• Call for Progress on Climate Change and Poverty

    Nobel laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, says almost one billion more people will face a life of extreme poverty unless world leaders make progress on poverty and climate change at two crucial summits this year.

    Tutu is backing ‘action/2015’, a campaign which was launched by 1 000 groups - representing interests ranging from human rights and the environment to development and health - to put pressure on governments ahead of a United Nations summit in September 2014.

    The New York summit is expected to see world leaders agree on a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years to replace and build on the 15-year-old Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire this year.

    To read the article titled, “Malala, Tutu back global anti-poverty push,” click here.

    Times Live
  • Zuma: Africa Lags Behind in Implementing MDGs

    President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, tells the United Nations (UN) general assembly in New York that Africa continues to lag behind in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

    In a speech, Zuma states that this was despite the continent’s move to adopt the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD).

    He acknowledged that South Africa had made significant progress in achieving the MDGs by reducing half the number of people earning less than a dollar and halving those experiencing hunger.

    To read the article titled, “Africa continues to lag behind in implementing MDGs – Zuma,” click here.

    The Citizen
  • UN Laments Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa

    The United Nations (UN) says that Sub-Saharan Africa is the only developing region that saw the number of people living in extreme poverty rise steadily over the last two decades.

    In its findings of the latest Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report launched by secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, the UN argues that while progress has been made globally on a number of targets, including across Africa - population growth, conflicts and declines in aid to poor countries has made reaching many MDG targets unlikely by next year's deadline.

    The report notes that that remarkable gains have been made in the fight against malaria and tuberculosis, with a decline of 42 percent in malaria mortality rates globally, among others.

    To read the article titled, “UN laments extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa,” click here.

    SABC News
  • MDGs Could Fall Flat - Reinl

    Ambitious United Nations (UN) targets for addressing poverty, climate change, inequality, joblessness, weak governance, discrimination, shabby schools and crumbling hospitals, are being drafted and are expected to be called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) when they are signed by world leaders in New York in September 2015.

    According to James Reinl, a multimedia journalist who has reported from 30 countries and won awards for covering Haiti’s earthquake, Sri Lanka’s civil war and human rights abuses in Iran, the SDGs will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the poverty-reduction targets that reach their deadline next year after 15 years in place.

    Reinl states that like all examples of UN idealism, the initiative looks good on paper but the problem is not that the new goals are too ambitious but that the world cannot handle watching another round of important multilateral negotiations do a belly flop.

    To read the article titled, “UN’s ambitious new development goals could fall flat,” click here.

  • SA to Meet MDGs on Sustainable Sanitation

    Human Settlements Minister, Connie September, is confident that South Africa will meet the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on sustainable sanitation.

    Speaking at the launch of the Bucket Toilet Eradication Programme in Grahamstown, September said though there are areas that are still using the bucket system, her department will be able to meet the MDGs’ 2015 target.

    Meanwhile, Eastern Cape's Human Settlements MEC, Helens Sauls August, says the province has strengthened its systems to avoid what she calls a second generation of sanitation backlog.

    To read the article titled, “SA will meet MDGs on sustainable sanitation: Minister,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Harare Public Toilets Unusable

    Harare's public toilets are in such an appalling state that very few are still usable, with most of them being perpetually blocked.

    Local authorities have been blamed for failing to maintain the few toilets whose scarcity already impacts negatively on women.

    Zimbabwe has however pledged to reduce by 50 percent the proportion of people without sustainable access to basic sanitation by 2015, as defined by the Millennium Development Goals.

    To read the article titled, “Harare toilets - Every woman's nightmare,” click here.

    All Africa
  • Prioritise Jobs and Education Over Crime: ‘You Choose’ Report

    ONE’s You Choose survey, conducted from January to June 2013, connected 100 000 South African Voices with United Nations Panel to influences the Post-2015 Development Agenda

