Africa Must Implement SDGs With Urgency – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo wants African leaders to pursue the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with high sense of urgency.

He noted it has become imperative to see the Goals materialized due to the deficit in human development on the African continent, the high levels of poverty and deprivation, climate change and the teeming numbers of young people who are unemployed.

Speaking at a high level Africa round-table meeting on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, President Akufo-Addo said it will take selfless and empowering leadership, smart and progressive policies, as well as the empowerment of Africa’s women to ensure the full implementation of the SDGs in Africa.

He urged the leaders of the African continent to commit to making sure that the SDGs are implemented in their various jurisdictions.

On his part, the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, said African governments cannot on their own ensure the implementation of the SDGs. He said private sector cooperation is paramount if Africa is to be successful at the implementation of the SDGs.

He therefore urged African leaders to strategically engage the private sector in their respective countries in order for their expertise to be tapped for the execution of the SDGs.

The Roundtable Discussion

The roundtable discussion has as its specific objective to define fundamental enablers to achieving success in implementation of the goals at the Africa regional level and country levels. It is also a call to ignite action and mobilise regional support for the implementation of the goals, propose practical, smart and innovative actions needed to underpin their accelerated implementation.

The six main issues that the discussion focused on were; the policy, institutional and structural levers to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs in Africa; the capacities needed for appropriate data collection to support the monitoring and evaluation of support of the progress made in the implementation of the SDGs; optimisation of infrastructure, technologies and innovation as drivers for accelerating the implementation of the SDGs; innovative approaches to mobilizing resources to finance the SDGs and optimising the role, expertise and resources of the private sector.

The others are targeting actions of a “quick win” nature to accelerate the empowerment of women towards achieving the SDGs and opportunities for sharing best practices in the implementation of the SDGs and defining a strategy to scale up such practices.

Launched on 21st January, 2016, on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates consist of 17 eminent persons assisting the UN Secretary-General in the campaign to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that world leaders unanimously adopted in September 2015.

With a mandate to support the Secretary-General in his efforts to generate momentum and commitment to achieve the SDGs by 2030, the SDG Advocates have been working to promote the universal sustainable development agenda, to raise awareness of the integrated nature of the SDGs, and to foster the engagement of new stakeholders in the implementation of these goals.

The advocates are: H.E. Mrs. Erna Solberg (Co-Chair) Prime Minister of Norway; H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (Co-Chair) and President of Ghana; Mr. Richard Curtis Screenwriter, Producer and Film Director; Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of the Belgians; Ms. Leymah Gbowee, Director, Gbowee Peace Foundation; Ambassador Dho Young-Shim, Chairperson, United Nations World Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) Foundation.

Other advocates are: Mrs. Graça Machel, President of the Foundation of Community Development and the UNESCO National Commission in Mozambique; Mr. Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group; Mr. Leo Messi, renowned football player and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador; Ms. Shakira Mebarak Artist, Advocate and Founder of Pies Descalzos Foundation & UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Ms. Alaa Murabit, the Voice of Libyan Women; Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University; Mr. Forest Whitaker, Founder and CEO, Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative; Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Doha, Qatar; Mr. Paul Polman Chief Executive Officer, Unilever; Her Royal Highness, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden; Professor Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank are amongst the remaining list of advocates.

The SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

These 17 goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected, often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.

The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. They provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large. The SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet.