level Panel (HLP) of Eminent Persons to advise on the post-2015 UN development framework.
President Johnson Sirleaf had said previously that the new global agenda will draw from the voices of the people. Speaking in her office in Monrovia to the group of African CSO Leaders, the President mentioned that she would pursue a participatory and inclusive leadership in the process. She said “at my meeting with fellow leaders in Addis, I will let them know that the successor agenda to the MDGs cannot be hatched from the ivory tower. It has to come from engaging the people from the grassroots. I really believe in this”.
At the meeting Mwangi Waituru presented President Johnson Sirleaf with a welcome letter from the Beyond 2015 campaign which included the campaigns recommendations on Terms of Reference for the High Level Panel.
Mwangi said about the meeting “President Johnson Sirleaf in her position as Co-chair of the High Level Panel on the post-2015 development framework is a vital champion for people living in poverty, in Africa and in the rest of the world. I believe she will help us to ensure that the priorities of marginalized and vulnerable people will matter when it comes to building the post-2015 agenda.
The Beyond 2015 campaign has a vital role to play as convening space and civil society interface with governments and the UN. We are building our regional network on the African continent to ensure a strong African civil society voice that cannot be ignored by the world’s leaders”.
In conversation with the civil society delegation, President Johnson Sirleaf welcomed the initiatives taken by African CSO coalitions such as Beyond 2015 to launch consultations and dialogues ahead of the formal UN process. These post-2015 consultations must also be an opportunity to bring urgency to the achievement of the MDGs in the remaining time. “The remaining three years are ample time enough to make significant progress”, she said.
The President also welcomed the plans, announced by the delegation, to organize a pan-African CSOs conference on the post-2015 development agenda and proposed that the timing be moved from September to October when she would have met with the other co-chairs and will be better prepared to engage meaningfully.
President Johnson Sirleaf accepted the idea of a need to have her-own local secretariat working with the UN global secretariat and she will be taking steps to ensure the necessary capacity. She welcomed the offer by the CSO delegation to establish a secretariat to channel CSO voices and inputs and was looking forward to getting engaged.
During the meeting, the CSO delegation also learnt that the Global UN secretariat for the HLP will not be fully set up and the co-chairs will not formally meet before September 2012.
“The Co-chair is clearly well informed of the responsibility bestowed on her as Co-Chair and is aware of the need for working fast in view of the constraints imposed by the short timeframe for delivering the report, which should be on time for the 2013 UNGA in spite of the slow start in putting the supporting structures and resources in place”, said Salina Sanou of ACORD.