Opening Remarks
Home Contents Introduction Opening Remarks Objectives Introduction to NPMS CSOs/Govt Partnership Poverty Assesment Day One Recap Research Methodologies Monitoring Technique Cross-cutting isssues S E Database Role of CSOs in PRSP Lobbying & Advocacy Monitoring Strategy Lesson Learned Closing Remarks

 

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2:0        Opening ceremony of the workshop

2:1   Welcome remarks by TCDD Chairperson Rev. Dr. Fidon R. Mwombeki

In the welcoming remarks the TCDD chairperson thanked the Guest of Honour, the Permanent Secretary in the Vice-President’s Office (VPO), Honourable Abubakari Rajabu, for coming in person to officiate the opening ceremony of the workshop. The personal presence of the Permanent Secretary at the opening function of the workshop showed Government dedication and interest in recognising the role and contribution of CSO’s towards poverty eradication. The VPO is the Government Focal Point on the NGO sector and issues related to poverty eradication including HIPC/PRSP.  The Chairperson also thanked participants and invited guests for attending the workshop and paid special thanks and tribute to upcountry participants from the 38 Local Government Reform Districts for enduring to travel long distances to Dar es Salaam for the workshop.

TCDD further expressed its sincere gratitude to the government for recognizing the invaluable contributions of CSOs towards development in the country. He said that TCDD and its members are committed to participate effectively in poverty eradication and campaigning for the total cancellation of illegitimate, huge and unpayable debt burden of the country. In recent years, TCDD had played a significant role in lobbying for deeper and faster debt relief.  TCDD represented Tanzania in key debt cancellation advocacy forums in Cologne, Prague, Seattle, Tokyo, Washington and New York.  “We were there in all these forums”.  TCDD also played a significant role during the preparation of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), but regrettably the government ignored valuable suggestions made by the CSOs. “We made specific suggestions but we did not know what happened to them, they were simply not reflected in the final documents”.   Although TCDD shares the values that underlie the PRSP, we deplore the fact that the World Bank and IMF make it as a conditionality to debt relief.  This conditionality slows the pace to deeper and faster access to much needed debt relief.

TCDD has decided to participate in monitoring the implementation of the PRSP.  This is the objective of organising this workshop.  Our objective is to provide knowledge and skills to CSOs on both the PRSP itself and how best they can engage in monitoring its implementation.  In that regard, CSOs plan to develop their own framework and system to monitor the PRSP. TCDD presents a viable forum for CSO engagement in monitoring the PRSP since it is made up of local and international NGOs, religious organisations, trade unions, media, pressure groups, network and advocacy groups which have direct connection with the grassroots people.  Also, as member of the Jubilee 2000 Global Campaign, TCDD will continue to network with other stakeholders globally for the campaign for total debt cancellation among highly indebted poor countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

2:2   Opening speech by guest of honour, Permanent Secretary,  Vice-President’s Office, Hon. Abubakari Rajabu.

The Guest of Honour thanked TCDD for inviting him on behalf of the Government and the Vice President Office to officiate the opening of the workshop on civil society engagement in monitoring poverty and PRSP.  The guest of honour observed that this workshop is an important landmark in the history of our national anti-poverty framework, since it aims at equipping Civil Society Organisations with basic concepts and skills required to engage in monitoring poverty and PRSP working side by side with the Government, at the district and national levels.

The guest of honour continued by saying the following: The PRSP process started in November 1999.  The Tanzania PRSP was approved by Executive Boards of the World Bank and IMF in November 2000.  The formulation of the PRSP is one of the requirements to qualifying for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Relief Initiative.  A country must have a PRSP in place before it can qualify for enhanced debt relief.  It should be noted that the Government had already articulated its priorities and focus in reducing poverty before the PRSP.  This has been done in the context of the Vision 2025, which provides long-term poverty reduction benchmarks, including eradicating poverty by 2025 and halving it by 2010, the National Poverty Eradication Strategy (NPES) which outline Government efforts for poverty eradication in the medium-term, and more recently the Tanzania Assistance Strategy, which identified priority areas for external assistance support. 

