2023 Newsletter


As the 2023 season comes to an end, we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to all our partners, colleagues, and donors for supporting African Monitor in yet another exciting and fulfilling year. We are proud of what we did towards bringing strong additional African voices to the development agenda, by making sure that citizens have the capacity, platforms, and opportunity to participate in decision-making processes.

Voluntary National Review Launch (VNR) 

African Monitor on behalf of the South African CSOs Working Group on SDGs (SAWG) organised a consultative workshop of the CSOs planned activities for the Voluntary National Review 2024 on 26 October 2023.

The aim was to share what civil society’s plans are for the VNR processes and to connect to the government’s National Voluntary Review plans. It also aimed to identify opportunities for collaboration.

Read more about the outcomes of the workshop and the speaker’s discussions here- https://www.africanmonitor.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/VNR-Consultative-Workshop-Report.pdf

Civil Society Forum on the New Development Bank (CSF-NDB) 

The Civil Society Forum on the New Development Bank is a collaborative platform started by civil society organisations (CSOs) to monitor and evaluate the New Development Bank. OXFAM South Africa and African Monitor are the co-chairs of the platform.

Recently the CSF-NDB platform has begun to engage the BRICS+ countries in preparation for Brazil to hand over the chairmanship of the New Development Bank in 2025.

Mobilising civil society participation in the Voluntary Local Review (VLR)

VLRs are becoming critical given the increasing acceptance that the 2030 Agenda needs local implementation. Local governments have an essential role in implementing the SDG agenda. Inclusivity is relevant to the VNR/VLR processes, which are central to follow-up and review at the national, regional and global levels.

VLRs are a tool to shape local action for global impact – they encourage learning about your locality and from others, thus clarifying internal sustainable development needs and helping elucidate solutions. They also hold the power to amplify local sustainability by encouraging cross-sectoral collaboration within local administrations. More importantly, VLRs are creating new sustainable visions and narratives.

In South Africa, as demonstrated by initiatives such as those of the City of Cape Town in 2020 and the eThekwini municipality, there is limited experience conducting voluntary local reviews.

There has been an ongoing effort by the National Planning Commission (NPC)  and  The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) to encourage municipalities to conduct voluntary local reviews to accompany the voluntary national reviews in 2024.

Thirteen municipalities in South Africa are in the process of conducting a voluntary local review this year in line with VNR 2024.

Five municipalities have started the processes, including the City of Johannesburg, Buffalo Municipality, Tshwane, eThekwini, and Rustenburg.

Eight other municipalities are at the beginning stages of the process. Namely Mogale City, Ba Phalaborwa, Mossel Bay, Stellenbosch, Koukamma, Lephalale, Midvaal, and uMhlathuze.

African Monitor has been part of the second phase (Gqeberha, 27-29 September), third phase (Johannesburg, 25 – 27 October) and fourth phase (Ethekwini, 27 – 29th November) workshops hosted by SALGA on the localisation of the SDGs through the VLR. In line with the principle of “Leave no one behind”, African Monitor and SAWG members will support SALGA in the VLR process. This will be achieved by mobilising civil society participation in municipalities that have not had stakeholder engagements.

African Montor participated in these events by presenting on gender equality and a whole society approach and mobilizing civil society participation in the VLR”.

Internship – Gijs Boor 

In September 2023, the Cape Town office welcomed a new intern, Gijs Boor. Gijs, has a Masters degree in International Relations and  Diplomacy from Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Over the the three months that he interned with African Monitor, he was an intergral part of the team, assisting with numerous programmes and tasks. We asked him a few questions about his time at African Monitor.

Q: How did you discover African Monitor? And why did you choose to take an internship with our organisation?

A:   African Monitor was one of the organisations recommended to me through VACorps, the organisaiton that provided me with my internship. I decided to pick African Monitor in the end because of its focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am passionate about Dutch foreign policy, of which SDGs are an important pillar. African Monitor gave me the opportunity to obtain work experience abroad, which I felt that I was lacking.

This internship was the right fit.

Q: What was your favourite project to work on?

A:  There were two projects I was actively involved in during this internship and wish to highlight. The first was my involvement in the Voluntary National Review (VNR) programmes through background research and participating in the Consultative Workshop on CSO Planned Activities for the South Africa National Voluntary Review (VNR) 2024 in Johannesburg.

I had never written about food security before, making it a great learning experience which enhanced my understanding of both the SDGs and South Africa.

This equally holds for the second project on the just energy transition and the use of alternative funding within it. It gave me a thorough understanding of the challenges South Africa faces in this domain and also which opportunities exist. Although my internship has ended, I will keep following the latest developments on both topics with great interest. I am hopeful I can make further contributions soon.

Q: Which lessons will you be taking to your next role?

A: This was not my first internship, but it was my first internship in another country.

It was an enriching experience, as it allowed me to further develop my skills. Especially the skills necessary for mapping out stakeholders in contexts and topics I was previously unfamiliar with.

My time at AM, affirmed that I can deploy my networking and analytical skills abroad, an essential skill for aspiring diplomats.

This internship was exactly what I needed at this point in time for which I am incredibly grateful to the African Monitor team.

Thank you for all your hard work Gijs, we truly appreciate your contribution to the AM projects in 2023, and good luck with all your future endeavors. We know you will do great things.

