Ceps’ chief executive attends SADC Council of NGO session in Johannesburg | 08 August 2019
Since 2016 SADC-CNGO has faced challenges in the implementation of its strategic plan. These included: slow progress in the institutionalisation of civil society participation in SADC decision making structures; restrictive policy and legal frameworks at national level; targeted attacks, especially on human rights groups; restrictions on fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly; suspicion between civil society organisations and national governments and also with SADC officials; declining levels of funding to civil society organisations; and competition for visibility and reduced resources for the NGO community at national and regional levels.
In order to maximise the opportunity of reflection and change, an action-learning space and process is required. While the organisation will continue its current activities and plans, it seeks to simultaneously step back, reflect and re-orientate itself to meet its current and future challenges based on solid documentation and objective analysis of its past and current practices and ways of working.
To that effect SADC Council of Non-Governmental organisations organised a strategic session in Johannesburg from July 28 – 31 giving members the opportunity to reflect, evaluate and come up with strategies on the way forward. Ceps (Citizens Engagement Platform of Seychelles) as a long-lasting member was represented by its chief executive Michel Pierre.
The workshop was held under the theme ‘Renewal & Scenario Planning Workshop - Designing A Roadmap For A new Vison’.
Members of the Council was given the opportunity to access and evaluate the current operating situation and environment and come up with new strategies to build a strong, well-led, governed and managed SADC-CNGO.
The outcomes of the two-day sessions focused on prioritising the immediate actions to be implemented by the council such as:
1. Strengthening institutionalise framework
2. Developing mechanism to strengthen leadership and governance
3. Developing a robust resource mobilisation strategy
4. Capacity building for National Platforms
5. Strengthening key relationship with partners and stakeholders.
Delegates concluded that 'We want sound communication, mutual accountability and transparency'.
Mr Pierre seized the opportunity of the SADC-CNGO meeting in Johannesburg to organise a side meeting with the Acting Secretary of Macoss, Sangeetah Seetulparsad and the CEO of the Plate-Forme Nationale des Organisations de la Société Civile de Madagascar (PFNOSCM/VOIFIRAISANA), Marie Razafiniarivo, and discussed the agenda and logistical preparation for the launch of the Indian Ocean Civil Society Platform.
The discussion concentrated on the legal requirements for the setting up of the Platform, the composition and participation from each country.
It was a fruitful discussion and rendezvous is set for the 3rd week of August for a one week finalisation and official launch of the Platform.
The creation of the Indian Ocean Civil Society Platform will help in advocating of the role of key civil society actors. It will also create the foundation for civil society organisations to network, develop strategic alliances and modalities of collaboration and participation. It will be the body to facilitate joint programmes and coordination to achieve required results and impacts within Indian Ocean region.