09/12/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/12/2023 07:31
Remarks by Ms. Maropene Ramokgopa Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the dialogue on "Strategies for Accelerating SDG Achievement in South Africa"
Dr Kefiloe Masiteng, our Program Director and Secretary of the National Planning Commission,
Your Excellency, Mr Nelson Muffuh, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Office in South Africa,
Mr Risenga Maluleke, Statistician-General of South Africa, Mr Ayodele Odusola, UNDP Resident Representative Representative of the UN Global Compact,
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Representatives of Various Agencies of the UN and Development Partners, Representatives of Government Departments,
Ladies and Gentleman Good Afternoon
I am excited to be part of this important Dialogue which is a result of the growing partnership between the Ministry of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and the United Nations (UN) in South Africa. We gathered this afternoon to exchange views on the most important global initiatives of our time - the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
As you know, the SDGs comprise of 17 goals that represent a shared vision for a better world. A world where prosperity, peace, and environmental sustainability coexist.
Sustainable development is not just an international commitment, but also a deeply personal and national responsibility. As we talk about the SDGs, we are talking about the future of our country, the well-being of our citizens, and the health of our planet.
In the context of South Africa, we recognize the inextricable link between the SDGs and our own lodestar, the National Development Plan Vision 2030 (NDP) and the Continental blueprint for Africa's development, African Union's Agenda 2063. The SDGs have the potential to accelerate the implementation of the NDP by encouraging more policy coherence and minimizing duplication and inefficiencies.
Equally, both SDGs and the NDP are strongly aligned on the critical role of multi-stakeholder partnerships in accomplishing the country's development goals.
Therefore, South Africa remains dedicated to tackling global environmental, economic, social, and political challenges by 2030 through its commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
To achieve these goals, South Africa must work with the regional and international community to transform the mandate and functioning of global and local economies at a leadership, infrastructure, investment, and operational level in order to address fundamental developmental challenges including unemployment, inequality, and poverty in the country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are on the eve of the 2023 SDG Summit scheduled to take place in New York. The Summit will mark the halfway point to the 2030 deadline and will create a platform for high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030.
We are aware that the Summit is being convened in a context of everchanging global dynamics including but not limited to the ongoing conflicts in some parts of the globe, the increasing prevalence of natural disasters, and the reconfiguration of global markets and economies.
Notably, the recovery from the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic has not been easy for many countries particularly those in Africa and other developing regions. Recent assessments by the United Nations, indicate that these countries have been set back by as much as twenty years in their efforts to achieve sustainable development.
Therefore, during the upcoming SDG Summit, world leaders must come together to co-create a 'Rescue Plan for People and Planet'.
The UN Secretary-General, His Excellency, Mr António Guterres is urging national and global commitments to promote SDG transformation for inclusion and sustainability in the years ahead.
We believe this summit is necessary for new momentum to stop the regression and accelerate SDG progress in a global multisectoral initiative. We must underscore the importance of working together through strengthening global solidarity.
At a domestic level, South Africa has developed several policy instruments and initiatives that are geared toward the country transitioning to a sustainable and climate-resilient development pathway.
Notably, the development of a Just Transition Framework by South Africa's Presidential Climate Commission (PCC), underscores that combating climate change is not only an environmental imperative but a socio-economic one as well.
South Africa continues to reaffirm its commitment to co-creating and implementing strategies that are not only environmentally sustainable but also socially and economically just.
This means ensuring that the transition to a low-carbon economy is fair and equitable by taking into consideration the needs of all stakeholders, including marginalized communities and workers in industries that may be impacted by the shift.
In 2022, South Africa undertook an SDG Diagnostic Scoping Note assessment exercise to establish how the implementation of the SDGs can be accelerated. The assessment looked at synergies across sectors that contribute towards more than one SDG or Agenda 2063 goal.
The assessment identified policy actions that need to be implemented including the expansion of social protection schemes, growing the economy, and involving the private sector and other actors in the effort to achieve the development goals.
Furthermore, in March 2023, South Africa conducted a capacity-building session to enhance the capacities of municipalities at all levels to implement the recommendations of the Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). These reviews are considered a potential tool to accelerate the localization of the SDGs by reporting on the implementation of these goals by cities, regions, and local governments.
The development of VLR capacity building will also promote a better understanding of the linkages between South Africa's second Voluntary National Review (VNR) and reporting in 2024.
Strengthening the linkages between the VLRs and VNR will promote the implementation of developmental agendas in both state and non-state organs.
In addition, South Africa has also committed to work on initiatives aimed at expanding training and education in the digital economy, enabling equitable access, particularly for girls and women. Women's empowerment is central to poverty eradication and will promote inclusive economic growth in Africa.
Therefore, investing in education as well as eliminating financing barriers that discriminate against women can increase women's entrepreneurship while expanding economic opportunities and enabling them to participate meaningfully in the economy.
In light of the above, South Africa still faces many barriers when it comes to funding sustainable development projects.
Therefore, we must prioritize active citizenry by promoting collaborations and partnerships across sectors to strengthen decision-making, promote accountability, and act together.
Active citizenry must find resonance in cooperation with individual bilateral development partners and international development organizations to support South Africa's domestic development priorities.
This is key to accelerating progress and expanding interventions with a clear objective and a sense of urgency.
To achieve national, continental, and international development goals outlined in the NDP, it is crucial to prioritize coordination, collaboration, partnership- building, and knowledge-sharing to complement government efforts.
Your Excellency, Resident Coordinator,
The road to achieving the SDGs in South Africa has been a challenging one, but it is also filled with immense opportunities for growth, innovation, and positive change.
Let us commit ourselves today to take concrete actions, to be accountable, and to work tirelessly towards building a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous South Africa.
In the words of His Excellency, Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa at the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Moment in 2020;
"For Africa, the path we must take is clear.
The UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is our lodestar for transforming our world, and the template for global cooperation and partnership.
We must invest in people. We must provide developing countries with the means to achieve the SDGs. We must ensure technology transfer and capacity-building support.
We must ensure that no country is left behind."
I Thank You!!