On the 30th August 2019 the British Council held a debate on the implementation of the SDGs in Tanzania. We attended the debate to get an update on the national strategies and because of our work on the Tanzanian Civil Society Report on the Sustainable Development Goals, which was the basis of this assembly.
The room was entirely filled up when Stephen Chacha, representative of the Tanzanian Development Platform, inaugurated the debate with a presentation on the development of the global goals towards sustainability and the situation of Tanzania toward the SDGs. After that he continued with the explanation of the High-Level Policy Forum (HLPF), which is based on the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR). Those continued to be the main focus of the presentation as Tanzania was a first time presenter at the HLPF this year, on the 9th to 18th July in New York, and the VNRs are of great importance for the SDG summit, which is held every 4 years. The Tanzanian Civil Society Report on Sustainable Development Goals is therefore significant for the representation of Tanzania in the SDG summit.
The report pointed out that Africa´s status is moving steadily, but very slow and measurements have to be taken to prevent the failure in achieving any of the SDGs. Solutions proposed by Stephen Chacha were the greater inclusion of the private sector, enlargement of partnerships between African countries, and a reinforced focus on quality education. His main concern is the single focus on economy, while Tanzania is in the top 4 of the 10 countries of Afrika with the greatest inequality and there is a urgent requirement of investment in climate change.
Alongside the presentation Ruth Minja, from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), updated the audience on the progress and the development of the report. They identified gaps, which they are now working on. They are planning on establishing funds for environmental issues and the training for scientists to ensure quality data is collected, information segregation prevented and the infrastructure for data research strengthened.
Next up Francis Shirima, representing the Ministry of Finance and Planning (MOFP), affirmed that the agendas will be implemented into the national plans and the annual development plans, in order to align the SDGs with the plans for government and private sector.
Vodacom embodied the private sector in this debate. They presented their plan on how to implement the SDGs into the national plan. Their work is based on three pillars: education, climate action and zero hunger. They mobilised resources to start a promotion of inclusion based on gender and digitalisation as well as climate action. They were the only private company from Tanzania that participated in the HLFP in New York, they called for more representation. Their future plans include programs with the WWF and the addition of other bilateral connections.
Following the presentations, there was time for discussion within the seating groups, which resulted in questions, that were then answered by the previous speakers. The topics of the questions mostly revolved around involving the grassroot, what
strategies are already evolved and which measurements will be taken to raise awareness.
Most of the questions were answered afterwards. The act of involving the grassroot is a task for the audience as they are the ones who work with those. The Ministry of Finance answered the questions towards strategies. He made clear that infrastructure, Renewable Energy, quality and basic education are the current priorities. They plan to involve stakeholders more in the process and want to ensure, by data sharing, that everyone can contribute. This also effects the raising of awareness as the public is integrated. Vodacom works on including and sensitising the youth through social media. Tanzania sustainable development platform operates in order to collect data and link organisations. 500 organisations are currently contributing, Climate Action Network Tanzania (CANTZ) is part of this. CANTZ championed goals 5 (achieve gender equality and empower all woman and girls), 7 (ensure access to affordable,reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all), 13 (climate action) and 15 (life on land), but the focus was on goal seven and thirteen.
All in all the policy forum was very informative and strengthened the collaboration between the CSOs, the government and the private sector toward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.