STATEMENT DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY DR. SAMUEL ORTOM EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR, BENUE STATE AT THE SIDE EVENT ON EXPERIENCES IN MULTI-STAKEHOLDERS’ ENGAGEMENT IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SDGs IN AFRICA HELD ON 21ST SEPTEMBER, 2016 AT THE UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
At the outset let me express my appreciation to our collaborators, the United Nations SDGs Action Campaign, Women in Parliaments Global Forum and African Network for Parliamentarians for their efforts at making this event a success. I also want to thank the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs for her leadership of this process.
- Our gathering here this morning is a further demonstration of the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria to contribute to the roll out of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Last year, I witnessed the adoption of the global development agenda and I am glad to inform this distinguished audience that my State has integrated the SDGs into the State Development Plan.
- Benue State is located in the North Central part of Nigeria. The State is hugely endowed with natural resources and is a destination for investments in agriculture, solid minerals and allied industries.
- The State Government previously made considerable progress in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, two major flaws were noticed. These were, failure to integrate the MDGs into several plans of action by successive governments, as well as parallel institutional processes working discordantly towards the same sector objectives. The two challenges undermined optimal utilization of material and human resources.
- To address the inadequacies in the implementation of the MDGs, Benue State Government decided to integrate the SDGs into the 10-year State Development Plan which was recently launched. The objective is to achieve better collaboration between SDGs office and mainline Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, in order to enhance and allow optimal utilization of resources.
- To achieve our objective, the SDGs were mainstreamed and integrated as Sector objectives. In the same vein, relevant SDGs targets were made part of sector targets and SDGs Strategies were aligned into sector strategies. Each Sector was required to indicate how it would contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
- The Benue State Development Plan has five pillars supporting the long term goal founded on: “a new and prosperous Benue State anchored on the fear of God”. The pillars are aimed at promoting social justice, transparent and accountable governance, growth in jobs and wealth, more healthy and educated population, critical infrastructure for improved quality of life and development and better life for women, youth, the elderly and persons with special needs.
- The pillars are long-term outcomes which the state development plan will deliver. The results will be delivered through sector strategies linked to Annual Budgets. The sector objectives and strategies are aimed at contributing to the achievement of specific long term goals embedded in the pillars of the State Development Plan. Following from the vision of the State Development Plan, a pre-Budget Call Circular notice has been issued to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, specifying that the 2017 budget will be prepared in line with the policy objectives articulated in the Plan
- The process of producing the plan involved multi-stakeholder engagements. Three Committees were set up namely; the Steering Committee headed by the State Deputy Governor with membership drawn from the State Executive Council and the State Planning Commission; the Technical Committee and the Technical Advisory Committee. The Special Adviser on SDGs and Development Cooperation Chaired the Technical Committee with membership drawn from the State Civil Service particularly Planning, Statistics and Monitoring and Evaluation Officers, some cabinet members, academia, civil society, women and youth
representatives, and the private sector, ensuring that no one is left behind. The Technical Advisory Committee benefitted from the contributions of professionals in the international development fields.
- In line with the participatory processes that gave birth to the SDGs and in the spirit of leaving no one behind, the Committee undertook wide consultations with men, women, youths, the elderly and persons with special needs in the three Senatorial Districts of the State through Focus Group Discussions and Town Hall meetings. Outputs from the stakeholder consultations were fed into the preparation of the State Development Plan.
- Currently, there is inter-agency collaboration in the state in implementing and monitoring the SDGs. The SDGs office is collaborating with mainline Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, in implementing activities that will deliver outputs and outcomes aimed at achieving specific SDGs targets. Similarly, there is collaboration between the State, Local Government Authorities, beneficiary communities at the grass roots as well as non-state actors for proper monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the SDGs.
- Our targets are that implementation of the SDGs will not be the responsibility of the State SDGs office alone, but a collective set of multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholders’ actions incorporating all governments agencies with mandates on the SDGs, the Private Sector, Civil Society and Local Authorities. We are implementing a multi-stakeholder approach to monitoring and evaluation of progress and reporting. This is to ensure ownership and accountability. Our State Monitoring and Evaluation systems, including Sector Performance Reviews have been deployed to achieve this purpose.
- So far, our experience in Benue State has confirmed that the implementation of the SDGs is a shared responsibility for all stakeholders. We are therefore committed to ensuring that our implementation of the SDGs moves from visions and plans to concrete actions that will ensure equitable growth, social development and the sustainable enjoyment of our environment and resources ensuring that no one is left behind.
- I thank you.