As an NGO with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, URI fosters its working partnership with the United Nations and its agencies on different initiatives and projects of the UN - among which are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an important project to which URI pays due attention.
With this in mind, URI took part in SDGs IMPLEMENTATION IN AFRICA – REFLECTIONS ON A THREE-YEAR JOURNEY, organized by The Sustainable Development Goals Centre for Africa (SDGC/A).
The conference was held at the Kigali Convention Center in Kigali, Rwanda on 12 - 14 June 2019. It brought about 2000 participants from 48 countries including Heads of States.
It has been three years since world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With only twelve years left to meet the SDG targets, the Conference held in Rwanda brought together all stakeholders – leaders from governments across Africa, the United Nations Agencies, bilateral institutions, international and other non-governmental organizations, universities and research institutions, civil society and the private sector – to critically reflect and discuss the progress that has been made towards achieving the SDGs in Africa so far.
The Reflections on a Three-Year Journey Conference gathered more targeted participants to discuss three critical areas for SDG achievement:
- Revitalizing National Development Banks for Accelerating Achievement of the SDGs in Africa
- Financing Health, Education and Green Water in Africa
- Enhancing National M&R Systems and Capacities for SDG Monitoring and Reporting.
The Objectives of the Conference:
To provide a public forum for a high-level discussion on SDG progress across Africa and of the priorities and challenges for SDG implementation, including the institutional and financial gaps in implementation.
To provide a complete trend analysis of Africa’s progress to date and how far it must go towards achieving the SDGs.
The Outcomes of the Conference:
Through these high-level discussions, it is intended that pragmatic, evidence-based recommendations for African countries to stay on track towards SDG achievement will be developed on areas including:
- the governance and institutional framework for SDG achievement in Africa
- filling the SDG data gaps
- financing, including alternative sources of financing social inclusiveness.
In addition, with over 2000 participants expected from across Africa and beyond, including many women, youth, farmers and other members of civil society, this Conference is meant to inform and to urge everyone to take the information and key messages back to their countries in order to continue to push for urgent action and necessary reforms in order for all African countries to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Following the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, Africa has made many commitments towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030 and the Africa Union Agenda 2063.
At the adoption of the SDGs, Africa’s starting point was lower than all the other regions. Africa was at a crossroads, with low tax revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on one end of the problem, and enormous development needs on the other end. Infrastructure gaps alone were estimated at USD 130– 170 billion a year, with a financing gap in the range USD 68–108 billion.
The SDGs were conceptualized and adopted during a period of global economic and financial transition.
Emerging evidence over the last three years (2015 – 2018) of tracking SDGs progress on an annual basis indicates complex challenges still prevail in Africa. Many intricacies, ambiguities and questions continue to predominate and stand in the pathway forwards towards Africa’s achievement of these Goals. It is without a doubt that there is much “unfinished business” that must be addressed for the SDGs to be achieved in Africa, foremost of which are the needs to:
- bridge understanding between SDG conceptualization and implementation pathways,
- to address global financing for the SDGs in Low Income Countries, particularly those in Africa,
- to raise domestic financing efforts, which still are suboptimal with an estimated gap of 3-5% of GDP, and
- to engage the private sector.
Against this backdrop, the Sustainable Development Goals Center (SDGC/A) convened a multitude of global, regional and national stakeholders from governments, multilateral and bilateral institutions, foundations and NGOs, the private sector, academia and civil society to discuss SDG progress and make recommendations on the path forward towards SDG achievement in Africa.
The basis of the discussions anchored by the SDGC/A’s report is being launched by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda: Africa 2030 – Sustainable Development Goals Three-Year Reality Check. The SDGs Three Year Report produces an evidence based foundation and reiterates an urgent call for acceleration of efforts by all stakeholders in order to realize the SDGs in all African countries.
Further at the Conference, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, launched the 2019 Africa SDG Index and Dashboards Report which has been produced by the SDGC/A and its partner, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Along with the SDGC/A’s SDGs Three Year Report, the results presented by 2019 Africa SDG Index provide a foundation for discussion at the Conference, giving participants a current measure of country-level progress across all 17 SDGs, as well as elements of Agenda 2063. The Africa SDG Index provides national- and regional-level assessments of where countries stand with regards to achieving the SDGs, shining a light on where countries are or are not on track towards SDG achievement and providing a powerful informational tool to ensure accountability and commitment to the Goals.
URI highly appreciate the work of the Sustainable Development Goals Centre for Africa (SDGC/A) and currently am working with the Director of SDGC/A on the possibility of fostering a formal working partnership between URI-Africa and SDGC/A.
The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) is an international organization that supports governments, civil society, businesses and academic institutions to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa. The vision of the centre is for all African countries to have achieved their national and sub-national targets to the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The purpose of the Center is to provide technical support, neutral advice and expertise as input to national governments, private sector, civil society, academic institutions to accelerate the implementation of the SDG agenda across Africa.
May Peace Prevail on Earth
In peace and gratitude,
Amb. Mussie Hailu