Nation Media Group will next week hold a public forum that seeks to look into ways of integrating the sustainable development goals (SDGs) within the country's development framework.
Development experts say the Nation Leadership Forum (NLF), a platform where professionals, stakeholders, leaders and Kenyans get an opportunity to discuss issues related to development, presents an opportunity to refine the goals to address realities in the country and also reflect our own local approaches to development.
The NLF Special Edition will be hosted at the University of Nairobi Auditorium on September 27 in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Kenya has been a top advocate of Agenda 2030, a bold new global agenda to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future which was unanimously adopted by the 193 member States of the United Nations in September 2015.
The country was a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons which advised the former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on the global development framework beyond 2015.
Mr Macharia Kamau, who was then Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, co-chaired the General Assembly’s Open Working Group on SDGs mandated.
Covering the next 15 years, the SDGs replaced the Millennium Development Goals whose 15-year lifespan expired in 2015.
It has 17 global goals at its core and commits every country to take a range of actions that will not only address the root causes of poverty, but will also increase economic growth and prosperity and meet people’s health, education and social needs while protecting the environment at the same time.
The UN Resident coordinator to Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee - who has confirmed attendance - said the meeting will discuss how to unlock the potential of Kenya’s youth who are key to the country's socio-economic progress and stability.
“We will focus on four SDG goals which impact President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda. These are food security, universal health coverage, education for all and gender equality.
"The youth who are over 70 percent of Kenya’s population present the greatest opportunity and asset for economic progress and the Big Four agenda,” he said
The countdown to the ambitious SDGs is already on, and the Agenda 2030 timeline implies we should already have gone one-fifth of the way towards all the targets.
Though countries will have to concentrate on those targets that are most urgent, the goals still mean greater challenges not only in financing programmes but in innovating for locally-applicable solutions.
Next week’s meeting is also likely to look into the possibility of the private sector championing the SDG agenda.
Already, there is the recently launched United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2018-2022 that needs universal focus and support as the main pathway towards getting Kenya to meet its key targets in the SDGs.
The rigorous development process of UNDAF was led by the Treasury and Devolution ministries and coordinated by the UN Country Team.
More than 100 institutions were involved in the process to ensure the framework reflected priorities including Vision 2030, Medium Term Plan (MTP) III and the Big Four agenda.
While the million-dollar question has been how the goals will be funded, stakeholders are in agreement that bold measures are needed to reconsider global finance practices and generate investment for tackling the challenges facing sustainable development.
And with Kenya being classified as a lower middle-income country, financial support to UN agencies has now undergone a considerable reduction.
Nevertheless, the current UNDAF has still committed up to 80 percent more resources towards finding solutions to the countries challenges between now and 2022.
Among those challenges include changing the narrative for the youth and advancing gender equality.