    South African citizens want the government to prioritise development programmes that will create more jobs, quality education, ahead of the protection against crime and providing support for people who do not work.
    This is according to a new report published by the ONE Campaign on 30 October 2013. The report outlines the findings of ONE’s You Choose, a technology-focused campaign that asked African citizens to tell the United Nations (UN) and their governments their top priorities post-2015 to overcome poverty.
    The campaign was supported by celebrities including Winiko and Dan Lu from Malawi, HHP, Hugh Masekela and Lira from South Africa, Slap Dee and Chris Katongo from Zambia as well as D’banj from Nigeria, all who played a leading role in mobilising citizens’ participation.
    A total of 196 337 citizens participated in ‘You Choose’, from January to June 2013 in Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. In South Africa, 108 815 responses were analysed of which 43 344 were via the online social network, Mxit and 65471 were via SMS / Text message.
    The top five South African priorities were: better job opportunities (31.75 percentage), good education (20.20 percentage), Protection against crime and violence (6.4 percentage), an honest and responsive government (5.77 percentage) and support for people who cannot work (4.74 percentage).
    The survey aimed to complement the UN’s My World global survey. Preliminary findings from the three countries have been incorporated in the Post 2015 UN High Level Panel’s report to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on proposed post 2015 UN development goals.
    On 30 October 2013, ONE released the final Report to the South African public, press, government and UN at an event held in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Speaking at the event, ONE’s Africa Director, Dr. Sipho S. Moyo noted that the needs and desires of the world’s poorest, many of whom live in Africa, must be placed at the heart of a new development agenda.
    “Efforts such as ‘You Choose’ in conjunction with the UN’s My World survey will ensure that the post-2015 development objectives reflect the people’s will and not just those of world leaders and technocrats gathered around a table in New York and Geneva. As our world leaders debate and define the post-2015 development agenda, we must convince our governments to take the views and the voices of their citizens to the agenda-setting table. By so doing, the world’s new development goals will reflect what its citizens need and in turn citizens will be better able to hold their governments accountable for actionable programmes that will achieve enduring socio-economic transformation and virtually end extreme poverty by 2030,” she said.
    To view report, refer to
    Notes to editors:
    1.    Social media played a leading role in data collection:

    • 91 075 citizens submitted SMS actions in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia;
    • 84 232 citizens submitted their priorities on social media channels that included biNu, Mxit and Facebook. Most respondents on biNu were Nigerians, while Mxit was dominated by South African participants. Facebook garnered responses mostly from Malawi and Zambia.
    2. Top issues across all markets and channels were:
    • Better job opportunities (25 percent);
    • A good education (17 percent);
    • An honest and responsive government (6 percent);
    • Protection against crime and violence (7 percent); and
    • Better healthcare (6 percent).
    3.  Top five priorities in each of the participating countries were:
    • Malawian - An honest and responsible government (14 percent), affordable and nutritious food (11 percent), better healthcare (10 percent), good education (10 percent) and better job opportunities (10 percent);
    • South African - better job opportunities (32 percent), good education (20 percent), and protection against crime and violence (6 percent), an honest and responsive government (6 percent) and support for people who cannot work (5 percent);
    • Zambia - good education (26 percent), better job opportunities (25 percent), better healthcare (6 percent), better transport and roads (5 percent) and an honest and responsible government (3 percent).
    4.   As part of the campaign, ONE worked with more than 20 partners:
    • ONE’s lead non-governmental organization (NGO) and faith partners included the Council for NGOs in Malawi (CONGOMA), South Africa’s Economic Justice Network (EJN), as well as Zambia’s Civil Society for Poverty  Reduction (CSPR) and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ);
    • ONE’s corporate partners included the Malawi Savings Bank (MSB), the UN Information Systems and Standard Chartered Bank in Zambia all who supported the campaign with their growing SMS customer databases.
    About ONE
    ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organisation of more than 3.5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. Co-founded by Bono and strictly nonpartisan, we raise public awareness and work with political leaders to combat AIDS and preventable diseases, increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, and demand greater transparency in poverty-fighting programmes.
    ONE is not a grant-making organisation and does not solicit funding from the public or receive government funding. ONE is funded almost entirely by a handful of philanthropists and foundations. We achieve change through advocacy. Our teams in Washington, D.C., London, Johannesburg, Brussels, Berlin, and Paris educate and lobby governments to shape policy solutions that save and improve millions of lives.
    For more about ONE, refer to

  • Corruption Hinders MDGs - CIVICUS

    CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation has warned that Africa will not be able to realise the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) because of corruption.
    CIVICUS head of policy and research, Mandeep Tiwana, points out that the MDGs are eight time-bound goals which provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions.
    Tiwana states that these includes targets on income poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality, environmental degradation and the Global Partnership for Development.
    He further says inequalities are not an African problem but it is a global problem, adding that these are some of the serious issues our leaders need to address.
    To read article titled, “Corruption seen as hindrance to MDGs in Africa,” click here.

