The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President [OSSAP] on SDGs has declared its willingness to work with the Nigeria Civil Society Organizations Strategy Group on the SDGs (CSOSG-SDGs-Nigeria) for the development and implementation of a National Data Project to map all activities and efforts regarding the SDGs within Nigeria.
“Definitely, we shall collaborate with the CSO’s network in Nigeria, especially in Data collection, activities monitoring and provide support towards effective implementation of SDGs efforts and activities in Nigeria”, says the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Princess Orelope Adefulire.
That was the highpoint of the first meeting between the recently established CSOs and NGOs Strategy Group (CSOSG-SDGs) and the OSSAP-SDGs.
In January 2020, with over 200 civil society organizations in attendance, the Civil Society Organizations Strategy Group was inaugurated; with an elected leadership drawn by voting of all CSOs in attendance during a validation meeting called by the OSSAP-SDGs, under the Presidency. The aim was to develop a sustainable model for civil society engagement and also to develop a common meeting ground for all groups working on any aspect of the 17 SDGs to self-monitor, evaluate and also align their unique activities to those of others to ensure much broader and better output in implementation of activities and interventions.
Since the launch, the Strategy Group had worked tirelessly to bring together most of the CSOs working on all aspects of the SDGs and create a framework for better collaboration, engagements and partnerships.
According to the Chairman of the Strategy Group, Dr Uzodinma Adirieje, “despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, which had really hampered and curtailed the activities initially planned, the Network had still been able to establish engagement modalities for CSO’s in Nigeria”.
Reiterating, Dr. Adirieje who is also the National President of the Nigerian Association of Evaluators (NAE) revealed that Seven (7) Technical Working Committees [TWCs] have been established to be the strategic and advisory organs of the network interfacing and collaborating between the separate workstreams of the SDGs network.
Technical Working Committees
- Policy and Advocacy
- Media and Communication
- Partnership and Resource Mobilization
- Capacity Development and Learning
- Outreach and Community Engagement
- Monitoring and Evaluation
- Research and Documentation
Seventeen (17) Workstreams were also established with each workstream focusing exclusively on a SDG to squarely engage with those working on specific Goals respectively. The objective, according to the First Vice Chairman of the Strategy Group, Dist. Senator Eze Ajoku, is to ensure that CSO’s involved in specific goals can collaborate with others working within the framework of those goals, and yet interface programmatically with/across the TWCs.
The Strategy Group also listed other interventions made including:
- Participation of the Strategy Group in the Voluntary National Review (VNR) for Nigeria in which the country presented its SDGs review reports with contribution s from over 60 associations and Networks through a 2-day CSOs national consultation towards the 2020 UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF)
- Participation in the core working group of the VNR
- Contributions towards developing the list of thematic areas for next VNR
- Organization of the first general meeting of the CSOSG during which the Strategy Group’s Financial Policy was approved
There were calls made however by the Strategy Group, which sought enhanced support from the Presidency with regard to:
- Inclusion of CSOSG-SDGs in all activities of the OSSAP-SDGs that are not exclusive
- Provision of administrative and logistics support to ensure the CSOSG has a functional physical office
- Financial support for the activities of the CSOSG-SDGs-Nigeria
Applauding the efforts made so far by the Strategy Group with a quip that “it is indeed wonderful” seeing CSOs on SDGs conducting themselves under a particular umbrella, the SSAP-SDGs, Princess Adefulire, commended the Group. Represented by Dr Mrs. Ify Ukaegbu, Head of Sector, the SSAP promised the commitment of the OSSAP-SDGs towards collaborating with the CSOSG-SDGs.
She reiterated that the expectation was to have a sustainable and pragmatic model of civil society engagement in Nigeria which could in a few years be adopted globally.
Inaugurated in February 2020, the Strategy Group Executive Council is led by Dr. Uzodinma Adirieje as Chairman; Dist. Senator Eze Ajoku, 1st Vice President; Dr. Mina Ogbanga as 2nd Vice Chairman, Ms Baliqees Salaudeen as Secretary; and, Mr. Kamil Olufowobi, Comrade David Anyaele, Dr. David Tola Winjobi, Ambassador Caroline Usikpedo and Dr Arome Salifu as members.
Media and Communication Technical Working Committee of CSOSG