WEST AFRICA REGIONAL CONSULTATION WORKSHOP ON BUILDING SUSTAINABLE CIVIL SOCIETY CAPACITY IN POLICY ANALYSIS AND ADVOCACY FOR LOCAL DEVELOPMENT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOLON KUMBUNGU, TAMALE, GHANA

1 ? 3RD FEBRUARY 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REPORT

 

 

 

 

 

The Pan African Organization for Sustainable Development

 

 

 

EO37 ANEVON COURT

PARAKUO ESTATE

C15 LASHIBI

ACCRA-GHANA

 

Tel: 022 404517/18

Email: posdev@ghana.com

URL:http/www.posdev.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONTENT

 

Acronyms

1.     Introduction

 

2.     Background

 

3.     Workshop Framework

 

4.     Opening Ceremony

 

5.     Presentations on Advocacy and Good Governance

                              I.      Civil Society Perspectives on Policy advocacy

                           II.      Perspectives on Decentralization in West Africa

                       III.      ECOWAS Agriculture Policy.

                        IV.      Alliance Building for Networking for Policy Analysis and Advocacy in West Africa Sub-region.

 

6.     Observation and Conclusion

 

7.     Workshop Analysis

 

8.     Annexes:??

?     Structure of Local Government (Ghana, Mali, Niger, South Africa)

?     List of participants

?     Presentations

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACRONYMS

1.     ACHD:??????? African Centre for Human Development

 

2.     AMCNMS: Association des Municipalit?s des Cercles de Niono, de Macina et de Segou.(Association of Municipal Areas in the Niono, Macina, and Segou Districts)?????

 

3.     CAFO: Coordination des Associations et ONG f?minines. (Women Coordination Associations of NionoTownship)

 

4.     CBP : Community-Based Plan

 

5.     CLUSA GAIT: Cooperative Leagues of United States of America ? Government Improves Trust Program

 

6.     CSO: Civil Society Organization

 

7.     CU: Civic Union

 

8.     DA: District Assemblies

 

9.     DCD: District Coordinating Director

 

10. DCE: District Chief Executive

 

11. ECOWAP: Economic Community of West Africa Agriculture Policy.

 

12. ECOWAS: Economic Community of West Africa States

 

13. IDP: Integrated Development Plan

 

14. IFAD: International Fund for Agricultural Development.

 

15. INAGEF: Institut National de Gestion et de Formation (National Institute of Management and Training)

 

16. KOKARI : Service d?Intermidation en Credit Rural.

 

17. MEDET: Mangaung Education and Development Trust.

 

18. MISTOWA: Market Information Systems and Traders? Organizations in West Africa

 

19. MWANGAZA: NGO in Burkina Faso

 

20. NACOGG: New Advocacy Committee on Good Governance.

 

21. NCCE: National Commission for Civic Education

 

22. NGO: Non-Governmental Organization

 

23. OHVN: Office de la Haute Vall?e du Niger

 

24. PDRT: Programme for Development of Root Crops and Tubers

 

25. POSDEV: Pan African Organization for Sustainable Development

 

26. PROMIC: Projet de Micro Finance et de Marketing (Micro finance and Marketing Project)

 

27. UGOA: Union des GIE de l?Organization de la Haute Vall?e du Niger. (Union of GIE of ?OHVN zone ? and Associates)

 

28. USAID: United States Agency for International Development

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. ????? INTRODUCTION

 

The West Africa Regional Consultation was held under the auspices of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Pan African Organization for Sustainable Development (POSDEV) project on Building the Capacity of Civil Society Organizations in Policy Analysis and Advocacy for Local Development in Tolon-Kumbungu, Northern Region, Ghana from 1 to 3rd February 2005 under the theme ?Promoting Good Governance through Civil Society Empowerment.

 

The workshop had the main objectives of sharing lessons and best practices in good governance and decentralization in the West Africa sub-region and sharing grassroots perspectives on the newly adopted ECOWAS Common Agricultural Policy for West Africa. It was also aimed at laying the foundation for a sub-regional policy advocacy network.

 

Participants were mainly drawn from civil society groups and local authorities from project beneficiary countries namely Mali, Ghana, and Niger as well as representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso and South Africa. (See attached list of participants).

