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Sustainable Development Goals Will Fail Too

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) recently came to a near (or) failed end and planners crafted the so called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Commenting on this matter, Boniface Mabanza argued that even without radical rethinking, the new project of setting a post-2015 agenda is in danger of suffering the same fate as its forerunners. Development in its classical understanding, he maintains, is of no use now. What is needed are real changes corresponding to the various local and national necessities of the people.

Majority of the people in Africa are peasants; a good number of them live in conflict zones and in areas recovering from conflict. Most of these people only work for survival and look at development as an alien concept with no immediate significance to them. In fact, I think we need to conceptualize and contextualize development. It is time we asked what development means to Africa and whose development, for instance, has been the MDGs directed at?

On his part Gwain Colbert argues that it is because of indigenous African women’s strength and resilience that our families and communities have been kept alive, not western development concepts, ideologies and models. I agree too. Things though in armchairs in Geneva, New York and Nairobi are less known for making significant impacts on the lives of peasant people across the remote parts of Africa but those peasant people, especially women who remain in the villages tending to their small farms and families are.

Some would think this is radical but how often do we design projects and programs from distant lands in furnished hotels and pretend they will solve people’s problems in rural Africa? How often do we pretend we know exactly what plagues the people and pretend to prescribe instant solutions to the challenges that people face? All actors are guilty of this. The more reason we implement wrong projects, come up with bad policies, or/and implement good projects and policies wrongly. The result is a series of failed initiatives and continuation of the plight of the people.

The way forward is this; we need to invest in comprehensive and ongoing research; we need to involve all actors in these processes in the spirit of popular participation; we need to continually search for the truth. I know no better way to search for the truth other than researching and I know no better way of learning other than sharing. But when do we invite the peasants to come and share when we cannot mix with them in air-conditioned hotels and when the villages are too remote for us to reach? We need to conceptualize development policies, plans and strategies that can be at the service of life, with a genuine attempt at reduction if not eradication of poverty. Social justice and equal peace for all should be the ingredients of this. Such society will be secure and at peace with itself. 
Sustainable Development Goals Will Fail Too Sustainable Development Goals Will Fail Too Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on June 23, 2016 Rating: 5

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