The Mah-susu-mah Declaration

AMARC taking action on Sustainable Development Goals

The Mah-susu-mah Declaration (Community Radio is the soul of the Community)

Shiashi, ACCRA, 2015

In a globalized world, interconnected and interdependent but disjointed and imbalanced, Community Radio continues to play an unparalleled role in bringing a crucial diversity of voices, worldviews and values to the global discourse. However, it is also necessary for Community Radio to respond ever more constructively and strategically to constantly evolving politico-economic, communication and geo-social scenarios and their inherent challenges and opportunities.

In transitioning from the Millennium Development Goals towards Sustainable Development Goals, the international development community led by the United Nations is further giving recognition that peace, inclusion, equity and accountability are at the root of sustainable development. These have always been the values of Community Radio and AMARC 11 is a perfectly timed opportunity to ensure that it performs even more effectively and proactively.

AMARC’s mandate fully reflects the spirit of the diverse communities it represents at the same time that it promotes the equal participation of women, youths and others traditionally marginalized from community discourse. It has preserved and renewed multiple languages, thereby not only revitalizing their communities but also enriching the heritage of the world.

Recognizing that Community Radio is the most closely aligned to community priorities and marginalised groups and those who are typically silenced in decision-making processes (women, children, indigenous people, people with disabilities, LGBTQ)

Recognizing the gap between the global processes to deal with sustainable development for marginalised communities in a systematic and effective way

Recognizing also that the only form of true development is the one that communities own

Recognizing, along with an increasing number of international fora, that community radio due to its role as a platform for community dialogue and debate, a trusted voice, has a unique space and opportunity to spur much needed action and community development.

And, further, encouraged by the commitment in the proposed SDGs to reducing inequality, which is also at the heart of the character and the values of Community Radio

At the same time, the SDGs are to be adopted at the United Nations in September 2015. Following their adoption, they will be applicable from January 2016 through to the end of 2030.

So far, AMARC has not been part of the SDG process in a significant, holistic way. AMARC 11 is herewith bringing out a strong resolve to start to change that.

In the light of the above, be it resolved by AMARC 11 that the following principles be affirmed:

  • Community Radio is critical to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Community Radio is the only way that people can own their development agenda through dialogue, collective planning and engagement
  • Community Radio is the key to achieving social, economic and political equality by ensuring a space for marginalised priorities to be fore grounded and have a voice that is listened to
  • Community Radio ensures that not only is information shared but there is also knowledge democracy and new knowledge is created through a platform for civil society dialogue, debate and consensus-building
  • Community Radio builds cultures of transparency and accountability in order to attain social justice and ensure rights and entitlements for those who are denied these
  • Community Radio creates spaces to resolve conflicts replacing force with peaceful dialogue creating communities, nations and worlds that are more secure and safe
  • Community Radio is a proven mechanism for enabling adapting to climate change and building resilient communities
  • Community radio is a link between global climate change and other justice movements

Be it also resolved that AMARC will:

  • Through its networks and through its global association, work towards ensuring that all member Community Radio stations achieve this potential
  • Take the lead in facilitating and coordinating with the international community in realising the full potential of Community Radio stations in contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and deepening the impact that Community Radio stations already have with and in their communities
  • Make available new technologies and information on global climate change and other critical issues to all partner/member Community Radio stations
  • Create a database on the SDGs that all Community Radio stations could access to create local dialogue and debate
  • Play a key role in enabling these at local, national and international level
  • Ensure networking between and among Community Radios at the local, national and international level and organise the diverse voices in a focused manner to respond to the SDGs
  • Document local and indigenous knowledge to inform the implementation of the SDGs
  • Insist that the UN and DRR recognise and include Community Radio in disaster relief and ensure equitable response at the national and the international level and hold governments accountable to commitments made towards SDGs and climate change processes
  • Share best practices from amongst these efforts with its partners and members and with the broader global community.