The United Nations Institute of Training & Research; Training for County Assembly Speakers, on Monitoring & Oversight of Sustainable Development Goals.

Introduction:

The United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations system. UNITAR provides training and capacity development activities to assist mainly developing countries, providing training and learning services to national and local government officials of UN member states and civil society representatives from around the world.

UNITAR strives to respond to the growing demand from UN member States, especially the Least Developed Countries, for capacity development in the thematic areas of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Since 2003 UNITAR provides courses to support municipal and regional leaders dealing with complex public policies.
UNITAR’s research activities are focusing on knowledge systems and their practical applications. They support the Institute’s training activities through the provision of learning environments adapted to respond to the needs of adult learners, thus facilitating the increase, efficiency and outreach of the Institute’s capacity development activities. 

In addition to the above, the Institute also provides training and learning services to national and local government officials of UN member states and civil society representatives from around the world. UNITAR strives to respond to the growing demand from UN member States, especially the Least Developed Countries, for capacity development in the thematic areas of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
It is with this back ground, that in August 2019, the Chairman County Assemblies Forum, initiated this training for the Speakers of County Assemblies as head of Assemblies and County Assembly Service Boards, to receive training in order to guide in the development, monitoring and implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. This was done in partnership with the Centre for Parliamentary Studies & Training (CPST), which has an agreement with UNITAR to support this training. The first batch of the trainees (Speakers) received training in January 2019. This, being the second batch, received training “Parliamentary Monitoring and oversight of Sustainable Development Goals” from June 17-21, 2019, at the UNITAR headquarters, located at the International Environmental House in Geneva, Switzerland.

Objectives of the training;
Day 1: Oversight & Monitoring.
i) Enable the participants execute the basics of oversight & monitoring contrast different forms of legislative monitoring and oversight.
ii) Identify how oversight & monitoring leads to better policy outcomes and concrete deliverables to constituents.
iii) Differentiate the specific role that County Speakers have in oversight and monitoring within the County Assembly.

iv) Distinguish between different barriers to monitoring and oversight and hypothesize ways to overcome these barriers.
v) Apply the lessons to ways that Kenyan county legislatures can conduct monitoring and oversight.
vi) Structure oversight and monitoring to ensure resources go to underserved and marginalised communities.

Day II: Sustainable Development Goals
i) Recall the history of SDGs and compare the SDGs and the international commitments.
ii) Identify how SDGs are measured and will be able to apply the various metrics that the SDGs strive to achieve.
iii) Explain how SDGs can help County Legislatures’ constituents.
iv) Classify which SDGs the county ahs power over and opportunities from the county perspective to advance the SDGs.
v) Illustrate reasons and ways to ensure the benefits of SDGs go to marginalized communities.

DAY III: Merging the Concepts.
i) Extrapolate how oversight and monitoring can help achieve the SDGs.
ii) Hypothesize ways to monitor and evaluate the SDGs.

Key observations/Emerging Issues

Some of the sessions attended included:
1. Position of County Assembly Speakers.
a) There is the need to have the right environment in order to ensure effective Monitoring & Oversight of SDGs.
b) The voice of the Speakers must be protected.
c) That there is serious discontent between the County Executive and County Assemblies which must be bridged.
d) County Assemblies have the power to ensure that the assembly operations run as guided by the Speakers as heads of the Assemblies
e) That law enforcement is paramount if law and order has to be maintained in the county assemblies.
f) There is need to standardize procedures and the way county assembly operations are run/systems on how CAs works.
2. Capacity Building Programmes and funding.
a) That County Assemblies can benefit from the World Bank Capacity Building fund on oversight.
b) Currently this fund supports the executive and not the assemblies.
c) CAF should approach the WB on this fund and negotiate to ensure that the funds are directed to support county assemblies through the Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP).
3. Legal Provisions
a) The law must protect the position of Speakers. Therefore the need to review the impeachment procedures.
b) Speakers, through CAF, can initiate a petition, e.g. get willing member of the Senate to run with the petition. Speakers can also identify champions to move the matter on entrenchment of CAF in law. e.g. approaching a Senator who is respected.
c) Speakers should also sit or send representatives to the “Court Users Committees” in order to get views of citizens’ ad ensure proper access to Justice for the people.

Recommendations/ Next Steps/Follow-Up Actions:

a. That CAF approaches the World Bank and discuss support through the Kenya Devolution Support Programme ( KDSP) to assemblies for strengthening oversight in County Assemblies.
b. CAF identifies a champion(s) in Senate to assist and run with the matter on Entrenchment of CAF in law.
c. CAF can enter into an agreement with UNITAR in order to work out on soliciting support for capacity building for county assemblies under UNITAR’s Rule of Law programme. UNITAR remains a good partner for Kenya.
d. County Assemblies initiate legislation that can allow localization & implementation of SGDs at eh County Level.
e. Initiate sub-national /county reviews of SGDGs. Give the responsibility of giving credible data should be given to county governments.