Christabel Ligami

Angola, Cameroon and Zambia, are the countries in Africa mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their national development plans essential for measuring their progress, a move that should be emulated by the other countries.

At the sixth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, (February 24 – 27), representatives of the African countries including ministers agreed that Member States agreed that there is need to invest in data disaggregation in order to be able to measure their progress.

In a joint declaration the countries’ representatives  the countries agrees that in order to accelerate the pace of implementation towards meeting the SDGs and the Agenda 2063 aspirations, the Forum agreed to encourage the participation of the private sector and to harness diaspora remittances.

September 2020 marks five years since the United Nations Member States unanimously adopted the SDGs in 2015, laying out 17 goals for the world to achieve by 2030 with a view to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The UN data shows that there has been some progress on some of the SDGs, especially Goal 4 on education. However, in Africa progress on goals relating to other social spheres had been slower than it should have been. There had been barely any reduction in inequality, which continued to have a negative effect on peace and security.

It was agreed that the role of digital technologies is key not only in improving revenue collection, but also in strengthening the efficiency and transparency of revenue use and management, including its appropriate distribution.

According to the declaration, there was a need to strengthen financing mechanisms through domestic resource mobilization, which would include capacitating local governments. National development strategies and plans should support the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063, hence the need to align implementation structures.

“Given that results-based monitoring and evaluation systems were being introduced in most member States, every effort must be made to develop data collection mechanisms,” read the declaration.

Young people it says must be included in the conceptualization, implementation and monitoring of efforts to accelerate the implementation of programmes for the achievement of the SDGs, taking into consideration the opportunities afforded by the fourth industrial revolution.

“African children and young people should be empowered by being provided with technological skills, as was the case in many developed countries,” read the joint declaration.

In order to accelerate the progress on SDGs, member states agreed that the United Nations and its development partners should create effective partnerships to finance the provision of capacity-building and the strengthening of data collection in order to ensure that Africa can meet the SDGs and the aspirations of Agenda 2063.

“Africa should be more assertive with regard to the resources it requires the global community to provide in order to ensure that it can implement sustainable development, in view of the historical and environmental imbalances it has experienced,” reads the declaration.

Moreover, given that the effects of greenhouse gas emissions are deeply felt in Africa, despite the continent’s low greenhouse gas emissions, developed countries should take more responsibility for their own industrial emissions, following the “polluter pays” principle.

The Forum undertook a review of all 17 SDGs and the corresponding goals of Agenda 2063. To promote an interlinked and integrated approach to the review and deliberation process during the session, the 17 Goals were clustered into five sub-themes articulated around the so-called “five Ps” – people, prosperity, planet, peace and partnerships.

The notion of leaving no one behind could be achieved only through engaging the different groups in the community; women, the elderly and young people should be encouraged to participate fully in efforts to meet the SDGs.