In the run up to the Sustainable Development Summit which takes place in New York this week, the UN held a media briefing at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton yesterday Sept 22, to provide an overview on the status of implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and how a number of these have been transformed into new development targets, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than 150 world leaders are expected to attend the UN Sustainable Development Summit from September 25-27 at UN headquarters in New York to formally adopt the new development agenda.
UNDP Senior Economist Osten Chulu, unpacked the processes that led to the adoption of the SDGs.They are a new universal set of goals, targets and indicators that member states will be expected to use to frame their agendas and political policies over the next 15 years. Osten said that SDGs should address and incorporate in a balanced way all dimensions of sustainable development and their inter-linkages.
He said that because of the thorough processes under which they were formulated it was expected that the new development agenda would be coherent with and integrated into the UN’s development agenda beyond 2015, and not divert focus or effort from the achievements of the MDGs.
“We have learnt a lot in the past 15 years and this has equipped us to better articulate the new agenda,” said Gana Fofang, UN Resident Coordinator, adding that with the core values revolving around poverty alleviation and elimination, it is a call to leave no one behind.
15 years after they were created, the MDGs have reached their expiration deadline. Progress has been made across the board, from combating poverty, to improving education and health, and reducing hunger, but there is a long way to go.The SDGs were an outcome of an elaborate and extensive consultative process at national regional and global level. All relevant stakeholders from various sectors of society such as parliamentarians, business leaders, civil society and national governments had the opportunity to partake in the process of formulating and agreeing the new goals.
Ms. Nachilala Nkombo, Deputy Director for the global advocacy and campaign organisation – ONE, said that government would need to invest in accountability measures. Representing civil society at the media breakfast, she cited the need for commitment from the South African government for a clear coordinated national implementation plan that will ensure that the Country’s development programmes are well financed.”
The 17 goals with 169 targets cover a broad range of sustainable development issues. These included ending poverty and hunger improving health and education making cities more sustainable, combating climate change and protecting oceans and forests and inclusive quality education for all.