Addressing the opening of the General Debate at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma called for an improvement in implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
During his appeal, Zuma recalled the commitment made by world leaders last year in adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and SDGs, to address poverty, unemployment and inequality, three major challenges of this century.
Noting that though the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs’ predecessor, played a major role in the world, and in particular in Africa, he added, however, the continent, and particularly sub-Saharan Africa, did not achieve the targets that were set in the MDGs.
“We have an interest therefore to ensure the improved implementation of the SDGs, as we take forward the agenda of promoting Africa’s sustainable development,” he underlined, adding if Africa was to develop faster, constraints such as inadequate infrastructure, price volatility, limited investment in research and development and low private sector investment needed to be addressed.
Referring specifically to South Africa, Zuma added the government had put in place a national development plan that was aligned to the AU Agenda 2063, the AU Plan as well as the SDGs.
Citing challenges at the regional level, in particular in resource mobilisation, Zuma told the General Assembly that according to estimates from a joint AU-UN Economic Commission for Africa’s (UNECA) panel, illicit flows from the continent could be as much as $50 billion a year.
“If we can arrest and robustly deal with this scourge, the continent will have all the domestic resources required for the implementation of its own development agenda,” he stressed.
He further underlined the need to close the gap between the rich and the poor, which has divided countries between big and small economies,
“Inclusive growth has thus become a peace, security and prosperity imperative,” he added.
Zuma further stressed that inclusive growth would remain a dream if powerful nations continued to put their national interests ahead of the global collective interest and that conflicts around the world would continue.
“As a continent, we remain committed through the AU and its Peace and Security Architecture to resolve the few remaining conflict areas.”
– African News Agency (ANA)