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Phakama Afrika, communicating the SDGs for the Africa We Want

Building a new narrative to better communicate the 2030 and 2063 Agenda goals

Photo: ©FAO

20 August 2019, Durban – Aiming to improve advocacy efforts towards collaborative actions on the 2030 and 2063 Agendas by key actors and the media, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a three-day consultation workshop with journalists, media partners and communication officers from UN and African Union agencies.

FAO’s Deputy Regional Representative, Jocelyn Brown Hall, in her welcoming remarks underlined the need to advocate for collaborative action towards meeting the SDGs and Agenda 2063. Brown Hall said recent increases in food insecurity are a wakeup call for immediate actions if the SDGs were to be attained. “The time to act is now. The rise in global hunger in the era of the SDGs sounds the loudest alarm bell yet that the world is failing to take transformative actions needed to achieve SDGs. The scorecard is dim, we are off track and need to join hands in action to attain these commitments.” Brown Hall said.

Recent regional dialogues in Africa have recommended that 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Agenda 2063, being complementary to one another, require joint accelerated actions in advocacy and information sharing and exchange. In this regard, the media has the potential to play a key role in promoting joint actions by stakeholders.

Enhancing the 2030 and 2063 Agenda messages

The meeting allowed the sensitization of the media and key partners on these key development commitments, their complementarities, and the role of the media and non-state actors towards meeting the set goals of ensuring food and nutrition security and sustainable development in Africa. It served as a ground for discussions and networking space for key development actors with similar visions.

FAO Senior Policy Officer, Koffi Amegbeto, reiterated that the convergence between the African Union development agenda (Agenda 2063) and SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) call for enhanced cooperation by all actors.  He said, “The similar goals between Agenda 2063 (and more specifically the Malabo Declaration) and SDG 2, have brought out the important need to merge ongoing efforts on advocacy initiatives.”

Amegbeto added, “Food and agriculture are the foundations for the transformations required to simultaneously nourish people, nurture the planet and build resilient livelihoods. The Zero Hunger goal can only be achieved through cooperation and partnerships between multiple actors.  “We look forward to the inputs from media practitioners during the workshop that will build relationships, enhance partnerships and help us seek original and creative narratives to better advocate for SDGs and Agenda 2063.”

Phakama Afrika, communicating the SDGs for the Africa We Want

Towards the end of the meeting, participants agreed on developing an innovative platform, Phakama Afrika, in which journalists and communication influencers will be the key driver to lead the development of new narratives for SDGs and Agenda 2063.

“During the consultation workshop, communicators have expressed and identified the gap of the traditional top-down approach of communication, where development agencies provide canned information, leaving no long-term ownership of information by journalists,” said Brown Hall. She added “As demonstrated in the word Phakama, meaning ‘to stand up’ in the Nguni language of Southern Africa, we hope to pioneer the discourse of global development commitments in Africa, with a bottom-up approach and build sustainable relationships with communicators in the region.”

Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (AFRSD)

This meeting follows the fifth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (AFRSD), held in April 2019, which served as a medium for FAO to present the organization’s role in promoting sustainable development. Additionally, it highlighted FAO’s contribution in enhancing inclusion, involvement, and the successful implementation of the SDGs in the 47 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.

FAO has been working to raise visibility on the SDGs and the organization’s strategic framework. FAO’s work around the SDGs is geared towards tackling the root causes of poverty and hunger, building a fairer society, thus leaving no one behind. In addition, FAO has been meeting with partners and stakeholders in advocating for the vision for food and agriculture as key to sustainable development.  

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