By Charles Nonde, Public Information Assistant, UNIC Lusaka
In September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by all United
Nations Member States. The agenda is anchored on five pillars of People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity and Partnership aimed at guaranteeing growth, social inclusion while protecting the environment. The SDGs comprise an ambitious and interrelated set of 17 goals and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. Following the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, Africa has made commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals Universal Agenda (SDG 2030) and the African Union Agenda 2063.
At the adoption of the SDGs Africa’s starting point was lower than all the other regions. Additionally, 37 African countries were classified as low human development indicators within the Human Development Index (HDI) of less than 0.55.
The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) is an international not-for-profit institution that was launched in September 2015 by African Leaders, in order to provide support technical support, neutral advice and expertise as input to national governments, private sector, civil society, academic institutions to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs agenda across Africa. In July 2016, the SDGC/A signed a host country agreement with the Government of the Republic of Rwanda as an international, non-profit continental institution, and officially launched its headquarters a few months later, in January 2017. Its main engagement and invention areas are; planning, costing, tracking and reporting, financing and governance, setting agenda for policy dialogue, Center engagement on global forums and espousing synergies and partnerships of key stakeholders.
The launch of the SDGCA Sub-Regional Center for southern Africa follows the Host Country Agreement signed in September 2018 between the Government of Zambia and the SDGC/A as a continuation of the Centers commitment to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development throughout the five regions of Africa.
On 7 August, 2019 during a one day event at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Lusaka saw the official launch of the Sub-Regional Center where over 200 government officials, international development partners, development finance institutions, Statistics Institutions and
experts from the Southern Africa and aboard, joining high level dignitaries to discuss the major themes relevant to the implementation in Africa with focus on the southern Region.
The United Nations in Zambia was represented by the Resident Coordinator a.i. Dr George Okech with some members of the United Nations Country Team in attendance. Dr. Okech participated in the first panel discussion on the key findings of the SDGs 3 years report and the 2019 SDGs Africa that was presented by Dr. Enock Twinoburyo, Senior Economist from the SDGC/A.
His Excellency, Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia where present for the launch. During the keynote address given by President Kagame who is also the Chair of the SDGCA Board, thanked the people of Zambia for accepting to hosting the first Center in Southern Africa. He also expressed his gratitude at the commitment to leadership demonstrated by his counterpart in making this a reality.
In his acceptance speech the Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu said the city of Lusaka was synonymous with the struggle for freedom and self-determination in the region. It was a struggle that was successfully waged from here by the liberation movements.
“Today, we meet to rekindle that hope among our people through yet another wave of self-determination from the sustainable Development Front” Lungu said. He reiterated that the launch of the Centre renewed the hope, and win the war against poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and the negative effects of climate change and other challenges.
The Republican President said the centre would bring everyone together and together make the Centre a critical asset in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.
At the close of the ceremony President Kagame presented a symbolic key to President Lungu officially launching the SDGC/A for Southern Africa with Dr Belay E. Begashaw also on hand to receive the key.