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Keynote Address
THE ROLE OF AFRICAN REGIONAL CENTERS OF EXPERTISE (RCE)
IN ACCELERATING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SUSTAINABLE
...
This misconception affects the effectiveness of African RCEs in delivery of the
objectives of both the SDG and Global Acti...
5.0 What have we achieved since the acknowledgment of RCE Minna in
2011?
5.1 Since the acknowledgment of RCE Minna by UNU ...
document and disseminate for the attainment of the GAP and SDG in our
countries.
6.2 To reposition and ginger African RCEs...
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Keynote Address: The Role of African RCEs in Accelerating the Implementation of SDGs in Africa

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Keynote Address: The Role of African RCEs in Accelerating the Implementation of SDGs in Africa
Dr Abdul Husaini, RCE Minna
9th African Regional RCE Meeting
5-7 August, 2019, Luyengo, Eswatini

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Keynote Address: The Role of African RCEs in Accelerating the Implementation of SDGs in Africa

  1. 1. Keynote Address THE ROLE OF AFRICAN REGIONAL CENTERS OF EXPERTISE (RCE) IN ACCELERATING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDG) IN AFRICA: SOME THOUGHTS FROM RCE MINNA. BY ABDUL HUSAINI, Coordinator RCE Minna and Immediate Past President of African RCE’s University of Eswatini 5th August, 2019. Let me start by appreciating RCE Eswatini and United Nation University (UNU) for inviting me to speak at this important event. To me this is an opportunity to come and share RCE Minna’s vision for our continental body. 2.0 Condolences and Tributes. 2.1 Permit me to start by extending my sincere condolence to Mr. Isaac Dladla, the Pioneer Coordinator of RCE Eswatini, over the sudden death of his wife. I pray to God to give him the strength to overcome this trial and may she continue to rest in peace. 2.2 I want to use this medium to inform this gathering of the passing away of one of the most outstanding educationist and environmentalist in Nigeria, who contributed in no small way to the development of ESD in her own way, Late Aisha Bridget Lemu. Her silent whispers saw to the development and progress of RCE Minna. 3.0 RCE as tool for the achievement of the SDG and GAP; how far so far? 3.1 Since the coming to light of the idea of RCE at the WSSD in South Africa, and with the continued support and coordination by the UNU, we have seen growth in both the numbers and activities of the RCEs. We have equally, unfortunately, seen in some areas misconception of what RCEs are or should be.
  2. 2. This misconception affects the effectiveness of African RCEs in delivery of the objectives of both the SDG and Global Action programme (GAP). 3.2 Based on my personal assessment over the years, there are few areas of confusion, even though nobody has ever complained but I believe so strongly is affecting the progress of African RCEs. These confusions revolve around the following: a) United Nation University (UNU): relevance and expectation. b) Region: who or what defines the region? c) Centre: whose center? d) Expertise: expertise on what and by whom? These all complicate the ability of African RCEs to make progress because of expectation and lack of clarity. There is also the problem of territoriality (this is my area and only me or us have a say). 3.3 Another challenge confronting African RCEs is funding. This, in my opinion, is probably associated with the name, UNU, where some people assume that by affiliating RCEs with UNU there is fund from the Secretary General for RCE Activities. 4.0 What is the way out? 4.1 In the course of the development and stabilization of RCE Minna, we have learnt some experiences that are now guiding our activities: i. The Late Aisha Lemu Principle: if you truly believe in what you are doing, don’t waste time looking for validation from anybody, just do it. ii. If truly you want to make a difference, try to align your activities with the good visions or plans of policy makers. This have two impacts; it saves you cost and attract goodwill. But to succeed in this regard you must be above board thread carefully not to be seen as been political. iii. Try to be innovative in your project design and implementation. iv. Inject new blood (the youth) and support their crazy ideas with moderation. v. Expand your connections and linkages.
  3. 3. 5.0 What have we achieved since the acknowledgment of RCE Minna in 2011? 5.1 Since the acknowledgment of RCE Minna by UNU in 2011, we have successfully implemented many programmes through broad base collaborations and engagements. Some of the key accomplishments are: i. Successfully hosted the 3rd African RCE meeting in Abuja, in 2013 ii. Securing of 20 international sponsorships for our members to attend RCE related activities across Africa and India. iii. Consistently celebrated World Environment Day. iv. Hosted the visit of Professor Charles Hopkins to Minna and Abuja. v. Designed and implemented the School Empowerment and Nutritional Supplementation through Agriculture (SENSA) on behalf of the wife of the Governor of Niger State. vi. Initiated and sustained the planting of trees in Minna. vii. Securing, naming and initiating the development of 5 hectares of land as a conservatory in Minna. viii. Initiated the African RCE Youth Virtually Conference. ix. Proposed to host the first Green Fingers summer school for children. x. Proposed Nigerian RCE youth leadership summit. 6.0 Way forward for African RCEs. 6.1 During the immediate past Presidency of the African RCEs, where I and Dr. Marlene Chikuni of Malawi had the privilege of leading between 2016 to 2018, we proposed some initiatives to reposition African RCEs for high impact on SDG achievement. We noted, then, with concern that various African RCEs are working with some significant successes worth noting and documentation, unfortunately little is known or appreciated. Without publicity, working with the right stakeholders, purposeful engagements, interactions and guidance from within and outside our various regions, tangible outcomes would be difficult to achieve,
  4. 4. document and disseminate for the attainment of the GAP and SDG in our countries. 6.2 To reposition and ginger African RCEs for effective performance, during our presidency, we outlined the following strategy, which I still feel is worth considering: i. Streamlining of African RCEs activities based on regions, with the proposed categorizations, focusing on specific regional/national sustainable development challenges with solutions: a) West/Central Africa with Nigeria as the hub, b) Eastern Africa with Kenya as the hub c) Southern Africa with South Africa as the hub. ii. Providing space for African Youth iii. Identifying key policy makers to champion the cause of African RCEs. 7.0 Conclusion. 7.1 In conclusion, I would like to suggest, in addition to all that I have said, our subsequent African RCE conferences/ meetings should involve industry players to participate so that they would get to know some of the modest progress being identified and solved through RCE activities. 7.2 In addition, we must give the youths the adequate support and space to explore their potentials. For any RCE that wants to move forward, it must identify and encourage its youths to participate in the running of the RCE. This strategy is economical and effective. 7.3 Lastly, I would like to acknowledge the continued support of the Governor and Government of Niger State in the activities of RCE Minna. We wouldn’t have been able to reach where we are today without the support of the governor and his wife. We appreciate! Thank you very much.

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