Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Young Political Leaders Caucus Meeting 2017 for Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs)

The Konrad Adenauer School for Young Politicians (KASYP) first started in 2010, has now over 120 political projects implemented across at least 10 different Asian countries.

The alumni list continues to grow and with limited resources, the challenge persists on effective follow up mechanisms for those who are committed to politics. It has therefore become crucial to select representatives from various political parties and countries who remain politically engaged and have shown growth in their political career since graduating from the programme. It is with this intention; KAS launched a new initiative called the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Young Political (KASYP) Leaders Caucus in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

30 mid-level young leaders in politics/governance from 8 different Asian countries met from 2nd to 4th February 2017 to discuss the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically goal number 16 in regards to strengthening the role of political parties and actors in promoting stronger accountability, transparency and participation in formal and informal processes of governance.

Keynote speech was delivered by Hon. Dr Fadli Zon, Chair of the Global Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC) and Deputy Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives (Coordinator of Political, Law and Security Affairs). Dr Zon stressed the importance of the Global Agenda, especially goal number 16 as a cornerstone in implementing the SDGs. He also shared the impetus for political actors, including the young leaders present in the room, to adopt this framework and adapt it to their local realities because otherwise this document would be lost in translation. Dr Zon also shared many good practices from GOPAC, a global network of political leaders committed to good governance and combating corruption throughout the world.

The excellent keynote speech followed suit with a stimulating panel discussion on "Impetus for Political Leaders to Lobby for SDGs", chaired by Dr Beatrice Gorawantschy, Director of KAS Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia and the Pacific, Singapore. Panellists included Mr Ardnt Husar, Deputy Director at the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence in Singapore. Mr Husar discussed the specifics of goal number 16 and its global policy development post-MDGs. He too, presented the many avenues of intervention and adoption of these global goals in various arenas of governance along with major challenges to its implementation, such as the lack of data. Nevertheless, he encouraged the alumni members in the audience to adopt strategic foresight and visualise alternative futures. This also provided a useful segway to the more philosophical discussion presented by Dr Lai Choo Malone-Lee, Director at Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities in Singapore. Dr Malone-Lee probed the dialectic between governance and government. This built upon the conceptual understanding of governance as one that is bigger than government but not governing, yet an approach to society. She went through opportunities for young leaders to operationalise governance from strengthening leadership and political commitment to policy integration to public participation, to name a few. All speakers stressed on the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches in tackling cross-sectoral issues as represented by the SDGs.

The meeting then concluded with a one day public policy integration crash course and national action plan workshop facilitated by Ms Joy Aceron, Director, Political and Democratic Reform (PODER) Programme / Government Watch (G-Watch) and Action Research Fellow, Accountability Research Center, the Philippines and Mr Francis Issac. Alumni members discussed in respective national caucuses, reflecting on the processes of public-policy in their country, state of adoption of the SDGs in reference to indicators of goal number 16 and plausible national action plans that can be undertaken to adopt SDGs 16 in their respective party/organisation.

The following KASYP-LC meeting will take place in 2018, where we look forward to the updates on various national action plans adopted at this meeting, along with global updates on the adaptation of the SDGs by expert resource persons.

This article was first published in http://www.kas.de/politikdialog-asien/en/events/71464/.