It was further underscored that the Government cannot do the work of implementing these strategies alone, so we re-emphasize that CSOs have a critical role to play in the implementation of the PRSP.  We therefore call upon the workshop participants to discuss plans on how to strengthen Government-CSO relationship in the race against poverty.  Infact, the Government has already made a decision to include CSOs in the National Poverty Monitoring Committee that is being established, as well as to participate in its Special Task Forces.  Apart from these committees the Prime Minister has appointed another committee to monitor the state of family welfare as an attempt to link the macro and micro level performances and impact on poverty.

The Permanent Secretary called upon the NGO sector and Civil Society Organisations to continue with efforts to campaign and lobby the international community to increase funds to be available to finance the PRSP.

2.3  Statements from Development Partners

2.3.1    Statement from UNDP

NDP paid tribute to the efforts of CSOs through TCDD for organising the workshop to deliberate and strategize mechanisms to enable CSOs and the entire NGO sector to participate and engage in monitoring poverty and the PRSP. Civil Society Organisations have a great role to play in informing the on-going national dialogue on poverty and debt, and advocacy for anti-poverty initiatives within the context of the PRSP and other related programmes.

CSOs had made valuable contributions towards the PRSP formulation processes, which was in itself an entry point for promoting a forum for dialogue with the government around the areas of poverty and debt relief.

The participation of CSOs in the PRSP consultative process had been one thing, but the challenge for CSOs to participate in the monitoring of the implementation of the PRSP still remains and needs to be addressed.  In that understanding, UNDP encourages CSOs to participate in the Government-led National Poverty Monitoring System, and all its four Working Groups - i.e. survey and census, routine data collection, research and analysis and dissemination and advocacy working groups. Civil Society participation will ensure that the agenda of the Poverty Monitoring System is drawn from different perspectives and therefore enjoys broad national ownership.  That notwithstanding, it is understandable for CSOs to develop strategies and a system to monitor poverty and PRSP independent from the Government-led National Poverty Monitoring System.  An independent CSO system to monitor the PRSP will provide the necessary checks and balances, as well as complement data and information generated by the government led Poverty Monitoring System. UNDP expressed optimism that the workshop would manage to develop practical and sustainable civil society strategies and mechanisms for monitoring poverty and the PRSP.

2:3:2    Statement from DFID

DFID supports the PRSP process and CSO participation in PRSP or policy dialogue in general.

The DFID official observed that several opportunities for civil society participation were lost in the past and therefore challenged CSOs to take quick and immediate steps to ensure that participation in the PRSP process and poverty monitoring system was attained successfully and effectively. The following challenge questions to CSOs were posed:

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How shall CSOs make effective contributions towards achieving PRSP goals, implementation and monitoring of poverty?

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How should CSOs be involved in policy issues related to poverty and the Poverty Monitoring System; and what key indicators need to be adopted?

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How will CSOs be involved in conducting Participatory Poverty Assessment/and other forms of poverty monitoring independent of the Government?

2:3:3    Statement from the World Bank

The World Bank supports Civil Society efforts and initiatives taken so far in the PRSP formulation and consultative process. It is commendable to see CSOs taking initiatives for further participation in monitoring the implementation of the PRSP and in the key functions of the poverty monitoring system that is being established by the Government.

A broad based constituency in monitoring the PRSP is important, as one may note that the current PRSP has its own weakness in certain areas.  These areas include:

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No clear baseline on poverty.  It is not so clear who are the poor or how many are poor.

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The current PRSP misses information on key statistics relating to key issues, variables and indicators.  Critical areas of concern to poverty reduction appear not to be well reflected or captured quantitatively or qualitatively i.e. basic social sectors, HIV/AIDS etc.

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There are no clear mechanisms on the implementation of the PRSP.

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There are no clear monitoring mechanisms and strategies in respect to actual implementation (process) and performances (outputs).

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The current PRSP monitoring framework does not link well with the distinct and community level where the focus and attention of poverty reduction should be.

The World Bank supports CSOs desire to participate in monitoring the PRSP process.  CSOs will add value by participating in monitoring Government budgeting and expenditure as part of the PRSP implementation process.

 

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