Speech by Under-Secretary of State Koukku-Ronde at the first Board Meeting of the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development

Speech by Under-Secretary of State Koukku-Ronde at the first Board Meeting of the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development

Speech by the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Under-Secretary of State of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, Mrs. Ritva Koukku-Ronde, at an event to mark the inaugural of the first Board of the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development, Dar es Salaam, 18 May 2011.

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Your Excellency, Honorary Ministers, Chief Secretary,
Ambassadors and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Board of the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development I thank you, Your Excellency, for honoring us by launching the first meeting of the Board. I also thank all of you coming here today for demonstrating your support for the Institute. Your presence is a serious reminder to all of us of the importance of the common task before us.

Your Excellency and Distinguished Guests,
Countries across the world face difficult challenges, such as the food crisis, high energy prices, slow economic recovery and climate change. These challenges are interlinked and often cross-border in nature, and have a deep influence on the lives of the people in Africa and throughout the world. Furthermore, they have made the comprehensive agenda of sustainable development more important than ever before.

We know that in combating these challenges and in promoting prosperity and well-being of our citizens, more ambitious policies and programs are needed at all levels – including local, national, regional and global levels. And yet, the challenge remains: how do we implement these policies and programs in practice? And how do we reduce poverty in a sustainable manner?

To answer these questions, we have to understand that the Millennium Development Goals will not be met unless our joint efforts to combat poverty are strengthened and a truly holistic approach to sustainable development adopted. Eradicating poverty is possible only through economically, socially and ecologically sustainable development. All of these dimensions of sustainability are important and should be considered on equal terms.

Firstly, sustainable economic development, based on an enabling environment which is creating conditions for a thriving private sector, domestic and foreign investments and trade, is the main contributor to poverty reduction. Economic growth must be inclusive and accompanied by effective national poverty reduction programs promoting good governance, rule of law, justice, transparency and the participation of vulnerable groups (especially women and youth). Investing in jobs and private sector development is essential also in promoting social stability, as shown also by recent studies (e.g. World Development Report 2011).

Secondly, ecological sustainability also requires our urgent joint action at all levels. Our globe is facing serious ecosystem degradation, and climate change poses a demanding challenge to Africa in particular. We will have to learn to rely more on renewable natural resources, to use all raw materials sparingly and to prevent further loss of biodiversity.

The third dimension is socially sustainable development. Democracy, rule of law, good governance, respect for human rights and a dynamic civil society create the preconditions for socially sustainable development, which in turn makes poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth possible.
In democratic processes, we should pay attention especially to the delivery side of democracy, namely to government’s ability to respond to the basic needs of its citizens. The cornerstone here is local ownership. We can all agree that countries in the South are the best experts when it comes to their own development, and here the role of leaders and their commitment to the core principles of sustainable development is also crucial.

These three pillars or dimensions of sustainable development are mutually supportive.

Your Excellency and Distinguished Guests,
In the globalised world different development issues are increasingly interlinked, and the number of various development actors and stakeholders has also increased. This also applies to development finance. Official Development Assistance is one element in promoting sustainable development. However, it is also a fact that the ODA will not suffice by itself for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. While the primary function of ODA should be to support domestic resource generation in developing countries, we will also need other, especially private flows of resources as well as innovative partnerships between the private, public and third sectors. There is a need for new partnerships, enhanced cooperation and better coordination between different actors and stakeholders.

Your Excellency and Distinguished Guests,
To meet the global, regional and continent-wide challenges, there has been a recognized need for enhanced leadership for sustainable development in Tanzania, the East African region and even Africa in general.

Leadership for sustainable development requires a leader who understands what this comprehensive agenda of sustainable development means, how to make the appropriate policy choices and how to respond to the basic needs of its citizens. This includes the national development agenda and priorities as well as impacts arising from national and global contexts. It is our common interest that Africa will be in position to fully participate in the forming of future development policies, and for this purpose Finland has also supported the establishment of the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development.

The Institute - founded jointly by the governments of Tanzania and Finland - was launched roughly one year ago. Much hard work has been done since in setting up the institute and getting the work started. Here I also wish to thank especially the Chief Executive Officer, Professor Joseph Semboja and his deputy Programme Director, Dr. Tapani Vaahtoranta and their team for their excellent work.
Now we have the first meeting of the Board, and during these next two days we will discuss the strategic priorities of the institute. Another major issue to be discussed is funding and how to ensure financial sustainability of the institute also in the future.

Your Excellency and Distinguished Guests,
Regarding the priorities of the institute, I would like to highlight the importance of all three elements in the name of the Institute: ‘African’, ‘leadership’ and ‘sustainable development’.

As already mentioned, the main task of the institute is to strengthen the capacity of African nations so that they can reach their sustainable development related goals more effectively and participate more forcefully, for example, in trade and climate negotiations. Furthermore, the institute also aims to assist African leaders to incorporate the principles of economically, ecologically and socially sustainable development within their national agendas and development plans as well as to ensure that these principles are implemented also in practice.

In this regard, I would like to stress the important role of the Institute not just as a national institute but also as a regional and global centre of excellence for sustainable development. In my view this particular focus on sustainable development could well be the value added of this institute, also in relation to other management institutes in the region. Our common vision is that this institute becomes a powerful agent for change not just in Tanzania but also in a wider African context.

Moreover, as many African development challenges and opportunities are cross-border in nature, I believe that these continent-wide and regional perspectives will receive an increasing emphasis in the future success of African continent. Therefore, close cooperation with the region’s governments and organizations – including the African Union - is important for the success of the Institute from the very beginning.

I would also like to point out that training for sustainable development is needed not just for leaders of the public sector, such as the Central Government, Local authorities or parastatals, but also for leaders of the business sector and civil society. In particular, I would like to emphasize the role of women leaders. Cooperation and networking with various partners and stakeholders - including other management institutions in the region- should be encouraged.

Your Excellency and Distinguished Guests,
It is an exciting opportunity to be the first organisation of this kind in Tanzania. Frankly, this is also a challenge. The members of the board are well aware of the high expectations those present today rightfully have for this organisation. Thus it is crucial that knowledge sharing and networking events offered by the Institute meet these expectations.

The Institute must strive to gain and maintain a strong reputation for quality services and products. Programmes and events must be tailor-made to ensure they are relevant to the challenges leaders are facing today. We must provide services that are contemporary, innovative, stimulating and driven by demand. It is also important that the Institute ensures that its services and products reflect the local context, while drawing from the best local and international research and expertise.

Your Excellency and Distinguished Guests,
Finland and Tanzania has more than 40 years of experience in development cooperation and development policy dialogue. Finland and Tanzania are outstanding partners, and the relationship between our two countries is close. We have a good foundation also for further cooperation, and Finland is thus ready to continue to support the institute also in the future.
To conclude, I am very happy and proud to present to you the members of the board. I also have to say that it gives me a great pleasure to work with such an experienced and highly qualified board with a solid background of experience in leadership and sustainable development. The composition reflects also well the institute’s potential to function not only in a national, but also in a regional and an international context. Moreover, I am also pleased that the Board has a good gender balance: more than half of the members are women.

- The Deputy Chairperson is Dr. Flora Musonda. She is the Director of Trade for the East African Community.
- Professor Glenn Denning is a Professor of Professional Practice for Columbia University, U.S.A.
- Mr. John Haule is the Permanent Secretary, of the Tanzanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
- Ms. Hadeel Ibrahim is the Director of Strategy & External Relations for Mo Ibrahim Foundation based in London.
- Ms. Elsie Kanza is Personal Assistant of Economic Affairs to His Excellency, President of Tanzania.
- Professor Idris Kikula is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Dodoma in Tanzania.
- Dr. Frannie Léautier is the Executive Secretary of The African Capacity Building Foundation based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
- Ms. Anneli Temmes is the Managing Director, HAUS Finnish Institute of Public Management in Helsinki.

Your Excellency, on behalf of my colleagues I would like to thank you for the honour of appointment members of the board for Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development. I assure you that we will do our upmost to fulfill your high expectations.

Thank you for your attention.