Governance reforms and right targeting criteria required to promote the ‘leaving no one behind’ principle
By Mally Likukela
Managing Director, Twilight Capital Consulting
The recent announcement of new fishing quotas application requirements has left many pondering on the seriousness of government’s principle of leaving no one behind. If this announcement is anything to go about, President Hage Geingob’s vision of a Namibian House, “where no one should feel left out” will not be met anytime soon as the announcement appears to be conveying a massage of exclusion (leaving out the poorest and most marginalized groups in Namibia).
Looking at the most crucial change (so far the bone of contention) in the application requirement – Applicants must be a shareholding (PTY) (Ltd)), one is reminded of what Nelson Mandela once said: ‘A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones’ (Mandela, 1995). The changes seems to be preferring the highest citizen (the PTY (ltd)) owners over the Section 21 companies, trusts, cc etc. (the lowest, where the majority poor and previously disadvantaged are found), which is exactly what Mr. Mandela was bemoaning and urging leaders to desist from.
Leaving no one behind requires changes to governance setups. Prioritizing marginalized populations is a political process that needs different strategies to be implemented. For Namibia, given the lessons obtained from various inclusive policies that have not attained the desirable objectives, we recommended three elements of governance reform that are likely to bring better results (more inclusivity). These are (1) moving away from the siloed approach of different ministries that are responsible for ‘their’ sector of policy change; (2) an increase in the inclusivity of political institutions; and (3) establishing a monitoring process to track outcomes.
Criteria for right target: Who is left behind
Leaving no one behind is the moral issue of our age, and must be entrenched in all Government policies (i.e. inclusive Natural resources beneficiation). To achieve inclusivity, Government should empower the furthest left behind groups, giving them voice and widening their choices and allowing then access to the mainstream economy. To do this, the first step, prior to any action is to identify the right target (the most vulnerable, discriminated against and excluded groups of people and understand their circumstances). Recognizing of the right target is essential both for identifying where the need is greatest and to monitor implementation.
In this regard, we recommends four criteria that can help enhance government targeting of population groups or subgroups that are likely to be left behind in line with the living no one behind principle. Applying these principles will also help to answer whether the new fishing quota application requirements promotes inclusivity or exclusivity. The hard to reach: Government should identify the subgroups of population that are difficult to target for a variety of reasons such as being small (in the minority) or having specific characteristics such as illness, occupation, etc. Hidden population: These are a subgroups of population that prefers to be hidden for fear of being judged by society due to maybe their sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or cultural practices, etc. These subgroup are likely to be excluded if government does not make efforts to identify them and bring them on board. Excluded, marginalized, and discriminated: Although the three are different, all share the same characteristics, they are often “known” but “ignored” in one way or another. When implementing a government policy that is intended to bring everyone on board, certain ethnic groups, certain age groups, sex, occupation, etc., are usually left behind simply because everyone knows them, but no one takes responsibility over their specific needs, and thus tend to be ignored and eventually left behind. Vulnerable sub-population groups: This is a subgroup that is mostly disadvantaged due to its socio-economic situation. This includes the uninsured, low income, slums, or elderly groups. In terms of economic participation or grouping, the majority of this subgroup are participants of Section 21 companies, trusts, CCs, etc.