The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) established the benchmarks for the global development policy in 2000 with targets expiring in 2015. The MDGs have made a huge impact in the lives of billions, but there is still much more to be done to address extreme poverty, diseases and environmental crises. Although much progress will have been made, many targets will not have been met, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
With 2015 fast approaching and the implementation of the MDGs coming to an end, the United Nations, its development partners and its implementing partners, are looking at what development priorities various countries should focus on beyond 2015. In the Secretary General’s report on ‘Accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals: options for sustained and inclusive growth and issues for advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015’, he states that “the post-2015 development framework is likely to have the best development impact if it emerges from an inclusive, open and transparent process with multi-stakeholder participation”. The United Nations development framework for the period after 2015 will build on the progress achieved through the MDGs while confronting persistent inequalities and new challenges facing people and the planet.
Post 2015 Development Agenda and Malawi
Malawi was selected as one of 50 countries where consultations on post 2015 were to take place in order to solicit information that will inform the post-2015 discussion on the “Future We Want”. The criteria for the selection of Malawi included regional representation, development status, country challenges and efforts towards poverty reduction.
In August 2012 the Government of Malawi (GoM) through the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development (MEPD), in collaboration with the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), initiated the process of planning its national level consultations and identification of key issues for the women and men, boys and girls of Malawi. The process involved a series of strategies and approaches to allow Malawians to have various opportunities to express their vision while at the same time focusing on key groups often excluded by mainstreaming processes such as children, youth and women.
In order to reach these groups, and to support the overall stakeholders’ post 2015 development agenda consultation process with the Government, a consultancy company was recruited. The consultant was required to work in close coordination with on-going consultative processes supported by the Government, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and UN partners in Malawi.
The consultations took place both at the national and district levels, targeting central Government decision makers, Parliamentarians, Political Parties, CSOs, private sector representatives, Local Government Authorities, Traditional Leaders, Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), women, youth, children, people with disabilities, people living with HIV and AIDS, the elderly, orphans, divorced and widowed women, and other vulnerable groups.
The district and national level consultations took place from 11th January 2013 to 15th March 2013. At the district level, 13 of the 28 districts in Malawi were selected, such that they accurately represented the social, economic, cultural, regional and ethnic diversity of Malawi. A total of 3,938 persons countrywide were consulted by the consultant and/or UN agency managed consultations, 47.9 per cent of whom were female.
The key priorities for the “Malawi We Want” emerging from the national and district consultations were as follows:
- Strengthened governance and increased accountability
- Improved infrastructure development
- Improved agricultural development and food security
- Improved access to and quality of education
- Improved health service delivery
- Increased private sector development
- Better management of the environment, natural resources and climate change
- Greater focus on science, technology and communication
- Reduction of HIV and AIDS related deaths
- Increased capacity development
- Improved gender equality and women empowerment
- Address population dynamics and development