Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, Benin immediately began to take ownership of them. A road map setting out various activities was drawn up. It is being implemented in an inclusive and participatory manner, bringing together government agencies, municipal councillors, local elected officials, parliamentarians, civil society, the media and the private sector. In addition to national stakeholders, the other parties involved are technical and financial partners, primarily from the United Nations system, and bilateral partners. The 2017 session of the high-level political forum on sustainable development is an opportunity for Benin to inform the international community of the progress it has made.
In order to engage all stakeholders in a predictable process of taking ownership of the Sustainable Development Goals, a high-level seminar on the Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change was held in September 2016, with a view to reflecting on the global processes that Benin is involved in, raising awareness of these processes among key development actors, and establishing and approving a full programme for taking ownership of the Goals.
The process of taking ownership began with an awareness-raising phase, which is still under way and consists of the provision of information, and also education and communication, aimed at raising awareness of the Goals among the various stakeholders in Benin.
In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the Government has established an institutional framework structured around four thematic groups (on social, economic, environmental and governance issues). The thematic groups are organized around focal points responsible for planning and programming in the line ministries and benefit from the participation of all kinds of actors, such as local elected officials, parliamentarians, civil society, the private sector, institutions and opinion leaders. The framework is overseen by the Directorate General for the Coordination and Monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals, which reports directly to the Minister of State for Planning and Development. This system illustrates the Government’s commitment and determination to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
In order to establish a frame of reference for effective development planning based on the Sustainable Development Goals, Benin carried out an integrated and rapid assessment of the incorporation of the Goals into national policies and strategies. The assessment revealed that, on average, 60 to 70 per cent of the targets set out in the Goals had been incorporated into national policies and strategies.
Following the assessment referred to above and the prioritization of the Goals, 49 priority targets were identified for Benin. The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal indicators has also made it possible to establish a baseline for the indicators that relate to the priority targets.
Working in an inclusive and participatory manner, the thematic groups have set out to identify, using theory-of-change methodology, factors and strategies for accelerating change. The aim is to identify key measures with a strong catalytic effect that will help to remove any bottlenecks that might hinder the country’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Particular emphasis has been placed on the context and prospects for Goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14, which will be reviewed at the 2017 high-level political forum.
The process of preparing the present voluntary national review highlighted a number of major challenges, including: