Part III: Horizon 2030, National Sustainable Development Strategy: Vision, Values, Goals, Constraints, Implementation and Evaluation

zabAs stated last week, the Vision for Belize’s development captured in Horizon 2030 reads as follows:

“Belize is a country of peace and tranquillity, where citizens live in harmony with the natural environment and enjoy a high quality of life. Belizeans are an energetic, resourceful and independent people looking after their own development in a sustainable way.”

This Vision was created from the collective vision of various stakeholders and these were also mentioned last week.  The key Values listed in the document and characterized as Guiding Principles are:

“Respect for the rule of law and for human rights; Education as a basic human right and a life-long process; Transparency and accountability; Fairness and equity; Strong families as the foundation of stable communities; Multi-culturalism and collective identity; Vibrant resourcefulness and self-reliance; People participation in economic, social and political development; Patriotism; Gender equity and non-discrimination in access to opportunities; and Excellence.”

There is one important value I propose that should be highlighted and that is “Rewarding and promoting Success.” Belizeans always discuss the fact that unfortunately many of us have a tendency to pull down those who are making or trying to make progress.  This stifles initiative and promotes divisiveness and backwardness.  We must instead help each other up and encourage and congratulate those among us who are doing well.  It deserves special attention as this will be critical for us to have success in attaining our Vision.

The document continues by focusing on how the Vision can be realized through a strategy divided into seven thematic areas for Goals achievement.  The first three thematic areas fall under what it defines as the two Pillars for Future Development, and these are:

“A: Democratic governance for effective public administration and sustainable development, (Theme) 1. Democratic governance as a foundation for development, (Theme) 2. Crime, citizen security and access to justice, (and) B: Education for Development, (Theme) 3. Education for development – education for life.”

Horizon 2030 recognizes, consistent with the original definition of SD, that to achieve our Goals and fulfil our Vision, that there are resource constraints.  There is an economic reality that can make us or break us.  The document lays out the fourth and fifth thematic areas as follows:

“One Binding Constraint – generating resources for long term development, (Theme) 4. Build a resilient economy, (and Theme) 5. Focus on key productive sectors.”

It speaks about Gaps in achieving productivity.  It is necessary for productivity to permeate our economy so that Belize can become competitive and resilient, able to deliver the goods and services necessary for our people to have higher standards of living, for us to be able to bring down our very high, painful and unacceptable poverty rate.

I believe that one area that should receive closer attention as our NSDS goes through its iterative process of improvement is the Positive Causality between a strong Tertiary Education Sector and higher productivity and resilience of our economy.  I will elaborate more on this very important point in a future article.

The other two thematic areas are stated as:

“The Bricks and the Mortar – the Core of the Long- term Development Framework, (Theme) 6. Healthy citizens throughout the life cycle, and (Theme) 7. Care for the natural environment.”

Both of these are critical to Sustainable Development and Human Development, highlighting another important  social concern, that is, health, and also the environment.  These bring together the three main areas of SD and therefore ensure that Horizon 2030 is multi-focused and comprehensive.

The Horizon 2030 report ends with the very important issue of implementation and evaluation.  It provides good ideas and concepts for what is necessary to ensure implementation and evaluation.  It states:

“During the various stages of consultations in the preparation of Horizon 2030, stakeholders expressed the view that an effective implementation framework must be included in the national development framework.

One of the frequently recurring observations of stakeholders is that failure to accomplish the objectives of plans and programmes which have been developed in the past is likely to be a reflection of a failure to implement effectively.

For many stakeholders, the issue is not determining what is to be done to place Belize on a sustainable long term development track. – Many studies have already been done, many policies created, many strategies have been crafted, numerous consultations have been held and many documents are sitting on shelves.

For the majority, the concern is putting a proper implementation framework in place, including:

1. Assigning responsibility for delivery of results,

2. Identifying and mobilising resources for implementation, 3. Monitoring and reporting implementation progress against set targets,

4. Evaluating performance to assess results and realign goals, objectives and implementation strategies, as necessary, to take account of emerging developments,

5. Ensuring that the implementation process continues across changes of government following elections.”

This matter of implementation and evaluation cannot be overemphasized.  This is where we usually find out that so-called consultations were “just for show”.

Cabinet recently endorsed Horizon 2030, fulfilling one of the recommendations from the Report.  It is a very important first step and we hope to see other recommendations taken.

We need to move forward towards true implementation of Horizon 2030, and ensure that evaluation and review are timely and continuous.

The timely and continuous evaluation, review and “realignment” of Horizon 2030 must be done primarily by the stakeholders, meaning the people of Belize.  For this to happen the people of Belize need to take ownership of Horizon 2030.

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