On 24 September 2020, the “People’s Assembly” on the Sustainable Development Goals was held via a hybrid event—live radio on Splash FM 105.5, live streaming on https://www.facebook.com/Splashfm105.5/ and web conferencing (Zoom) on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the SDGs and within the margins of the virtual 75th United Nations General Assembly. This entirely people-driven event brought together different fields of experience and expertise—civil society, multilateral organisations, public officials, academia, private sector, entrepreneurs, gender experts, media, clergy, former ministers, and the general public to harness the voice of citizens in national development.
The attendees made recommendations on the several themes around Nigeria’s developmental history-given the 60th anniversary of our independence, insurgency, and emergencies in the North-East, gender-aware development, the role of the media and celebrities in connection to recovering from the pandemic and refocusing energies on the path to meeting and exceeding agenda 2030. A People’s Statement was then produced from the discussions for circulation to relevant stakeholders.--
We, participants at the “People’s Assembly” on the Sustainable Development Goals, here on this 24th September 2020 at a virtual assembly via live radio and Zoom, are cognizant of the time we live.
We acknowledge the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and society including governments’ response, laws, policies, and approaches to address the pandemic.
Aware that the pandemic is novel and is a global crisis that has set the world off track in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. The pandemic has also highlighted the urgency of focusing on many issues that challenge our national development.
Recognising that recovery from the pandemic provides the opportunity to build back better by using the implementation of the SDGs as a ‘ready-made’ guide to bring back prosperity to people and planet.
Concerned that women and girls are bearing the brunt of the impacts of the pandemic and WORRIED about the rise of gender-based violence and child marriages.Now, therefore we:
Encourage governments at the Local, State and Federal level to use the SDGs as a roadmap for building back better while integrating the “leave no one behind” principle.
Urge Local, State and Federal Government to leverage finance available for delivering the SDGs by aligning plans and budgets in ways that progress the country towards recovery and path to attaining the goals.
Acknowledge the need for debt restructuring and exploring options for cancellation where needed while NOTING the membership of the Nigeria Network of NGOs in the African Civil Society Advisory Group on Covid-19 and its push for debt cancellation or favourable moratorium by the G20 and other developed economies.
Call for the maintenance of programmes that support cash transfers, social protection, market intervention measures and social insurance to help individual businesses, nonprofits and people in the informal sector cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic and to build resilience.
Seek to ensure measures and responses to recover from the pandemic and return to the SDGs track are developed and implemented within a multi-stakeholder partnership comprising of government, businesses, and civil society in order to most effectively reach the target beneficiaries.
Request government at all levels to include women and vulnerable populations in COVID response leadership, policy creation, and implementation as their leadership and participation is vital in shaping effective and accountable response strategies.
Ask for the increase in protection and resources for gender-based violence.
Further request for the prioritisation of an open, secure, affordable, accessible internet including meaningful connectivity as this is essential for all sectors and the public to access critical information in a timely fashion and also gain access to economic markets and resources.
Encourage the Federal Government to prioritise and integrate the SDGs within the framework of the ongoing process of developing the country’s medium and long-term strategies and plans.
Instruct that the Nigeria Network of NGOs forward this Statement to relevant and critical stakeholders, the government, businesses, and civil society organisations..