 

2. ????? BACKGROUND

 

One of the greatest challenges facing the development of effective and reliable local governance is the lack of institutions and structures that support and promote participation, transparency and accountability.? It is in view of this that the IFAD/POSDEV project: Building Sustainable Civil Society Capacity in Policy Analysis and Advocacy for Local Development has identified and mobilized Producer Groups and other Civil Society Groups from Segou and Koulikoro in Mali, Kollo and Gaya in Niger, Kadjebi and Nkwanta in Ghana and equipped them with advocacy skills to enable them engage their local government on policy that affect their lives and rights to social services.??

 

Local authorities on the other hand are encouraged to impress on government authorities the need to devolve decision-making to the grassroots to ensure effective participation of grassroots in decision-making on local development issues.? The Project also sought to create strategic advocacy networks and alliances between producer groups and CSOs to enhance effective citizens? analysis in the areas of agriculture, civil rights and local development.

 

It has also provided an opportunity for local authorities to build their capacity in good governance and created mutual trust between local government authority officials and grassroots CSOs. In most cases they now perceive each other as collaborators and partners who should complement each other in decision-making, planning and implementation of projects/programmes for the development of their communities.

 

The West Africa Regional Consultation therefore, brought together regional stakeholders to interact and exchange experiences and best practices in good governance and its impact on socio-economic development at the grassroots level.? It was also an opportunity for stakeholders outside the sub-region to participate to provide a broader perspective on the issue at hand.

 

The meeting also gave opportunities to participants to explore challenges facing agriculture in the sub-region and to exchange views on the newly adopted Economic Community of West Africa Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) aimed at promoting economic development and eliminating poverty and food insecurity, as well as overcoming unfair agricultural policies from outside the sub-region.??

 

This report focuses on the best practices, lessons and challenges as well as the way forward in policy advocacy and good governance. It also contains a 6-month action plan by participants to build the sub-regional policy advocacy network to enhance effective policy analysis and advocacy in areas of agriculture and rights for local development.

 

 

3. WORKSHOP FRAMEWORK

 

The meeting had the theme: ?Promoting Good Governance through Civil Society Empowerment? with the overall objectives of sharing lessons and best practices in advocacy for good governance in the sub-region; and grassroots perspectives on the Common Agricultural Policy for West Africa as well as laying the foundation for regional advocacy networks. The specific objectives were:

 

a)     To disseminate good practices and lessons learnt from projects across the sub-region .

 

b)    To broaden the knowledge base on ECOWAS Common Agricultural Policy and enhance scope of dialoguel.

 

c)     To strengthen communication and participation of CSOs and Producer groups in local government affairs.

 

d)    To identify types of support needed and the mechanisms required to build a strong advocacy network/alliance which will work towards creating an enabling environment to lobby for policy reform across the sub-region.

 

 

4. OPENING CEREMONY

 

The Deputy Director of the African Centre for Human Development (ACHD), Mrs. Emelia Oguaah chaired the opening ceremony. The District Coordinating Director of Tolon Kumbungu District in the Northern Region, Ghana, representing the District Chief Executive, gave the keynote address.

 

The Coordinator of POSDEV, provided background information on the, objectives and rationale of the IFAD/POSDEV Project: Building the Capacity of Civil Society Organization in Policy Analysis and Advocacy for Local Development. In Ghana, the project initially covered two districts Nkwanta and Kadjebi in the Volta Region. However the project had to be refocused on only Nkwanta district because of implementation and administrative problems in the ACHD? Kadjebi Office. In Mali, the project is being executed in two zones Segou and Koulikoulo; in Niger Kollo and Gaya.

 

It has been anticipated that the project would have a positive impact on the socio-economic life of the people in these communities and that with time best practices would be replicated in other countries on the entire African continent.

 

The District Coordinating Director of Tolon Kumbungu, Ghana, Mr. Michael Opoku-Nkansah delivered the keynote address and stressed Ghana Government?s commitment to deepen decentralization by ensuring that the various District Assemblies establish and resource the sub-district structures. However, he wished that the CSOs could assist with building the capacity of the Assembly members, chairpersons of the sub-committees and members of Town and Area Councils to ensure that resources are judiciously utilized and to monitor some of the Assembly?s Projects.

