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‘Sudan Talks’: Dialogue to Advance Sustainable Human Development in Sudan

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    The 2013 Global Human Development Report “The Rise of the South: Human Development in a Diverse World” highlights that a number of countries in the South have seen unexpectedly rapid progress in their human

    development. The report identifies three key drivers for development that have enabled these countries to perform well and that could be of use to others.

    Reiterating the concept of sustainable human development, the recently issued Report of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda outlines new development goals and targets that are built on the successes of the MDGs and intend to finish the job that the MDGs started. Central to this is eradicating extreme poverty from the face of the earth by 2030.  The Report concludes that the post-2015 agenda is a universal agenda that needs to be driven by five transformative shifts.

    The socioeconomic and political landscape of Sudan has changed in a significant way following the secession of South Sudan on July 9, 2011. The oil loss has created huge pressure on the budget as well as on the external balance. The domestic and external shocks have reinforced the increased cost of living and are likely to impact negatively on poverty, MDGs achievement and human development in Sudan. At the same time, Sudan is rich in natural and human resources. As a center for agricultural production it was once famous throughout the African continent. Geographically positioned between the Arab peninsular and sub-Saharan Africa, it could in future play a leading role in the region and sub-region.

    The current situation, its challenges and opportunities require careful consideration and discussion between key actors of the public domain. What does it take to eradicate all extreme forms of poverty in Sudan by 2030? Can the three drivers of development help Sudan reach continuous, environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth? To answer these questions, UNDP Sudan in partnership with MamounBeheiry Center for Economic & Social Studies & Research in Africa islaunching a series of facilitated discussions that will unfold the concept of sustainable human development and what it means – or could mean – for Sudan.

    The discussions: purpose and format

    The ‘Sudan Talks’ aim to stimulate public debate, generate ideas, broaden understanding of development issues, and enhance transparency and accountability in the development process. They also aim to strengthen public support for efforts to improve the lives of people in Sudan, and to facilitate dialogue and collaboration among the many parties involved in the development process.

    The proposed discussions will be led by experts in the field and informed by the global post-2015 debate as well as the global Human Development Report 2013.The first four sessions will be conducted in an interval of two weeks from early August 2013 to mid-October 2013:

    (i) Drivers for Development:  a proactive developmental state, tapping of global markets, and determined social policy innovation.
    (ii) Human dimensions of growth: social cohesion/protection, health care, environment conservation, and investment in education and technology.
    (iii) Rise of the South: South-South relations and maintaining the momentum.
    (iv) Post-2015: How can sustainable human development unfold in Sudan?

    Participants will be drawn from a cross-section of the Sudanese society involving representatives from public institutions, civil society and media, private sector, academia and international development partners. The number of participants for each session will not exceed 25 persons. Participants will be identified based on their technical expertise and experiences, and their ability to bridge technical and policy levels. 

    It is expected that the discussions rounds will identify topics of specific relevance to Sudan that require in-depth technical consideration before policy recommendations can be made.As required, the Sudan Talks will therefore be complemented by dedicated research and technical consultations which will input directly into the policy process.

    To facilitate linkages between the Sudanese public and policy makers, social media discussions will be launched prior to each session. Social media will also be used to identify further topics.

    Communication around the Talks

    Dissemination of the roundtables discussions to a wider audience is required not only for knowledge sharing but also for engaging Sudanese citizens in the debate. Therefore, the following communication activities will accompany the Sudan Talks:

    1. A pre-discussion starting one week before the actual discussion, facilitated through UNDP’s Social Media platforms and targeting Sudanese and development partners networks, forums, blogs and groups.
    2. Core messages of the discussion would be extracted and disseminated via UNDP twitter and facebook accounts before, during, and after the events.
    3. Outcomes of the events will be posted on UNDP’s web site and shared with local and international media aiming to stimulate dialogue and engagement around key development topics of the report and establish linkages with Sudan’s experience.

    A detailed Action plan is to be developed to guide the whole process for the conduct of the proposed sessions. A detailed budget has also to be prepared to translate the activities articulated in the action plan.

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