The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) contained in the document entitled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015. The new agenda seeks to leave no one behind and aspires to transform the world in which we live.
The 2030 Agenda forms the new global development framework anchored around 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a total of 169 targets covering economic, social development, and environmental protection. Poverty eradication is the overarching goal of the new agenda which is taking a far more ambitious approach than the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by promising to address the unfinished business of the MDGs and meet the growing challenges in the interlinked economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
The SDGs are the core of this new programme for development. The universal nature of the agenda will provide an opportunity for engagement and a new type of partnership to address the global challenges. In particular, Africa can take advantage of this universality of the 2030 Agenda to create partnerships across the goals and ensure effective implementation. Unlike the MDGs, the new agenda is applicable to all countries, developing and developed-rich and poor.
The preamble is presented under the themes of the people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships, all of which are interlinked to sustainable development. The 29-page document titled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” states:
"We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet."
"We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind."
The 2030 Agenda announces a ”plan of action for the people, planet and prosperity.” It highlights strengthening ”universal peace in larger freedom,“ and recognizes eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions.
The chapter on Means of Implementation (MoI) in the 2030 Agenda focuses on three interrelated issues of finance, technology and capacity development. It specifies the relationship between the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) and the post-2015 development agenda. It underlines that the AAAA’s supports complements and helps contextualize the 2030 Agenda’s MoI and targets. In addition to a stand-alone goal on the MoI for the 2030 Agenda, specific means are tailored to each of the goals. It also reproduces paragraph 123 of the AAAA on establishing the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM). Also the call for the establishments of a global infrastructure forum to bridge the infrastructure gap resonates with one Africa’s priorities.
It would be noted that the new 2030 Agenda among other things:
“reaffirms the importance of supporting the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which are both integral to the new Agenda”.
Special Focus on Africa
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development targets Africa, as well as countries facing special developmental challenges, and intends to build on already existing bodies and national policies with regular reviews, coordination and knowledge sharing. At the continental level, Africa must sustain unity and solidarity in its approach to the implementation of this new transformative Agenda.
The African Common Position (CAP)
Africa is the only continent that has consistently provided a common position on issues addressed in key global summits and conferences. These common positions represented a shared African position in presenting the continent’s ambitions and expectations and informed related debates at all levels, and, laid out the relevant issues for the Africa Africans want. In the same vein, Africa has been a key player in the negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda.
The Common African Position (CAP), is articulated in depth in “Agenda 2063, the Africa we want”. This model was also successfully used in the preparatory process for Rio+20 whereby, Africa adopted a "Consensus Statement" for the intergovernmental processes, it helped to drive and shape a range of intergovernmental processes, championing a holistic view of sustainable development, Rio+20 Outcome Document “The Future We Want” called on the UN General Assembly to establish an intergovernmental Open Working Group involving the participation of relevant stakeholders to define the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It recommended that the SDGs be coherent with integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015.
The CAP also called for "an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa, driven by and managed by its own citizens." It is based on six pillars:
- structural economic transformation and inclusive growth;
- science, technology, and innovation;
- people-centred development;
- environmental sustainability, natural resources management and disaster risk management;
- peace and security; and
- finance and partnerships.
Africa was the only region to articulate a common position on the agenda.
The CAP, with its six pillars addressing a wide range of economic, social, environmental and peace and security concerns challenged the international community to pursue a transformative agenda. It was intended to ensure that the new global development agenda adequately reflect Africa’s development priorities. It also stressed the need for the post-2015 development agenda to reflect an appropriate balance of development outcomes and enablers, including:
- institutional capacity development,
- domestic resource mobilization,
- participation and ownership at the community,
- local and global levels,
- social inclusiveness and equality,
- governance and leadership,
- peace and security,
- regional integration and trade,
- infrastructure development and global cooperation and partnership.
The CAP priorities, including structural economic transformation, people-centred development, environmental sustainability and peace and security are all reflected in the SDGs. Indeed, there is synergy between the SDGs and Africa’s ambitious Agenda 2063 and its first Ten-Year Implementation Plan. The SDGs align almost perfectly with the vast majority of the goals of the Ten-Year Implementation Plan, and a detailed look at their respective targets illustrates the strong commonality between the agendas.
Process Leadership and Negotiations
As the continent has evolved in terms of social and economic development, so has its human capital. African negotiators, Ambassadors and Senior Africans in the United Nations System provided important support to the continent in shaping the new global 2030 Agenda. Indeed, Africans among other leaders were actively involved in the global development discourse, and have played an important role in shaping the new universal development framework. we’ll note:
- H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa (Uganda), who as the President of the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly provided what has been described as
“admirable leadership through many complex and important processes, in a significant, perhaps historic, year for the UN and the international community”(United Nations Secretary-General);
- H.E. Mr. Kingsley Mamabolo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations and current Chair of the G77 and China;
- H.E. Mr. Macharia Kamau, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations, Co-chair General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals;
- H.E. Mr. Tekeda Alemu, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations, who, as the representative of the host country, greatly facilitated preparations for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3); and
- H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, who oversaw the CAP and other related processes.
As the United Nations System increased its support to Africa for the process, Ms. Amina Mohammed, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, played a leading role.
The Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) continued to:
- support Africa’s effort to influence acceleration of the MDG implementation as the foundation of the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs, and
- rally international support for Africa’s objectives to be fully incorporated into the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
OSAA galvanized wide-ranging support for the CAP and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 through its global advocacy functions. As the convener of the UN Inter-departmental Task Force on Africa Affairs, and working in close coordination and cooperation with the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning, Ms. Amina Mohammed, OSAA strengthened its continued support towards the successful implementation of Africa’s priorities.
- Africa Week (10 - 14 October 2016)
- UNCTAD 14: Promoting Tourism as an Engine of Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa (21 July 2016)
- High-level Forum: The Africa We Want in 2030, 2063 and Beyond (20 April 2016)
- High-level Meeting during the 60th Commission on the Status of Women (17 March 2016)
- Private Sector Investment Conference for the Great Lakes Region (24 - 25 February 2016)
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“This is a historic achievement. [...] This transformative agenda will open a new chapter in development history.”
The agreement “encompasses a universal, transformative and integrated agenda that heralds an historic turning point for our world.”