Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative, Jeanne d’Arc Byaje, at the launch of the report on the illustrative governance pilots on SDG 16

At the outset, allow me to first thank The Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) for convening this important meeting. Let me also thank UNDP for having initiated and co-facilitated the dialogue on the implementation of the Post-2015 agenda in our countries and particularly for their mentorship during this illustrative governance pilots on SDG 16.  Rwanda benefited tremendously from the dialogue and experiences from other pilots countries.

In this vein, I take this opportunity to thank all other pilots countries for availing their resources and expertise for a better understanding of this vital goal. This briefing will enable us to share our findings with other member states and stakeholders whose contributions are also invaluable.

We are also very pleased to welcome the publishing of the final report.

My presentation will delve into lessons learned from this experience stemming mainly on the importance attached to issues of governance and I will end proposing a way forward.

Rwanda’s path and progress towards its long-term Vision 2020’s roadmap clearly delineates short and medium-term objectives highlighting governance and accountability as prerequisites in achieving sustainable development.

To achieve accountable and inclusive governance, Rwanda’s leadership has developed a bottom-up approach engaging its population in development discussions through massive consultations. This participatory and inclusive process has enabled its citizens to make effective informed-decisions and to hold their leaders to account

That is what prompted Rwanda to put in place an elaborate system for data collection with baselines and indicators to track progress in governance, rule of law and security even prior to the piloting project whose findings are contained in this report.

This report is therefore the result of different phases on the Pilots Initiative conducted since 2014 that have provided inputs and priorities needed to capture more robust information on progress towards the realization of all SDGs.

The Pilot work conducted in 5 countries led to emerging lessons and trends derived from each pilot country’s experience. It also identified challenges inherent to collecting, identifying and prioritizing indicators and stressed the need to produce reliable disaggregated data using a diverse range of data sources.

The work has also emphasized the importance of localization at the sub-national level vis-à-vis universalization and harmonization of indicators. It further put an emphasis on reconciling indicators with appropriate policies and processes that lead to change with targets and indicators related to the SDGs that have been incorporated into existing national development plans and policies.

As a country that piloted Goal 16, Rwanda had already initiated its domestication through national programs, homegrown solutions and in different tools including the Citizen Report Card (CRC), the Rwanda Governance Scorecard (RGS), the Rwanda Media Barometer (RMB), as well as the Rwanda Reconciliation Barometer (RRB).

Out of the 17 SDGs, 12 are captured in Rwanda Governance Scorecard (RGS) which measures 34% of all SDGs targets and 60% of Goal 16’s. While the RGS can be considered as a domestication framework for SDGs implementation, the CRC brings in probably the most important ingredients: namely the citizen perspective and ownership

In addition, The Rwanda Governance Board adapted the application of ICT in governance matters from global processes and integrated it in the RGS assessment, starting with the 2014 edition where the extent of the use of ICT in Court processes has been measured as a function of promoting the rule of law.

Going forward, legal identity for all, including birth registration, is set to be included in publication of the Rwanda Governance Scorecard 2015.

Let me point out also that initiated collaborations, done at different levels, have involved multi-stakeholder partnerships particularly between civil society and government and proved to be effective in advancing work on identifying and refining relevant targets in several countries. Involvement and coordination between statistics offices, other government agencies and academics have facilitated efforts to develop an integrated list of indicators.

To sum up, I would state that the most important pillars likely to foster the SDGs success are the national leadership and national ownership as well as a strong focus on planning and budgeting. The GoR has mainstreamed homegrown solutions at all levels of the governance structure, from the central to local government, to ensure that the development process of the country is owned from the grassroots level.

Thanks to the national Leadership and citizens’ ownership, Rwanda has been able to register success on almost all the MDGs, and in transiting from MDGs to SDGs. It is therefore very crucial for Goal 16 to capture what was potentially hindering the success of MDGs.

Although there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, it is evident that the pilot’s initiative report contains some comprehensive information fed by different contextual experiences that were captured during the piloting phases. It is relevant to note that existing governance practices such as indexes developed by the Rwanda Governance board, especially the Rwanda governance Scorecard are highly informative in defining Goal 16’s indicators and the overall framework of the SDGs

In conclusion, Rwanda’s experience shows that governance has played a key role in generating and consolidating development gains. In this regard, the performance of the judiciary as an essential component of Goal 16 continues to improve with a greater share of legal cases handled by traditional means of justice such as Abunzi (Mediation committees). They consequently continue to enjoy high confidence amongst the public (76%) as is attested by the increase in their share on overall number of court cases.

I have great confidence that this pilots’ initiative report will help usher in prioritizing the SDGs indicators as well as in mainstreaming targets into individual countries planning process to gear-up the roll-out of the SDGs’ implementation.

 

I thank you!