Strengthen partnerships to meet Sustainable Development Goals

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 00:00 |
Economic growth. Photo/Courtesy

 Judy Njino

What do the Sustainable Development Goals aim to achieve? The SDGs are words on paper that need political will to move toward becoming actions at the regional and national levels that will empower people.

SDGs were adopted in September 2015 by the 193 member states of the United Nations. The 17 goals set the ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ with 169 targets aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality and tackling climate change.

The process of implementing SDGs has been more collaborative than any other UN process in history. And as an outcome, we have a balanced view of the future we want – representing various sectors and voices, including the private sector.

As part of the 2019 session of the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, countries, UN officials and stakeholders shared their outlook on the four years of Voluntary National Reviews, during which 142 countries released their reports. Voluntary Nation Reviews play a vital role as they help in identifying challenges, are important in distinguishing gaps and the way forward on the SDGs at the country level.

SDG 10 on reduced inequalities has been recognised as the most crucial goal, but strategies to achieve it are ambiguous or nonexistent in the reports. Moreover, it is not feasible to eradicate poverty (SDG 1) with our government’s current revenues. 

Another challenge highlighted was the need to strengthen the SDG capacity of legislators who can further engage for its implementation in the government. 

Government alone cannot attain the SDGs. It requires the participation of the whole society.

Kenya has achieved several milestones over the past four years of implementation of SDGs. With the creation of the SDG Kenya Forum, there is more support from multi-stakeholders comprising key government ministries, departments and agencies, UN agencies, civil society and private sector. 

Awareness-raising among government officials has anchored the 2030 Agenda in national realities. The SDG Forum has in place the country’s roadmap for implementation, which focuses on critical milestones crucial for transition from MDGs to SDGs.

The purpose of this multi-stakeholder framework is to promote better decision making by ensuring the views of all stakeholders are integrated at all stages through dialogue and consensus-building.

The framework aims to create trust between the actors and offer solutions that provide mutual benefits.

The framework also helps to create dialogue mechanisms. It also helps generate and share knowledge, stimulate innovative thinking, promote accountability and strengthen networks.

It is important to centre on those who benefit from the SDGs the most: The poor, children and marginalised groups. There is a legitimate risk that the SDGs could become all about the indicators, instead of efforts towards realising the bigger vision. Unless these indicators are used to significantly improve  lives, we will have failed in this agenda.

The SDGs should be viewed as a springboard, not an end in themselves. Ultimately, partnerships and investments will be pivotal in advancing progress towards the 2030 agenda. —The writer is Executive Director, Global Compact Network Kenya   [email protected]

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