IDS alumni in Tanzania recently came together to celebrate IDS’ 50th Anniversary and discuss how Tanzania can respond effectively to the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The roundtable discussion included speakers from the Tanzania Planning Commission representing the Government; civil society, represented by an IDS Alumni who has worked with civil society organisations (CSOs) for a number of years and Research Institution, Research for Poverty Alleviation (REPOA).
Participants at the alumni event in Tanzania (photo credit Harkirat Kaur)
Link the SDGs with Tanzania’s national development agenda
While the world is opening a new chapter of Sustainable Development Goals, Tanzania is about to launch its own five year development goals ‘Plan 2016-2020’ as part of realizing the broader Tanzania development plan known as Vision 2025, which aims to see Tanzania become a middle income economy country. Speaking on how the country is going to respond to the SDGs, Dr. Lorah Madete explained that the first thing is to link the SDGs with the two national plans through a process that is as inclusive as it can be.
The current approach within Tanzania is to start by selecting a few priority Goals to focus on since the limited resources like skills, strategies and finances make it difficult to tackle all 17 goals and 193 targets at once.
The role of civil society in monitoring SDG progress
Our second speaker, Ms. Mary Nsemwa, led us to think more about what the SDGs mean to ordinary citizens and what are the measures in place to ensure that unlike MDGs they will enable the World to end poverty? She raised important issues on global partnership and the important role of CSOs in monitoring implementation of the SDGs in the country. However, it raised wider discussion about the role of civil society in Tanzania given the existence of new legislation that limits the space for civil society to perform its watchdog role. It also hinders CSO access to information making it difficult to monitor Government performance on the SDGs. She ended by insisting that to realise the SDGs everybody has to work together – the government, citizens and CSOs.
A lack of recent data
Dr. Balandina Kilama from REPOA insisted on having to report on all the Goals and Targets, as having this requirement in the first instance is a catalyst for the government to start thinking about all of them. However, in order to accurately report on them she raised the important concern of unavailability of data through the National Bureau of Statistics. The Bureau is responsible for the country specific data, but it currently lacks most of the recent and relevant data needed.
IDS Alumni Ambassador Maria Kalavo will be discussing these points further at the IDS conference States, Markets and Society at the panel session on day two ‘How can low-income countries respond effectively to the SDGs?’