Statement by Edward Kallon during his address to State Executive Council in KadunaMar 20, 2017
It is a pleasure to be back in Kaduna. It is always refreshing to visit this beautiful city. Thank you your Excellency, for arranging this meeting at such a short notice. It is a true testimony of the value you attach to the partnership between Kaduna State and the United Nations System in Nigeria. Since this is the regular meeting of the Executive Council, I will not make a long speech given the very heavy agenda ahead of you.
Allow me Your Excellency, to reiterate the importance that we attach to our partnership with Kaduna State. As you are aware, in addition to several other initiatives supported by various UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes, Kaduna State is piloting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Fund (UN SDG Fund) supported by ‘Food Africa Project’ aimed at improving food security and nutrition; and alleviating poverty through strengthening of agro-food value chains, improving agricultural productivity and enhancing access to markets. Although this project is at the infancy stage, it has the potential to contribute to one of the pillars your Vision 2020 of making Kaduna the preferred ‘destination for business investment, the food basket for Northern Nigeria’ and your aspiration of ‘Making Kaduna Great Again’.
There is no doubt in my mind that under your able leadership, and guided by policies and strategies outlined in the State Development Plan 2016 -2020, ‘Kaduna will be Great Again’ despite the economic recession and many other development challenges that your State, and indeed all other States of the Federation, currently face. I am a firm believer in the saying that every challenge/adversity creates numerous opportunities and provides invaluable lessons for the future, but only for the wise and nimble.
SDGs Implementation at State Level·
We look forward to supporting the State to implement the 2016 -2020 Plan, buttressed by the national ‘Economic Recovery and Growth Plan’; and the Agenda 2030 (the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)). With the SDGs framework, we have an excellent opportunity to create an indelible mark in the lives of the people of this State. I have always advocated for State-level SDGs-based ‘Marshall Plans’ to implement the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan to achieve broad-based and inclusive economic growth; and enhance provision of basic social services, while ensuring environmental sustainability. We are privileged to be the first generation with all the necessary knowledge and ideas; the appropriate frameworks, tools and mechanisms; and importantly, unprecedented political commitment to make sustainable development a reality. I have no doubt that based on your very rich history of development planning; highly skilled and motivated human resource base; and strong political commitment, Kaduna State stands in very good stead to do just that.
I came here to re-assure you, Excellency, of the commitment of the UN System to support you in your efforts to mainstream the SDGs in your policy, planning, budgeting and reporting frameworks. In this regard, I take special note of your request for support to ‘Strengthen Local Government Planning, Budgeting and Monitoring and Evaluation System’ communicated to us through a letter from the Ministry of Budget and Planning dated 28th February 2017. We very much welcome the opportunity to partner with you within the context of your own policies and plans, as well as the SDGs framework, to make local level planning, budgeting and reporting a reality in Kaduna.
Your Excellency, the UN support to your development aspirations in Kaduna will be catalytic and innovative, and we look forward to work with your team, especially the staff of the Planning and Budget Commission, the Economic Planning Board and Local Level Planning Committee to leverage all available resources (human and financial); institutions, including those of the United Nations and the private sector; and ideas and best practices from across the globe to ensure that this noble idea of applying the principle of subsidiarity in the planning process is achieved in Kaduna.
Based on my reading of the transformational changes that you have embarked on, including the creation of the Planning and Budgeting Commission, I know you are desirous of moving away from the business- as-usual track to a different development pathway; a higher level of engagement; and a faster pace of change and adaptation to innovation in carrying out the business of development. Indeed, yesterday’s approaches will, certainly, not deliver today’s desired results and the aspirations of your Development Plan and Agenda 2030 and the SDGs at the local level. We must spin the wheel of development in a different direction and at a much faster pace if we are to address the challenges that we are confronted with and ensure no one is left behind.
We need to focus on planning and budgeting, and accountability for results at the lowest possible level where development challenges reside to address multidimensional poverty and go beyond income and consumption poverty to non-monetary deprivations related to health, education, nutrition, empowerment and security among others. We need to identify binding constraints that continue to challenge development at that level. As an Economist like yourself would say. We need to meaningfully involve the local people and give them a voice and space in the development process. We need to listen to their ideas about what works and what does not work and cross-fertilize these with the aspirations of sustainable development. We need to mobilise local resources, harness local energies and develop local solutions to local problems without losing sight of the global aspirations of sustainable development and the inter-connectedness of today’s world.
The Criticality of Peace and Security
Your Excellency, peace and security are critical enablers of the development process. The UN has continuously highlighted the fact that there is no development without peace and security and development cannot thrive without the respect for Human Rights. Insecurity remains a challenge in the State, especially around Zaria and the southern part of the State. There is an urgent need to decisively address this problem through the concerted efforts of all stakeholders for meaningful and durable development to be realized. Conflict prevention, dialogue and reconciliation are all important pillars of the search for lasting peace and security. In this regard Your Excellency, I am happy to note that the National Peace Committee, which the UN supported during the 2015 General Elections, has already visited you and the people of Southern Kaduna with regards to the current insecurity challenges affecting the State. The UN family in Nigeria we will continue to work with you and other organs of State and Federal governments to mobilize support for an inclusive dialogue that would restore lasting peace in Kaduna, and the entire country.
The problem of insecurity and violent conflicts in many parts of the country has been exacerbated by ever-increasing availability of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW). Excellency, with the full integration of Nigeria into the UNDP implemented ECOWAS/EU Small Arms project, Kaduna is one of the States selected to benefit from the support aimed at reducing the proliferation of Small Arms. We look forward to working with the State government in the future on related small arms and light weapons amnesty and livelihood programmes to foster peace and security.
To conclude Your Excellency, we want to walk with you along this new path of taking development planning and budgeting to the local level. We want to accompany you on this journey towards economic development; social welfare; security and justice; and good governance as outlined in the current Development Plan. We want to stand to be counted, as a small but nonetheless significant player, together with your government when you achieve a positive score on the communities’ development score card.
To achieve this development pathway, we need to move to a new plane of engagement and a higher level of partnership fashioned around your own resources, institutions and ideas, as well as the desire to bring about durable change in the lives of the people. AS the UN family in Nigeria, we commit to play a catalytic role and avail to you our meagre resources -human, financial, ideas and best practices distilled from across the globe, in order to achieve your vision of ‘Making Kaduna Great Again’ while ‘Leaving No One Behind’.
I thank you for your attention.