    SABC News
  • Post-MDG Framework Should Consider Africa’s Goals

    Ibrahim Mayaki, chief executive officer of the New Partnership for Africa's Development’s (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency has urged the United Nations (UN) member states must ensure that the post-2015 development agenda supports the developmental aspirations of the African continent.
    Mayaki indicated that NEPAD’s strategic focus on infrastructure and agricultural development remained two key pillars for the continued transformation of Africa.
    NEPAD’s main strategists requests that Africa’s goals should be a major consideration when the world body develops its post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework.
    To read article titled, “UN must ensure post-2015 agenda supports African development,” click here

    SABC News
  • Thinking Is Overrated...

    In the past few weeks, there has been yet another huge public outcry on the functioning of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) and this has provoked a range of talk (and a lot of hot air too) about how we can go about fixing things to make one of the larger national development funders in South Africa, work better. This talk and the occasional Business Day op-ed have however failed to look at the bigger picture of the development landscape and how that aspect affects not just the NLDTF or the National Development Agency (NDA) but the manner in which we build the post-1990 envisioned development state.
    In attempting to deal with any process to improve the functioning of the NLDTF or the NDA, it may be prudent to acknowledge the (very large) elephant in the room, which is the obvious lack of any sort of comprehensive social service and development legislation in South Africa that provides for the holistic location of both agencies as well the myriad of other public and private sector funding in the country. The lack of this overarching legislative framework for bringing the developmental state agenda to life, is the key to unlocking the value of both agencies as well as a host of the other good and great initiatives that seek to build a more just and equitable society[1].
    Thus any recommendations and conclusions to improve the NDA and NLDTF need to be understood in the context of what else is needed to ensure that this situation of a poorly functioning national development agency and a misaligned national lottery funder, are both fixed and not repeated in the way we develop and implement future initiatives to realise the ideals of the Freedom Charter and Constitution. The social, cultural and economic rights[2] of the people of SA are central to the way we think about and implement the programmes and policies that seek to meet and exceed those rights.

    On a macro level, we need to commence a dialogue about the nature of the social compact to meet and exceed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and ensure greater prosperity for all who live here. The state has claimed ownership of the developmental state and finding ways for civil society to engage meaningfully and constructively are limited. Admittedly, this is a reality of past and current modalities of engagement, but if we are looking to move ahead, then we need to be clear, as a nation, that civil society is not a secondary partner in this process. It is a collaborative relationship, where partners are engaging, on the ideals we seek to set and the process to achieve them.

    We must also be wary of the red herring touted by senior Department of Social Development (DoSD) officials about the lack of an apex civil society structure to engage with and thus, they “do not know who to engage with in civil society.” There are a range of current networks that can be called upon and if this is not enough, it is a simple matter to put out a public call for engagement.
    For the NLDTF and the NDA, there is a need for a piecemeal reform approach, as well as systemic change in the broad development landscape. It is possible for both these options to co-exist and given the urgent needs of the sector, we need to win space for both immediate reforms as suggested below, as well as a large-scale development priority shift.
    Piecemeal Reform:

    Better-designed regulations for both the NDA and the NLDTF are needed, with broad consultation and ideally this process should be funded by the respective entities but managed by civil society. In this fashion, we will have developed regulations that not only improve the functioning of the entities but are also owned by the people affected by them[3].
    We need a separate board for the NLDTF, to oversee the mandate of the NLDTF and ensure compliance with that mandate. This board will also serve to ensure that civil society is both represented and equally accountable for the success or failure of the NLDTF to meet its lofty mandate.
    We also need the Advisory Board for Social Development (Act 3 of 2001)[4] also needs to be appointed as a matter of critical urgency. It is baffling to say the least, that this matter has been outstanding for 11 years now. The appointment of such a board would ensure that talent, skills, knowledge and experience of the civil society sector is shared in the process of ensuring that development in SA takes place as a collaborative process between government, civil society, business and labour.
    So while we can ‘take-on’ the NLDTF in marches and media campaigns, it will serve the interests of civil society in general, much better, if we are to focus our collective energy on working together to bring about some macro-policy shifts that will create an enabling framework for a long term developmental approach to funding of civil society organisations at the coalface of delivery and those engaged in the process of constant innovation, not just of service delivery but of our thinking too.

    - Rajesh Latchman is the Coordinator of the National Welfare Forum, Volunteer Convenor of GCAP South Africa, guerrilla gardener, cyclist and an unreformed recycler. He writes in his personal capacity.

    [1] The need for an over-arching legislative framework for social services, National Welfare Forum, 2010 accessible on the following link
    [2] Understanding the International Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights, Coalition for ICESCR ratification, 2010 accessible on
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