Officials Discuss Linking SDGs, Africa’s Agenda 2063
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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High-level officials explored ways to align the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, during an Africa Week event on partnerships.

Participants underscored the need to invest in: youth and women’s empowerment; tertiary education; addressing climate change and desertification; energy; infrastructure; technology development; and agriculture.

13 October 2016: High-level officials explored ways to align the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, during an Africa Week event on partnerships. Participants underscored the need to invest in: youth and women’s empowerment; tertiary education; addressing climate change and desertification; energy; infrastructure; technology development; and agriculture.

The event, titled ‘Leveraging Partnerships for the Effective Implementation and Monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 in Africa,’ took place on 13 October 2016, in New York, US. It was organized by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU).

In opening remarks, Frederick Shava, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), stressed the need for interventions that create international enabling environments for Africa’s development and support its infrastructure projects. He said ECOSOC plans to support existing partnerships and contribute to creating new ones by providing an inclusive space for multi-stakeholder dialogues on sustainable development, such as: the annual Partnership Forum, convening on 5 April 2017, in New York; the ECOSOC Youth Forum; the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum; and a special meeting of ECOSOC on innovation on infrastructure for development, which he said will take place during Spring 2017.

Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency, reported that Agenda 2063 has “63% convergence” with the SDG targets. He said the First Ten-year Implementation Plan for Agenda 2063 is the vehicle for implementing the SDGs, and thus integrated reporting on both agendas is recommended for coherence and for minimizing countries’ reporting burdens. He highlighted challenges such as fragmented and slow reporting cycles, data quality and ownership, and limited information sharing, and recommended: full integration through Agenda 2063 and the SDGs; continental dashboards to serve as balance scorecards; real time, participatory statistics; and information democracy.

Geir Pedersen, Permanent Representative of Norway, said the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) can be summarized in three words: taxes, investments, and aid. Noting that fighting poverty is at the core of the AAAA, he stressed the need for: inclusive economic growth; investing a larger portion of official development assistance (ODA) into improving countries’ tax systems, as only 0.7% of ODA is currently directed to that objective; and mobilizing the private sector towards energy and infrastructure projects.

Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India, said South-South Cooperation between India and Africa is “not a prescriptive approach, but one with which we are both comfortable.” He highlighted cooperation on human resources and capacity building, rather than natural resources, as those are the core capabilities that need to be developed. He said India’s universities have created 50,000 slots for African students over the next five years on information and technology, cyber security, climate change adaptation, and other subjects. Akbaruddin also reported that India has extended concessional aid for Africa in the form of loans and grants to US$10 billion over the next five years.

Mohamed Khaled Khiarisaid, Permanent Representative of Tunisia, argued that governments, civil society, and the private sector do not play the same role within partnerships, nor have the same accountability structures. Therefore, they should work with their own accountability mechanisms.

Yoshifumi Okamura, Permanent Mission of Japan, stressed the importance of national ownership, saying that African countries should plan and implement for themselves. Observing that Africa is largely agricultural, he called for transforming “farming to feed” to “farming to earn.” He announced that Japan plans to invest US$13 billion in public-private partnerships in Africa from 2016-2018 and support Africa in developing quality infrastructure and building resilient systems.

Marcos Bonturi, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said OECD is developing a new measurement framework, the Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD), that aims to complement ODA in Africa. OECD is also working with the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) to build data, and working with donors to direct ODA to the most vulnerable countries. Bonturi remarked that financial inclusion without education can lead to exploitation.

In the ensuing discussion, participants called for: providing youth with affordable interest rates to incentivize entrepreneurship; technological support to address illicit financial flows; communicating effectively to engage youth, to avoid their engagement in protests, terror, hacking, etc.; and catalytic investments in technology.

Africa Week 2016 took place on the theme of ‘Strengthening Partnerships for Inclusive Sustainable Development, Good Governance, Peace and Stability in Africa,’ from 10-14 October 2016, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. It included events organized in the context of the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the AU’s Agenda 2063, which both underscore the importance of partnerships at all levels and across all sectors. [IISD RS Sources] [Meeting Webcast] [Africa Week Website] [IISD RS Story on Africa Week]

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