• Amplifying Rwanda’s voice in shaping the future global development agenda/ Auke Lootsma (Blog)

    21 Jun 2013

    Ordinary people from across the world are shaping the development agenda. For the first time in history, the United Nations is engaging hundreds of thousands of people around the world in shaping an important global agenda: the next generation of anti-poverty goals.

    The United Nations is using digital media and mobile phone technology to enable people from across the world to take part in setting the next generation of development goals. The web platforms in this global conversation, the World We Want 2015 website, where people collaboratively develop policy ideas on issues such as inequality, education and food security and the My World survey, where people vote for 6 out of 16 development priorities, are building active user-driven communities, which crowdsource development solutions for critical global challenges.

    In Rwanda, we are breaking new ground by using mobile phone technology to include as many individuals as possible in the debate on future global targets.  In cooperation with Tigo, , through a SMS-based citizen-reporting system, the UN is capturing the votes of thousands of people responding to the questions about the future they want.

    To maximise the inclusivity of the process, we are making sure that people without access to the internet and mobile phones can also participate. To that end, the One UN Rwanda held consultations in Gisagara, Huye, Kayonza, Musanze, and Kigali. In these districts, the survey was made available offline in paper form – distributed through a network of grass roots organizations and NGOs, such as the National Youth Council. The support of these organizations is vital in reaching out directly into communities and drawing the digitally disconnected, illiterate and poorest communities into the global debate.

    To date, almost 56,000 people in Rwanda have taken part in the ongoing global conversation.

    The wealth of data from the global conversation is feeding into the process of shaping the future development agenda that will be put in place after the MDGs expire in 2015.

    During the UN General Assembly in September 2013, the final report from the conversation will be delivered to the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and world leaders, who will ultimately negotiate the future development agenda and goals.

    This is a new dimension in global policy-making: people all over the world are expressing their concerns about the present and their desires for the future. And we are making Rwanda’s voice heard to negotiators and decision makers. This would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. It is now possible, thanks to new technology.

    I encourage you to be part of this historic project and help Rwanda by including your priorities in the future global development targets by voting at www.MyWorld2015.org.


About the Author
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Auke Lootsma is the Country Director of UNDP in Rwanda