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Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN)

Report of the SARPN policy dialogue:
"It Is Almost Half Time": Will the SADC Region Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the Target Date of 2015?

Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN)

Johannesburg, South Africa

27 June 2007

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The Southern Africa Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) organised a policy dialogue, held at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Services Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa on 27 June 2007. Entitled, "It Is Almost Half Time: Will the SADC Region Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the Target Date of 2015?", the policy dialogue sought to take stock of progress made, at the halfway point, towards the achievement of the MDGs and to propose practical options for civil society engagement to accelerate progress in the SADC region. The policy dialogue brought together representatives of civil society, government and intergovernmental organisations from throughout the region, and was funded by Diakonia.

Ms. Sue Mbaya, Director of SARPN, explained that SARPN's role in the regional process of taking stock of progress toward the MDGs is: first, to ensure that poverty remains at the centre of discussions on the MDGs; second, to highlight civil society's role. Ms. Mbaya emphasized that the policy dialogue should move beyond the traditional, generic questions about whether the MDGs are appropriate and whose agenda they represent, to focus on identifying options and responses to accelerate progress in the region. She added that participants could contribute to SARPN's quarterly publication, MDG Bulletin, through their participation in the meeting, or by writing articles.

Mr. Jack Jones Zulu, Economic Dimensions Programme Manager at SARPN, highlighted the importance of learning from national processes and ensuring that these link to each other and to regional and global processes. He also expressed the hope that the policy dialogue, and future e-discussions, could contribute to the building of a network of well-informed practitioners to share information and monitor progress toward the MDGs. Mr. Zulu posed a number of questions for participants to consider, in light of the poor progress of the SADC region towards achieving the MDGs:

  • Why haven't we made progress, despite increased aid?
  • Which strategies and programmes are working, and which are not?
  • Do we need to build new partnerships?
  • What efforts are required to fast track progress?
  • How can we support our governments in this endeavour?

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