The Conference sought to provide an opportunity for civil society networks and activists to mobilize messaging, advocacy strategies, partnerships and accountability frameworks’ in regards to the post-2015 development agenda.
I was honored to chair a two-day side event organized by the planning committee for the African Networking Group to discuss the theme of the conference. The turnout was phenomenal and the discussions represented a breakthrough for many of the NGO representatives. Everyone particularly appreciated sharing contact information and we have set up a listserv to keep in touch.
There is a perception that United Nations related events are merely talk and no action but I believe the myth was put to rest in these networking sessions. The question of ‘where is the benefit in flying across continents to attend the DPI/NGO conference?’ was satisfactorily answered. NGOs from Africa were encouraged to apply for association with with UNDPI. These conferences are not for solutions because we as Africans have the solutions to our problems. Rather, they are designed to provide information, learning, and most importantly, networking amongst ourselves. Now, an opportunity has been created for civil society at the grass roots level to communicate across boarders as well as within and work together towards the achievement of the post-2015 Sustainable Development goals.
My hope is that by the time next year’s conference knocks at the door, our group of NGOs will return with reports of successful follow-up programs and activities and the gathering will be larger and even more energized. For now, I know that the inspiration, energy and support we all received from attending the two-day side event will inspire us to keep in touch and sponsor side events on the African Continent.
Dr. Valerie Okon Obot
NGO/DPI Executive Committee Regional NGO Coordinator in Nigeria
Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria