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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Civil societies urge Obama, Uhuru to end inequalities, poverty

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have urged Presidents Barack Obama of the US and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya on Thursday to lessen growing inequalities and chronic poverty among vulnerable and marginalized populations in Kenya which threaten security, national integration, and sustainable development despite notable gains made under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) reports ITRealms.

The Regional Communications Coordinator, Henry Neondo, told ITRealms in a press statement that the CSOs urged the two leaders to ensure delivery of the outcome of their meeting to match the ambition and transformative agenda for the country.

Speaking at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Kenya, the civil societies and citizens will also ask the two leaders to ensure that no category of population is left behind as their two countries gear up to the UN Summit in New York in September to unveil the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They added that early intervention and investment in people of all ages, gender and abilities is the surest way to create a more just and inclusive society.  The foundation for inclusive societies begins with investment in health, social protection, security, quality of data and its disaggregation by age and gender, and lifelong education for sustained economic growth and shared prosperity.

Current statistics in Kenya show growing inequalities. In ability to access quality essential services and chronic poverty demands that the State invest further in Social protection programs. 

The CSOs urged the two leaders to support calls for effective, efficient and coherent funding modalities for the design, implementation and extension of social protection programs that meets the needs of the citizens. Additionally they also call on the two leaders to assure and promote the rights of women and girls, youth and older persons while safeguarding the needs of people of all ages. 

“What we need are concrete commitments to implement integrated social protection systems,” said Dr. Prafulla Mishra, Regional Director, HelpAge International, East, West, Central Africa.

 “Our country needs to set national and county human development targets within the framework of universal goals to provide the best opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty and ensure that the post-2015 framework reaches all people of all ages and abilities,” urged the CSOs. They cautioned against optimism towards private finance to deliver a broad sustainable development agenda saying such approaches are “misplaced”. 

The CSOs also took issue with the existing regressive tax policies such as indirect taxes which disproportionately harm people living in poverty such as older persons, women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and children.

The CSOs said while International Development Cooperation remain critical for development financing and fulfilling the 0.7 per cent commitment made more than four decades ago remains pivotal, Kenya should begin relying more on domestic resources to finance her development.

“That government must increase domestic resources, institute effective and progressive taxation systems, facilitate accountability mechanism and tax justice,” they said adding that an enabling environment for cross-sector, multi-stakeholder initiatives that deliver on the goals in the best interest of children, older persons, people with disabilities, youths and their families and communities is needed.

The CSOs expressed their gratitude to President Uhuru’s offer of his government to seek partnerships in order to deliver on sustainable development but urged him to cast his net wider to include non-state actors.

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