 

The greater challenge however is the formulation of effective strategies and mechanisms for the development of agriculture in the sub-region as well as effective and reliable local institutions.

 

 

5. ADVOCACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE

 

I. CIVIL SOCIETY PERSPECTIVES ON POLICY ADVOCACY

 

?     Mali

 

Mr. Makono Diarra, President of ?Institut Africain de Gestion et de Formation? (INAGEF), an implementing partner, made a presentation on the project in Mali which is being executed by three groups in two different regions: ?Union des GIE de la Zone Office de la Haute Valley du Niger?-UGOA; ?Association des Municipalit?s des Cercles de Niono, de Macina et de S?gou?. - AMCNMS

?Coordination des Associations et des ONG feminines?. - CAFO

 

The project is specifically supporting efforts of these groups in three major policy areas:

 

 

?        Procurement and provision of agricultural inputs to agricultural producers and granting of loans for agriculture;

?        Land management in rural communities in the Niono area and the ?Office du Niger?;

?        Access by the marginalized, especially women, to agricultural land administered by the ?Office du Niger?.

 

As a result of project activities, UGOA was able to secure an order for 10,208,310 CFA francs worth of inputs for supply to producers i.e. 48% of the value of total orders sent to suppliers. They were also able to sell the agricultural inputs to their members at lower prices.

 

The Association of Municipalities in the Niono, Macina and Segou Areas are seeking transfer of legal title to them for land being held by the Office du Niger, in line with the legal and statutory provisions of Decree No: 96-188 PRM and Ministerial Order 96-1695 MDRE/SG. These decrees order the transfer of land management powers to Communes. Thanks to advocacy efforts, the Association has been able to secure a draft lease drawn up by the ?Office du Niger? and negotiations are still underway for the final lease.

 

CAFO of Niono are advocating for a long lease from the ?Office du Niger? for 50 hectares land for women. The Association was able to get support from the Prefect of Niono, the President of the Council of the Niono area and some regional areas. 17 women were trained in the techniques of writing advocacy messages and 757 women obtained individual leases from the ?Office du Niger?.

 

Lessons learnt:

?        Formalized mechanisms for dialogue are particularly important in creating the space and the opportunity to strengthen relationships.

?        The population participates more in rural development programs when they are aware and understand what these policies are all about. In this case INAGEF was able to train its partner groups to identify?? policy decisions, which impact on their lives so that they can take the first steps to influence these policies.

?        Strategic alliances are necessary to remove the barriers and bottlenecks linked to decision-making and local development within local government structures.

?        Sensitization and capacity building programmes targeted at both Local Authority officials and Civil Society present an opportunity for building bridges to enhance information flow and dialogue. Training of leaders and members of Civil Society Organizations in advocacy skills is key to the success in actions to influence development policies.

 

?        Frameworks for consultation and dialogue between local administrations, decision makers and Civil Society organizations are indispensable for good governance.

 

Challenges:

 

?        Lack of commitment on the part of government authorities and other state departments to address citizens? issues expeditiously?

 

?        Difficulties for UGOA in providing collateral for suppliers? credit for procurement of agricultural inputs.

 

?        In some cases CSOs and the Government?s agencies are not aware of the policies and their implications and so they are often unable to effectively implement relevant policies for the good of the public.

 

?        Land management skills training given to the association members are not being applied; signing of land management agreement between AMCNMS and Office du Niger is still pending.

 

 

The challenges will continue to be addressed through capacity building support to consolidate these organizations to enable them confidently engage decision-makers on policy issues for the long term.

 

GHANA

 

Emmanuel Nyarko, Project Manager in Nkwanta District, made a presentation for the African Centre for Human Development.

Under this component of the project, 10 groups engaged in the production, processing and marketing of agricultural produce were targeted in the Nkwanta District.??? The District has a high level of illiteracy, and lacks a unified and active civil society to promote development in the area.

 

Through activities under the IFAD/POSDEV Project efforts are being made to form and strengthen the District Civic Union. The Committee was elected and they are preparing to embark on activities aimed at bringing peace in the district where ethnic and land disputes hinder social development.

 

With support of the IFAD/POSDEV project, these groups were able to lobby the Agricultural Development Bank for the total removal of high administrative charges on loans taken.? As a result the loan recovery rate has risen from 21% to 60% and groups dealing with the bank for agricultural credits have increased from 31 to134.?

 

There is however quite a bit of work to be done as follows:

-         Many groups in the district should be identified and trained in advocacy

-         Advocacy must be a process not an event

-         Information flow to and from grassroots communities should be promoted

-         More training of Assemblymen and women with regards to their roles and responsibilities would enhance the active participation of citizens in local development

 

Lessons learnt:

 

?        Shared decision-making among all stakeholders brings about mutual understanding and commitment to policy decisions on socio-economic development.

 

The sensitization and awareness campaigns have improved citizens? understanding of their respective roles, responsibilities and duties as citizens. People in selected communities now know their rights, duties and responsibilities as well as the role and responsibility of their local leaders.

 

?        A unified front for all civil society organizations within the district is the most effective mechanism for citizens to engage with local authorities as it provides more legitimacy to the groups.

 

?     NIGER:

 

Mr. Ayouba Amado, General Secretary of Associations of Artisans in Gaya, Niger, explained to participants the activities being undertaken in Niger especially in Gaya under IFAD/POSDEV Project. The association is advocating for a reduction of taxes and patent rights and demanding their participation in fixing tax rates Local authorities are ready to collaborate but are emphasizing that it is rather Parliament, which determines taxes and patent rights. In the meantime the association has successfully negotiated the payment of these taxes in two installments and is making plans to advocate at the level of parliament. The challenge for them is still sensitization in tax collection and further training in advocacy.

 

?     Benin

 

Mr. Nicolas Bio Boni, Coordinator of Micro Finance and Marketing Project (PROMIC) talked about the experience gained during the implementation of PROMIC and the Programme for Development of Root Crops and Tubers (PDRT). The two projects, which are co-financed by the Government of Benin and IFAD, have the overall objective of improving basic incomes, and participation of poor rural households, particularly women in local development. The main lessons drawn from the implementation of the projects is that women can improve their own standard of living and that of their families and the community as a whole if they are empowered and strengthened in various interventions of socio-economic development.

 

?     Burkina Faso

 

The presenter from Burkina Faso shared MWANGAZA-ACTION?s rich experience of the campaign aimed at eradicating female genital mutilation practices and promoting women?s health in Burkina Faso.

The success of the project was attributed to advocacy and the close collaboration with the local authorities including the traditional chiefs in the areas of implementation. The project was able to create human rights awareness in different communities, leading to the addressing of parallel issues like birth registration, issuing of identity cards and enrollment of children in school.

 

The female genital mutilation practices were literally buried.

Lesson learnt:

?        Involvement of the community at the concept stage of the project is paramount to obtain the people?s participation

?        Citizens contribute meaningfully when well informed.

?        It is very important to establish confidence and trust in the community at the beginning of the project implementation.

?        The community should always be seen as partner in the project implementation.

?        Sustainable change requires time, resources and more importantly a sense of beneficiaries? ownership.

 

?     Civic Unions of the Government Accountability Improves Trust Programme in Ghana

 

Mr. Gregory Domanzing, from the Nadowli District Civic Union and representing Civic Unions formed under the Government Accountability Improves Trust Programme in several districts in Ghana (A programme of the Cooperative League of America with funding from USAID) shared experiences on civic unions? activities to promote good governance at the local level.

The advocacy process involves nurturing and collating, issues from the grassroots CSOs level to a sub-civic union level. If issues cannot be solved at the community level, they are passed on to the District Central Civic Union who in turn may pass on difficult advocacy issues to the New Advocacy Committee on Good Governance (NACOGG) to find solutions at the level of relevant sector ministries.

 

Lessons learnt:

 

?        A Civic Union in the district brings about better and more effective communication between CSOs and the District Assemblies and thus, creates fertile ground for advocacy.

?        Citizens readily participate in citizen Policy review Clinics (example: The Domestic Violence Bill, the Right to Information Bill, Budget Hearing etc.), which has been achieved through awareness creation.

?        Citizens have the ownership of any policy taken when they are involved in its formulation and ensure better implementation.

?        With an active Civic Union, District Assemblies become highly receptive of issues that enhance sustained local development.

 

Challenges:

 

?        Some citizenry are slow in accepting the prevailing democratic dispensation because of insufficient sensitization and education.

?        The high illiteracy rate undermines the confidence of some citizens to put their concerns across for advocacy.

?        Some district Assemblies are quite willing to display their income analysis but the story is dramatically the opposite when it comes to expenditure analysis.

?        Some District Assemblies are not comfortable with Civic Unions ?nosing? into their performance when it comes to some policy matters (e.g. budget hearing).

?        Decentralization, in its present state, is not encouraging.? Some District Assemblies have some difficulties answering questions on some issues because an order from the central government could derail the process.

 

 

Proposed solutions:

 

?        CU/CSOs should collaborate with the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), to access funding and organize education fora for citizens.

?        CSOs/CUs should be more diplomatic and less confrontational in their interaction with DAs.?

?        CU/CSOs should continuously educate members to bear in mind that rights go with obligations.

?        CUs/CSOs should form networks to share experiences. This could be done at the national level and later cover the whole sub-region.

?        Similarly study tours between CSOs/CUs should be encouraged for experience sharing within the country and the sub-region.

?        CUs/CSOs should intensify the formation and operations of revenue task forces to help raise revenue targets of District Assemblies.

?        The general citizenry should be educated on the duties of the District Assembly Representatives and Members of Parliament. This will empower them to advocate at the right quarters.

?        CUs/CSOs must be politically non-partisan and must exhibit transparency and accountability to their membership to enhance their credibility.? You cannot ask for transparency and accountability when you are neither transparent nor accountable.

?        DAs should be more transparent in their activities to allay the suspicions of Civil Society Organizations about their respect for professional ethics.

 

II. PERSPECTIVES ON DECENTRALIZATION IN WEST

?????????????????????? AFRICA

 

Presentations on Decentralization and Good Governance by administrative authorities present at the Regional Consultation traced the decentralization process in the respective countries from the colonial era to date.?

 

It was observed that although texts about decentralization are elaborate, there is no full transfer of power from the central government to the local decentralized government entities. The local decentralized entities do not have sufficient resources to run their activities and in some cases the central Government does not give enough funds for these entities to function adequately.? Although, they do have administrative autonomy, the financial autonomy is not secured. On the other hand, these entities in most cases do not render account to citizens, a situation that jeopardizes the principles of accountability and transparency.? In effect, participation in policy formulation, decision-making, policy implementation and monitoring at the local level is still very low.

 

In the case of Mali, the commune, a decentralized entity closer to the people, does not even have access to land, which may be used to build social structures such as schools, clinics or hospitals. Meanwhile the decrees and laws, which give the right to communes to own land, are very clear.?

 

In Ghana, according to the presenter? an assembly member from Nkwanta District, one could say that the decentralization system is more of less functioning but some challenges are still handicapping the process.? Those challenges are the inclusion of civil society in decision-making, the transparency and accountability on the part of local government authorities and the election of District Chief Executives (DCE). Currently, the ruling party nominates the DCEs. In Mali and Niger the newly created Communes had elections of their leaders in May and June 2004 respectively but there is still a long way to go in order to equip these entities with the necessary skills they need in order to be seen as fully decentralized entities of the people by the people for the people.

 

In Benin, the Deputy Mayor of Parakou District highlighted the major laws and decrees of the organization of the territorial administration and financial systems of districts in Benin. Other texts are related to the decision-making process and support by the Government and Donors to the districts.

 

Here also, challenges encountered in the decentralization are the lack of financial, human and material means to enable them to represent the state effectively in the areas of competence, which the law attributes to them.

 

Challenges are the entrenchment of democracy, the respect of regulations, and the good faith of the State, the duty and responsibilities of local councilors/authorities, the lack of vigilance of Civil Society, the mastery of the question of ethnic and religious pluralism. Decentralization in Benin is on course after two years of district management based on the principles of participation and ethics.

 

The importance of active collaboration between local government units and civil society was generally emphasized. The advantages derived from this collaboration include:

 

?        Ownership by citizens of everything going on in the district.

?        Care and maintenance of the projects in the district leading to sustainability.

?        Effective monitoring of projects/programmes and feedback to District Assembly.

 

 

?     Community Based Planning - Experience of Mangaung City in South Africa

 

The Mayor of Mangaung City in South Africa, Mr. John Pappie Mokoena, also a member of POSDEV who voluntarily participated in the Consultation shared his experience in decentralization and citizens? participation in decision-making, emphasizing how Mangaung pioneered the use of community-based planning in South Africa.

 

A unique decentralization system is operating in South Africa. There is a three-tier system of government. National Government, Provincial governments and Local Governments. All Governments in their own sphere have legislative and executive authorities.

At the constituency level a ward committee is elected.? Members of the Ward Committee come from Civil Society in the community. They advise elected counselors on matters concerning their social development. It is through the wards that priorities are identified; plans and budgets are made and sent to the municipality. All the ward plans are put together to constitute a 5-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the whole Municipality

 

The ward committee system gives effect to the principle of participatory local governance. It is through the ward committees that communities participate effectively in the Integrated Development Plan process. According to the South African Constitution, local government has two major developmental functions. First, it has to structure and manage its administration, and budgeting and planning processes to give priority to basic needs and social and economic development of the community. Secondly, it has to participate in national and provincial development programmes. Some of its objectives are to provide democratic and accountable government for local communities, ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner, promote social and economic development, promote a safe and healthy environment and encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in the matters of local government.

 

The Mangaung municipality has been successful in achieving effective citizens? participation in local governance through the Community Based Planning (CBP) approach.

 

The CBP approach based on the sustainable livelihood principles is people focused, participatory, responsive, realistic and practical. It is also based on strengths not needs and on partnership. In addition, it is holistic, flexible and dynamic, promoting mutual accountability between community and officials.

 

Although this system deepens democracy it has some weaknesses as well as challenges:

?        The system facilitates focus groups but there is a difficulty in putting together all ward plans taking into consideration the different priorities in the constituency.

?        There may be small budgets for specific priorities.

?        The advocacy is not structured through wards.

?        Ward committee members are not paid. Therefore they do not meet regularly because of lack of funds to take care of transportation, meals etc.

?        Low education among blacks which hinders the development of their communities.

?        Local Government does not have a mandate to build schools, houses, health centers. It is the responsibility of the Central Government.

The way forward is always to create space for influence and promote equitable development.

 

 

III. THE ECOWAS AGRICULTURE POLICY (ECOWAAP)

 

As part of the exercise in policy analysis, participants were given an overview of ECOWAS Agriculture Policy

 

The two resource persons ? Mr. Patrick Ofori and Mr. Ken Kenny from the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Institute of Development, Ghana respectively, took participants through the process of establishment of ECOWAS Agriculture Policy- its conception, vision, challenges, objectives, coverage, axes of intervention and implementation.

 

The Economic Community of West Africa Agriculture Policy is set within the perspective of modern and sustainable agriculture based on effective and efficient family farms and the promotion of agricultural enterprise through the involvement of the private sector to guarantee food security and secure decent incomes for agricultural workers.

 

?Its essential aim is to harmonize national policies on agriculture and food security, ensure regional food security, providing meaningful and gainful employment to the people especially those in rural areas, enhancing the productive capacity of our industries, especially, in the agricultural and related services sector. It also seeks to enhance the export profile of the member states in the agricultural sector for the overall growth of the regional economy by supporting the equitable economic and commercial integration of agricultural enterprises into national, regional, and international markets.? It is anticipated that this will improve rural incomes, notably the incomes of females.

 

It will provide West African Agriculture with appropriate funding mechanisms to meet the diversity of farming systems and the various investments needs. It is expected to contribute to wealth, employment and food security within the sub-region.

 

The Heads of ECOWAS adopted this Protocol in January 2005. It covers all agricultural production, including livestock and fishing sub-sectors, along with forestry and natural resource management.

 

The axes of intervention to attain the objectives of ECOWAP include:

 

1.     Increased productivity and competitiveness of West African Agriculture (Modernization of farming, Development of agricultural and agro-food chains, Management of shared resources, Preventing and managing famine and other natural disasters, Funding of agriculture).

2.     Implementation of the trade regime within the community.

3.     Adaptation of trade regime with outside countries.

 

The Policy implementation lies on the following major approaches, which are: formulation of regional development programmes and adoption and implementation of common rules and regulations.

