A little while ago I got the news from StandAgainstPoverty.org that the next Stand Up Take Action event was beginning to be organized. This time though there was an opportunity to have a direct impact on our global policy makers.
When world leaders gather at the United Nations for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Review Summit in September, the voices of their citizens will follow them, telling them, loudly and clearly: "We will no longer stay seated or silent in the face of poverty and the broken promises to end it!'
This time the "Stand Up 2010" mobilization will take place over three days beginning Friday September 17th till Sunday 19th with a specific audience in mind.
The MDG Review Summit offers us as MDG Campaigners, a unique opportunity to leverage and even influence the political and media focus surrounding the lead up to the meeting and the meeting itself. Moving Stand Up forward to the weekend before the Summit will allow us to drive our activities throughout the year towards a high-profile Stand Up mobilization with a direct link to and with the specific intention of impacting on the proceedings at the Summit itself. It will also allow us to focus our activities and work in 2010 towards a specific policy moment and to articulate clear and relevant policy demands based on what we want our various governments and delegations to do leading up to the Summit and what we expect them to achieve at the Summit itself.
There will be One Day of Unified Global Action: Stand Up, Take Action, Make Noise for the MDGs!
We are encouraging people all over the world to take part in a common global action which is designed to grab public, political and media attention and to make sure that the global movement in support of the MDGs is seen and heard in every corner of the globe.
We hope to see widespread participation in this global action and are urging everybody to think of creative ways to generate a noise which is also relevant to their particular area or scope of work. Examples of noise- making ideas include citizens gathering in ato bang spoons on metal plates as a way of illustrating Hunger ; Church groups and temples could arrange for their church/temple bells to be rung at the same time on that date in cities across their country; local musicians could come together to play their instruments in innovative locations - African drummers on Mt. Kilimanjaro; the French National Orchestra from the top of the ; football fans in South Africa blowing their local "Vuvuzelas(trumpets) at football matches that weekend. An online action allowing people to generate a noise through an online and application will also be made available.
The possibilities for creative noise-making are vast and this action is accessible to all and easily adaptable to make it relevant and resonant.
This year they are not trying for the the Guinness World record a decision which I support because it become more about the numbers and less about the message.
What they are trying to achieve is having an "MDG Breakthrough Plan" delivered to the Summit by each country. This effort will be ongoing throughout 2010.
We will be demanding that regions and countries produce "Breakthrough Action Plans" and that these plans be presented, discussed and adopted as part of the outcomes at the Summit in September. The process of feeding into and shaping these "Breakthrough" plans will take place throughout the year, from January to June. Each national Campaign will define key moments throughout the year which can be leveraged at regional and national level to intervene and influence the process as well as to get the message out.
Rich country governments should deliver to the Summit ambitious plans with concrete timetables and deadlines to scale up aid efforts and improve its effectiveness according to the Accra Agenda of Action framework.
- Breakthrough Action plans: We expect Heads of State of every country, rich and poor, to come to the MDG Review Summit with clear MDG Breakthrough Action Plans. These "Breakthrough Plans" should include approaches for scaling up and sustaining successful small scale strategies and approaches, explore innovative approaches to reaching the targets and design appropriate, relevant and specific strategies and interventions based on specific needs and circumstances. No more "business as usual" it's time for "business unusual".
- Localising the MDGS: MDGs must be mainstreamed and integrated into local development plans; capacities of local authorities must be enhanced to prioritise MDGs and increase access to information and engagement between citizens and local authorities.
- Accountability: These plans must incorporate a strong focus on addressing accountability of rich countries to poor countries (at the global level) and from governments to citizens (at the national and local levels), on the issue of MDGs for all. In turn, we should have a clear message and plan for holding them to this commitment and we should articulate this loudly and often. Citizens will be watching their governments and holding them accountable for their commitments over the next five years.
- Goal 8: Rich countries should deliver to the Summit ambitious plans with concrete timetables and deadlines to scale up aid efforts. Rich countries must fulfill their existing aid commitments, deliver the 0.7 percent they have pledged and make sure it is in line with oft-agreed aid effectiveness principles, such as the Accra Agenda.
These plans should respect the policy space of poor countries and include accountability mechanisms for aid delivery including tracking and mechanisms for corrective action. In addition, the Summit outcome should include a pro-poor breakthrough on the Doha trade talks.
- Inequality: The MDGs are for everybody. We will not accept inequality in any area be it gender, spatial, ethnic (including the rights of indigenous people and lower castes) or in relation to persons with disability.
- MDGs Are Achievable: Much progress has been made in the last decade even in the poorest countries and most MDGs are still achievable in most countries, as long as policies and implementation mechanisms that are accountable to the poor are in place. In countries where governments have done the right thing, success has followed. If this expands and continues there is no reason why these successes cannot be repeated over the next five years.
- 2010 is not the beginning of a "new and uncertain" voyage towards the MDGS: Rather, it is the "refueling' point on a voyage that has been ongoing for ten years - more than long enough to have seen that the MDGs work. The next five years are the final leg on that journey, what is needed is not a new set of plans, but implementation of clear plans to reach the originally agreed destination by 2015, building on the learning's of the first decade.
- Power of the People: We as individuals acting together have the power to influence this process, but we must engage early and decisively to make this happen.