KAM boss urges unity in efforts to achieve sustainable development goals

All stakeholders should unite to fast-track the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “before we run out of time”, Kenya Association of Manufacturers Chief Executive Phyllis Wakiaga says.

KAM CEO says this in the “SDGs Readiness Report” published by the Association in partnership with the Office of the Deputy President and Global Compact Network Kenya.

The report sheds light on Kenya’s readiness for the implementation of SDGs from a legislative perspective. It highlights the challenges the country faces in implementing SDGs and gives recommendations on what needs to be done to attain them in the remaining 10 years.

The report has identified gaps in the laws and policies affecting the implementation of the 17 goals with emphasis on how the country can achieve sustainable economic growth.

Further, the publication provides insights into the range of actions and partnerships for the effective implementation of the SDGs in the private sector, a key player in their realisation.

It examines case studies from other countries on how SDGs can be attained through a coordinated policy, legal and institutional framework.

Ms Wakiaga, who is also the Global Compact Network Kenya Board Chair, says stakeholders remain hopeful that by the end of the decade, the realisation of these goals will have translated to increased employment, inclusivity and efficient use of resources by industry and all citizens.

Dr Korir Sing’oei, the Legal Advisor and Head of Legislative and Intergovernmental Office in the Deputy President‘s Office, concurs with KAM CEO.

He says: “The sheer scale and scope of SDGs requires the mobilisation of unprecedented competencies and innovation among and within states and across multiple actors. It further demands incredible levels of policy and strategic coherence, leadership and coordination at the country level.”

Ms Judy Njino, the Executive Director of Global Compact Network Kenya, notes that while real progress has been made by the business community, action to meet the SDGs is not advancing at the required speed or scale.

She adds: “Five years since the adoption of the SDGs, challenges still exist, particularly in the areas of extreme poverty, inequality for women, young people and workers, and climate change. Now more than ever, this state of affairs demands decisive leadership, collective action and greater partnerships to get back on track and boost shared prosperity by 2030.”

The KAM report, says Ms Njino, “presents encouraging snapshots for all 17 SDGs. It details how governments can lead SDG implementation, identifies entry points for other partners to also own and engage with the Agenda, and highlights how the private sector can play a critical supporting role.”

The SDGs Kenya Forum argues that all stakeholders should participate in the implementation of the agenda.

Ms Florence Syevuo, Country Coordinator of SDGs Kenya Forum, says: “While implementing the SDGs at all levels (both national and subnational), government must acknowledge the role of the private sector (which ranges from micro-enterprises to cooperatives to multinationals), academic institutions, civil society organisations, philanthropic organisations and development partners.”

SDGs are a set of 17 goals, 169 targets and 231 indicators adopted by United Nations Member States in 2015. They redefine international development cooperation for 15 years, beginning 1 January 2016.

To start the implementation of the SDGs, the Government established the extent to which the goals converge with Kenya’s own development objectives as set out in Vision 2030 and therefore identify which goals are relevant to Kenya’s development context.

A mapping of the 17 goals with Kenya Vision 2030 was undertaken to ensure that the Vision was well aligned to the global development framework and its implementation directly linked towards achieving the SDGs.

  • Why Kenya needs more laws to attain SDGs

To attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the year 2030, Kenya should create an enabling environment that encourages stakeholders to implement the goals. This will be hinged on a robust institutional framework with distinct but complementary roles, responsibilities and accountability mechanisms.

That is the overriding message from a study conducted by Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), in partnership with the Office of the Deputy President and Global Compact Network Kenya, to gauge the nation’s preparedness to meet these goals on time.

Titled, “SDGs Readiness Report: A Policy, Legislative and Institutional Review of the 17 SDGs in Kenya”, the study explores the initiatives that the government has put in place to implement the Agenda. It highlights legislative hindrances to implementation and offers recommendations that could rectify the situation and put the nation on track in attaining the SDGs.

Kenya’s delay in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) was attributed to the lack of an enabling legislative environment.

The KAM report therefore recommends that “the SDG era be supported by enabling legislations targeting specific SDGs and sub-goals.”

A new law should be enacted where none exists. Existing laws should be amended in tandem with the SDGs and enforced to deal with specific goals.

The report also notes that the disaggregated institutional framework currently in place may hamper the full implementation of the SDGs. It presents some case studies from around the world that capture best practices Kenya can borrow from.

On how well nations are on track to meeting all the goals and trends, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) ranks Kenya at position 125 out of 162, with a score of 57 percent. Denmark leads the ranking with 85.2 percent.

The SDSN report states: “For Kenya, out of the 17 Goals, 10 have major challenges, five have significant challenges and two still have challenges although not significant or major.”

It adds: “Seven goals have a moderately increasing trend; four have stagnated (2, 6, 11 and 16); one (1) is on track or maintaining achievement (Goal 13) while one (1) is decreasing (Goal 15). Kenya is performing below average in Goals 1, 9 and 10.”

Some of the policies meant to support the SDGs were developed before Kenya crafted Vision 2030 or the 2030 Agenda, hence the need for review.

The SDGs Readiness Report notes, for example, that the country’s youth policy “is outdated (2006) and has been in the process of review for several years.”

Similarly, the “National Policy on Gender and Development and the Sessional Paper No 2 of 2006 on Gender Equality and Development came into effect before the Vision 2030 and the Constitution, 2010 and have been in the process of review for several years.”

Yet another example is “The National Integrated Transport Infrastructure” that has remained in draft since 2009.

The report notes that failure to deploy appropriate laws, policies or institutional frameworks has social and economic implications.

It gives the example of Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR), neonatal, infant and under five mortalities. These “remain unacceptably high at 362 per 100,000 live births, 22 per 1,000 live births, 39 per 1,000 live births and 52 per 1,000 live births, respectively.”

In addition, “about 43 percent of Kenyans do not have access to clean water and sanitation.”

The “SDGs Readiness Report” proposes that Parliament should take urgent measures to partner with relevant institutions to identify goals and sub-goals that may not be attained for lack of specific legislation.

The KAM report has identified areas such as financing, partnerships and regional integration as sample areas that require new legislation.

Parliament, observes the report, is a critical institution in the attainment of the SDGs through law-making, budgeting, oversight and representation. It would also play a critical role in the following areas:

  • The development of a national plan for the implementation of the SDGs.

  • Approval of the national plan for the implementation of the SDGs.

  • Development of the institutional plan that adequately identifies and supports implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.

  • Development of the parliamentary structure or body for coordinating work on the SDGs.

  • Creation of a committee dedicated to the implementation of the SDGs.

  • Development of an interactive forum between the parliamentary committee, civil society, academia, international partners and other key stakeholders in support of SDGs implementation.