 

The effort of Governments in West Africa to improve and promote agricultural trade interventions was enforced by the launch of the Networks of Regional Market Information Systems and Traders? Organizations in West Africa (MISTOWA) on 20 January 2005. MISTOWA aims at increasing agricultural trade and food security in the sub-region by improving and linking the existing efforts to generate, disseminate and make commercial use of market information.

 

 

Participants remained, however, pessimistic of the implementation of this policy. Countries do not implement protocols and policies they have ratified. It has become very difficult to address issues at the regional level, which do not get attention at the local and national levels.? This is also expressed in the words of the current Ghanaian Minister of Health and former Minister of Agriculture Major Courage Quashigah (retired) in Ghanaian newspapers.? He said: ?It is unfortunate that ECOWAS had passed many protocols, such as the protocol on the free movement of people goods and services but they were not being enforced?.

 

 

IV. ALLIANCE BUILDING AND NETWORKING FOR POLICY

????? ANALYSIS AND ADVOCACY IN THE WEST AFRICA SUB-

????? REGION.

 

On this, participants decided to put forward a 6-month action plan with the objective to network with all CSOs in the sub-region to ensure a better policy environment and implementation of protocols ratified by ECOWAS member states.

 

 

The following activities were planned for execution by leading civil society organizations such as POSDEV and other stakeholders in policy formulation and advocacy:

 

?     Identify organizations for advocacy network and inform them about the formation of a network in policy advocacy. Organizations working on policy advocacy in West Africa sub-region would be identified and asked about their desire to be members of the alliance.

?     Put in place the draft statutes of the alliance by formulating vision, goals, objectives, roles and responsibilities of the alliance and identifying a coordinating point.? POSDEV Secretariat would coordinate the development of statutes in collaboration with and inputs from some of the identified Civil Society Organizations before its adoption by the alliance general assembly.

?     Develop fund raising strategy in order to mobilize funds to develop the statutes document and host the general assembly and meetings to adopt the alliance statutes and study and analyse policy documents.

?     After the advocacy network is created the network secretariat will start organizing stakeholders? capacity building in advocacy.

?     At the end of August 2005, there will be an evaluation of planned activities by the network secretariat when formed.


A 6-MONTH ACTION PLAN FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SUB-REGIONAL ADVOCACY NETWORK ALLIANCE GROUP.

 

ACTIVITIES/ACTIONS

TIME FRAME (2005)

RESPONSIBILITY

RESOURCES NEEDED

Identify organizations for advocacy network and inform them.

March?

POSDEV Sec./ CSOs

Financial - fax, e-mail, telephone

Formulate vision, goals and objectives, roles and responsibilities of the network. Identify a coordinating Point

April

?POSDEV Sec./ CSOs?

 

 

Consultant

Develop fund raising strategy

May

POSDEV SECRETARIAT

Consultant

Organize meetings of identified groups to adopt vision, goals, objectives, roles and responsibilities.

May

POSDEV Secretariat.

?Financial & Material and consultant

Study and analyse Policy documents and recommendations of the study.

June

All stakeholders.

Resource person

Capacity building of stakeholders in policy and advocacy.

July/

August

Network

Secretariat

Finance, material, Resource Person

Evaluation of activities

August

Network Secretariat

?Finance and Consultant.

 

 

 

 


 

?     Outcomes of Group Discussions

 

Participants identified key lessons, challenges and recommendation based on all the various country presentations on policy advocacy and decentralization as follows:

 

?        The need to build alliances and networks; this improves chances for success in advocacy

?        Awareness creation is paramount in policy advocacy.

?        Involvement of legitimate CSOs brings credibility.

?        Involvement of national and regional organizations is paramount.

?        The need to identify key stakeholders in issues for advocacy action.

?        The need to make research about policies/issues at national and regional levels.

?        The need to harmonize strategies at national and regional levels to prevent duplication and working at cross purposes

?        In decentralization process advocacy is the best method to give/recognize citizens? constitutional rights

?        Building capacity in advocacy techniques is very important for CSOs

?        Citizens begin to understand their democratic rights.

o       Challenges

?        Lack of knowledge of policies, protocols, etc at local, national and regional levels?

?        Lack of resources and methodologies for facilitation of knowledge transfer?

?        Lack of cooperation from state agencies

?        High level of illiteracy at the grassroots level limits confidence to demand for their rights

?        In some cases, effective application of policies in favour of grassroots communities is impeded by local authorities

?        Local authorities/entities do not have adequate resources to achieve their mission

?        Decentralization is partial (uneven distribution of power and resources).

?        Requests made from local levels are ignored at higher levels

?        Non involvement of Communities in locating projects

?        Lack of communication for information flow

?        Lack of networking/alliance among CSOs

 

 

o       Recommendations for successful policy advocacy

 

?        Documentation of issues/policies/treaties and protocols is paramount.

?        Sensitisation/awareness creation on government policies, advocacy, etc

?        Building of alliances among CSOs for policy advocacy.

?        Facilitate access to policy (protocols and treaties) documents by CSOs.

?        Build the capacity of actors/stakeholders in policy analysis and mobilization of resources.

?        Develop a follow-up and monitoring mechanism for policy implementation.

?        Information sharing with all partners and other organizations.

?        Do advocacy in transparency to bring credibility to the participating organizations.

?        Building on lessons and experiences learnt would help bring improvement.

?        Develop innovative fund raising strategy.

?        Reinforce interaction with grassroots population.

?        Advocacy should be a process not an event.

 

 


6.?????? OBSERVATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

 

?     Advocacy for policy reform is indispensable for effective reduction of poverty and the strengthening of civil society in the West Africa sub-region.?

 

?     Many policy advocacy activities using the rights based approach are now taking place at the national and sub-regional levels. However, real changes are slow in being realized owing mainly to the resistance to change.

 

?     Lessons from the POSDEV/IFAD project indicate that building the capacity of CSOs and other CBOs in issue-awareness and lobbying techniques accelerates the development process of communities.

 

?     For example question and answer sessions in Nkwanta district ?Ghana, permit citizens to identify critical issues and share ideas on how to address some of the challenges at the local level, which need to be addressed by district or regional authorities.

 

?     Consultation among citizenry and local authorities is ensuring community cohesion, transparency of policy decisions and citizens? buy-in in the implementation of policy.

 

 

?     Local government authorities are slow in responding and addressing citizens? concerns. Nonetheless the realization is being born that citizens are now demanding active participation in decision-making at the local level.

 

?     Poor information flow (downwards and upwards) is a big challenge as well as policy and individual rights are concerned.

 

?     The challenge still remains on the sustainability of the momentum when external support is no longer available.

 

 

 

 

 

7.? ANALYSIS ON THE WEST AFRICA CONSULTATION

 

?     ?The meeting was very fruitful and very effective at getting various stakeholders from Civil Society and local Authorities to share experiences on advocacy and good governance issues in West Africa and South Africa sub-regions. Participants were also delighted to identify challenges most of which underlie the problem of inefficient and ineffective implementation of a great deal of development projects and programmes in the sub-region.? They proposed a way forward and elaborated an action plan to establish an alliance to promote policy analysis, policy advocacy and policy dissemination. The success will however depend upon the extent to which it will be implemented.

 

?     This project being a pilot project, it appears it is really serving as an ?eye opener? for advocacy campaigns and advocacy awareness in beneficiary communities for their development.? For a sustained and enhanced effect however, there may be the need to develop support projects/programmes to address certain challenges outlined and also the replication of the pilot project to more localities.

 

?     All participants (local authorities and civil society representatives) showed a commitment to the process of putting in place a network in the sub-region for policy and advocacy for local development. They therefore urged POSDEV and its regional and international partners to mobilize funds for the establishment of the network.

 

?     CSOs at the grassroots level have to be well informed and involved in the formulation and implementation of agriculture and trade related policies done at the national and/or regional level. These would include ECOWAP and MISTOWA. Therefore POSDEV, which has a big coverage in West Africa and Africa in general, was tasked to play a leading role in dissemination of this policies and programmes to grassroots CSOs in various countries of West Africa.

?     It was also an opportunity to brief participants about the ongoing advocacy to establish African Inter-Cooperative Commodity Exchange (AICCE) with the main idea of having a stock market where agricultural produce could be exchanged in West Africa. AICCE aims at facilitating cross boarder trade of agricultural commodities within the sub-region.

 

???????????????? 8. ANNEXES

 

 

1.     Structure of Local Government (Ghana, Mali, Niger, South Africa)

2.     List of participants

3.     Presentations