It was a tale of two outstanding honours for the Nigerian industrialist, business icon and champion of womens rights, Dr. (Mrs.) Seinye O. B. Lulu-Briggs, as she was appointed to two critical positions: Chairman of the Fund for the Global Alliance of NGOs and CSOs for South-South Cooperation (ANCSSC) and Chair of the International Fund for Civil Society. These appointments were confirmed at a special event held at the British House of Lords, the upper parliament of the United Kingdom in London. Dr. Lulu-Briggs is better known as the Chairman of the O. B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation and Chief Executive Officer of Moni Pulo (Petroleum Development) Limited.

The House of Lords event, which was hosted by the Baroness Pola Uddin, a member of the upper chambers, at the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace of the House, was graced by diplomats, business executives, royalty, the academia, and members of the ANCSSC, as well as the 450-member International Network of NGOs and CSOs from around the world who work in collaboration with the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) to deepen the impact of civil society in the Global South – ie Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbeans.

Thanking the ANCSSC for appointing her to chair its important Fund, Dr. Lulu-Briggs pledged her commitment at ensuring that the global community is galvanised to better finance civil society in the Global South for the attainment of inclusive growth and development in the region. Speaking on the importance of such funding, Lulu-Briggs said the emerging economies of the world were now bearing the brunt of both the global climate change crisis and the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic. There is no doubt, she added, that civil society organisations in the Global South will be a vital part of the international development community’s efforts to mitigate and create innovative responses at the community level.

“In my role as the Chair of the Alliance Fund,’ she said, ‘I’d like to highlight the increasing engagement of the Global South in multiple spheres of international development cooperation … this has resulted in stronger economic bonds. But I believe that much more can be done by invoking SDG Goal 17 which focuses on achieving the SDGs through strengthening solidarity, collaboration and partnership.’

Now, more than ever, she went on to stress, the global development community needs to take action and stop the rhetoric on the financing of NGOs and CSOs.. ‘We are on the frontline of building community resilience and responses to climate change and to building-back-better in order to get back on track to meeting the SDGs,’ she said.
The Covid 19 pandemic, she lamented, has reversed 25 years of the progress made by the international community in addressing endemic poverty, for which reason civil society groups in the Global South urgently requires access to financial resources to strengthen and sustain their work.

Speaking earlier, Baroness Uddin praised the ANCSSC for its efforts to bring together NGOs and CSOs to build momentum and energy for organisations in the Global South, saying it was through such collaboration that communities and nations could flourish. She expressed confidence that the cycle of poverty and injustice could be broken if individuals, organisations and communities remain bound by the common objectives of humanity and justice.

Also speaking, a member of the ruling Al Thani royal family in Qatar, His Excellency, Sheikh (Dr) Abdulaziz A. Rahman H. A. Al-Thani, who serves as the CEO of the Islamic Council of Donor Institutions and President of the ANCSSC, said his two goals for the organisation were to build leaders in the humanitarian sector, as he is doing in his native country, and to bring all people regardless of colour, religion or country to work together for humanity. He urged civil society organisations to embark on only projects that are sustainable, to achieve enduring impact.”

The President of the Nigerian chapter of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), Mrs. Efe Etomi said the event underpins the importance of cooperation and collaboration amongst NGOs and CSOs of South-South Cooperation in tackling humanity’s greatest problem, namely, the unequal distribution of resources, whose greatest victims are those who reside in the global south. She commended the O. B. Lulu Briggs Foundation in its quest to reach out to willing partners in order to collaborate on poverty alleviation programs. She assured that AWLA Nigeria stood ready to support the O. B. Lulu Briggs Foundation in driving active support for the vulnerable and less privileged in society.

In her remarks, Dr. Husna Ahmad, OBE, who is the Convener of the ANCSSC, also reiterated the urgent need for cooperation between civil society and international development partners to combat both existing and looming humanitarian crises. The impact of Covid 19 and climate change was global, but even more severe in the global South. ” What we must recognise,” she added, “is that we only have one planet, and we have to consider our children and future generations after us, about how they will look at us and ask us what we did with our planet.’

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