The 16 Days of Activism TOWARDS Gender Equality, UNITE (for) TOWARDS Gender Equality

On 8 December 2023, African Monitor, in partnership with the Centre for the Study of Violence & Reconciliation, hosted a dialogue for the 16 days of Activism. The workshop convened at the Women’s Jail, Constitution Hill (11 Kotze St, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2017) under the theme “The 16 Days of Activism TOWARDS Gender Equality, UNITE TOWARDS Gender Equalityin South Africa”

Despite the elaborate constitutional and legal assurance, gender targeting violence against women, children and LGBTQIA+ remains a pervasive issue in South Africa. It affects the human rights of women and girls of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life.The workshop was a collaborative advocacy action in line with Sustainable Development Goal 17 (SDG 17), partnership for the goals. The main objective was to promote government recognition, acknowledgement, and reporting on the 16 Action Steps implemented by the government of South Africa and the relevant stakeholders during 2015 – 2023 for the accelerated achievement of gender equality in South Africa.

Keep an eye out for the report for on our website. In the mean time you can read more about the aims of the event here: https://www.africanmonitor.org/16-days-of-activism-towards-gender-equality/

Global Public Investment (GPI) 

Global Public Investment makes the case that international public finance has a critical role to play in tackling the climate emergency, preparing for the next pandemic, and financing the Sustainable Development Goals.

African Monitor (AM), in partnership with Development Initiatives (DI), held two events related to GPI. The first was on 16 May 2023 and the second event was on 5 October 2023.

The first hybrid roundtable in May, hosted at Hyatt House, Sandton, Johannesburg, brought together 61 participants to explore shared strategies for financing the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and unlocking development finance through Global Public Investment (GPI). Through these discussions, participants gained insights into opportunities and challenges in mobilizing finance for sustainable development, with a focus on innovative financing mechanisms within the GPI framework.

The in-depth report on the May Roundtable under the theme “Mobilizing finance for sustainable development” can be found here:  https://www.africanmonitor.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Report_Roundtable-on-Financing-for-Sustainable-Development.pdf

The second event, on 5 October 2023, titled the “Proposition for a New Paradigm to Finance the Just Energy Transition in South Africa”.

South Africa is grappling with an energy crisis, and in response, the country has embarked on the Just Energy Transition (JET). JET is a two-pronged response, that seeks not only to transition towards a green economy but also to eradicate poverty and inequality. It recognizes that a truly just transition is an economic and social imperative as much as an environmental one that builds a resilient economy and society. GPI is a pivotal opportunity to finance the Just Energy Transition in South Africa.

Keep an eye out for more about GPI’s role in the Just Energy Transition in South Africa on our website and social media.

Multi-stakeholder Partnerships 

African Monitor participated in the Sustainable Development Goals Initiative (SDGI) Partner Workshop hosted on 02-03 November, at Kievits Kroon in Pretoria. This initiative bringing together the South Africa Presidency (PRS), University of Pretoria, University of Stellenbosch, African Monitor representing the Civil Society, and GIZ South Africa. It began in 2019 because of shared commitment of the German Development Cooperation, GIZ and Government of South Africa (in particular, The Presidency) to advance sustainable development in South Africa.

Puseletso Maile (Research & Advocacy Officer, Dr Dineo Seabe  (AM MSP Expert) and Joseph E. Maniragena (Senior Programmes Coordinator) represented African Monitor.

The objectives of the workshop were:

  • To review progress made against milestones agreed to in March;
  • To explore partner synergies and opportunities for collaboration within the SDGI Project;
  • To look forward and develop a joint workplan for the SDGI for 2024.

African Monitor presented on evidence-based recommendations from multi-stakeholder formats between governmental, non-state and scientific actors on the implementation status of the “Recover Better” plans that have been incorporated into the next Voluntary National Review” (VNR) report on the 2030 Agenda in 2024.

Other African Monitor projects that form part of the SDGI, includes the strengthening the SDG Club South Africa as a platform for a multi-stakeholder dialogue for accelerated delivery of SDGs; coordinating and supporting civil society participation to ensure inclusive VNR processes and mobilising action towards the establishment and institutionalisation of the National Development Stakeholder Forum (NDSF) to strengthen the national SDG coordination mechanism.

We also outlined our multistakeholder participation plan for 2024. The plan has Four priority actions:

  1. Mobilizing the broad society participation in the voluntary national review processes.
  2. Supporting multi-stakeholder roundtables on the VNR processes and content to enable coherence and a “whole society” report.
  3. Coordinating Civil society participation in national VNR processes.
  4. Supporting multi-stakeholder participation in voluntary local reviews

The workshop confirmed the priority areas for collaboration and identified the following high level actions for 2024: Implement capacity building for data utilisation and generation of data to monitor the SDGs; continuous feedback and learning amongst the partners what is working and what is not working; Develop and implement a community outreach programme (e.g. school visits to popularise the SDGs) including SDGI awareness events and the multi-stakeholder coordination that includes collaboration with the National Planning Commission (NPC) in the writing of the VNR report, the organisation of the Open SDGs Club Symposium and the formalisation of the National Development Stakeholder Forum (NDSF).


We take this opportunity to thank you for your valued support and wish you a safe holiday season and a New Year filled with peace, happiness and good health. African Monitor would like to send a special thank you to ABSA and GIZ for their generous contributions to the African Monitor, which allows us to embark on these important programmes.


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