As we reflect on our Post 2015 agenda, we aim to build on the achievements and learning so far attained in order to consolidate and advance ACPF’s contribution to the realisation of the rights and wellbeing of children in Africa. We are cognisant of the commendable progress made by the African continent in key spheres that are critical to the wellbeing of children: unprecedented achievements in economic growth, improvements in key social indicators and outcomes, increased political commitment to children, as well as improved legal protection of children.
We are also cognizant of the critical challenges that continue to seriously undermine the sustainable realisation of positive change for children in Africa. These challenges are manifested in the form of persisting child poverty and inequality, underperformance in key social sectors especially education and health, inadequate and dysfunctional child protection systems as well as conflict and state fragility in a number of countries. In addition, many African countries have been challenged in terms of adequate budget allocation to children, adequate social service delivery, effective implementation of child related laws and policies as well as generation and application of adequate and reliable data on key child wellbeing indicators. These constraints and challenges underlie the evident disconnect between the progress made in promoting the rights of children and the widespread adversity that characterises millions of Africa’s children.
This year, 2015, is a key milestone in the global development endeavour. As a pan-African organisation for children, ACPF has played a role in contributing to the agenda setting process for the post-2015 development agenda. The situational analysis that was undertaken to take stock of progress was instrumental in identifying the main issues that we should be concerned of in the next development framework. The process has created a space for dialogue and agreement on main issues that need to be given attention to improve the wellbeing of Africa’s children.
Noteworthy issues are the major capacity challenges in child rights implementation and provision of efficient and quality services at all levels. Africa must have the capacity to deliver on its commitments to children. Many countries do not have the mechanisms and structures to implement and ensure compliance with child protection laws, and have limited capacity to deliver quality universal social services. Ensuring capacity at all levels and in all sectors – in terms of having the institutional arrangements in place, the leadership, the accountability systems and the knowledge - is central to accelerating progress towards improving the wellbeing of children in Africa. Capacity building therefore must underpin all efforts in the post-2015 development agenda.
The other important area worth investing is child protection against abuse and exploitation through establishing systems, where it does not exist, and strengthening them where it is not functional.
Most importantly, what should remain central in all our efforts is promoting accountability. The post-2015 era needs to be underpinned by robust accountability mechanisms complemented by strong and independent national human rights institutions.
We are developing our strategic framework for the coming five years (2016-2020) within this broader picture. We are building on our previous work and that of our partners. Through a consultative process, we have benefited from our partners to ensure that we have identified the right issues with significant impact on the rights and life situation of children.
Through relevant projects and interventions, we will continue making meaningful contribution to the promotion of child rights in Africa and actively engage with likeminded organisations towards a more child-friendly Africa. We will work with civil society in Africa at both national and regional levels. ACPF will continue to support national and regional child rights alliances and networks to extend its geographical reach as well as deepen its country level and sub-regional engagements. Central to this strategy will be strengthening partnership with and supporting the work of the AfricaWide Movement for Children (AMC).
Last but not least, I would like to emphasise the role of our partners. To you, our partners, we say thank you for the trust in ACPF, for your support and commitment to our work. We simply would not be where we are today without your assistance.
Executive Director, ACPF