South Africa is thrilled by the cooperation between the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the United Nations (UN) in the service of the African continent, says Public Service and Administration Minister, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo.
Speaking in Cape Town on Thursday, October 28, 2021 at the opening session of the APRM’s three- day workshop on accelerating the implementation of both the 2030 agenda and African Union (AU) 2063 agenda in Africa, the Minister said the APRM promotes member countries’ self-monitoring of all aspects of their governance and socio-economic development.
“As decided by the African Union Assembly, the mandate of the APRM has been expanded to encompass monitoring implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Agenda 2063.
“Accordingly, South Africa is pleased to see the cooperation between the APRM and the United Nations in the service of African countries.
“As South Africa is undergoing the second generation of self-assessment review under the APRM, the baseline study could feed into the review progress and provide findings on the state of public service delivery as well as ideas for building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is also an opportunity to pilot the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) principles, especially the collective action and collaboration amongst national government bodies,” Minister Dlodlo said.
The Minister said government is looking forward to developing capacity building and awareness on CEPA principles amongst national experts, especially those involved in public service delivery, to enhance their knowledge of the principles including how it can be operationalised at the national level.
Minister Dlodlo said Africa is a continent of diverse societies, facing complex challenges; therefore, there can be no place for one-size-fits all solutions.
“While we share a view that governments must at the centre of implementing the 2030 & 2063 Agenda, we all agree they cannot act alone.
“We need strong partners, including parliament, civil society and the private sector in a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach. The ability and willingness to develop partnerships with different actors will be a hallmark of success going forward,” said the Minister.
According to Minister Dlodlo, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a grave risk to governments and institutions around the world especially with the growing issue of trust between government and citizenry.
“It is critical therefore, that we advocate for more openness and collaboration between government, civil society and citizens because open and democratic societies are more “likely to achieve higher levels of welfare and economic growth that increase the well-being of their citizens. I hope in this workshop, we will share practical lessons learnt, for a better and more inclusive recovery,” the Minister said.
In her welcoming remarks, former Public Service and Administration Minister, Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, who also attended the workshop, said the economic crisis caused by the pandemic is expected to contribute to global unemployment through widening the jobs gap by 75 million by end of 2021, which is likely to fall to 23 million in 2022 if the pandemic subsides.
Compared to 2019, she said an additional 108 million workers worldwide are now categorised as “poor” or “extremely poor” due to the pandemic.
“For many African countries, the COVID-19 pandemic increased health, educational and economic inequalities. The economic impact of the pandemic has been worse for people in African and other developing countries, save for a few countries, as generally they did not receive relief grants from their governments unlike their counterparts in developed countries,” Dr Fraser- Moleketi said.
She said the distribution of vaccines has not been equitable with developed countries obtaining a larger share of the vaccines while African and other developing countries struggle to vaccinate their populations.
“To create an enabling environment for sustainable development of countries, given the COVID-19, it is important to strengthen the capacities of institutions, senior policy makers and public officials.
“In building resilient institutions, countries also need to avoid duplication of activities and ensure vertical and horizontal coherence of work. There are also enablers and barriers in the implementation of effective governance for sustainable development in Africa and it is important to understand how barriers can be overcome while enablers are promoted,” she said.
According to the former Minister, emergent signals suggest that ten years from now, the world will most certainly be with less and without greater globalisation.
“It will almost certainly be a polycentric world, be more diffractive, more prismatic and more diversified than World War II. The need for a UN away from hegemony and global cooperation and concertation, not one size fits all solutions and edicts from a superpower, will be even greater than ever,” Dr Fraser- Moleketi added.
The APRM workshop
The workshop, which kick- started today and will end on Saturday, 30 2021, follows up on the meeting that was held two years ago in Pretoria, where the United Nations (UN), the APRM and other partners kicked off the discussion on applying the principles of effective governance for sustainable development in African countries.
Since then, the APRM has conducted and recently launched a baseline study on the implementation of the principles in Africa. The principles, prepared by the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration and endorsed by the Member States, provide expert guidance on a broad range of governance challenges.
They highlight the need for pragmatic and ongoing improvements in national and local government capabilities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).