United Nations engages Government and mobilizes Partners to accelerate implementation of the Global Goals in South Africa
04 October 2023
The UN in South Africa stands firmly in support of the government's efforts to mobilize and engage a diverse range of stakeholders.
The impending Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit, slated for 18-19 September in New York, is poised to become a pivotal moment for countries worldwide to recommit to their journey towards achieving the SDGs. For South Africa, this Summit is not just an opportunity to assess progress made in addressing vital social, economic, and environmental issues, but also a platform to chart a transformative course with reinforced actions and pledges toward SDG attainment. This Summit signifies the midway point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, serving as a comprehensive review of the state of the SDGs, responding to global crises, and providing political guidance on transformative actions leading up to the 2030 deadline.
South Africa Government’s ongoing efforts
The government of South Africa is actively preparing for the upcoming summit, focusing on critical processes such as the forthcoming SDGs 2023 Report. This report will provide crucial insights into the country's progress, challenges, and necessary actions related to SDGs. Additionally, South Africa has initiated the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process, which will culminate in a presentation at the 2024 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Simultaneously, municipalities are conducting Voluntary Local Reviews, and various organizations, including Global Compact SA, civil society groups, academia, and the UN, are all contributing to the preparations, enriching the overall landscape.
UN Engagements in South Africa
1. Multi-stakeholder Engagement (27 July 2023)
In July 2023, the UN convened a gathering of diverse stakeholders to emphasize their critical role in ensuring that national commitments genuinely represent the perspectives and hopes of all South Africans. This inclusive approach aims to generate balanced, equitable, and inclusive outcomes that can drive tangible and widespread progress, ultimately fostering transformative change within the context of global challenges.
2. Harnessing the Gender Dividend (7 August 2023, Women’s Month Dialogue)
During Women's Month in South Africa, the UN, in collaboration with various stakeholders, hosted a dialogue to underscore the centrality of women in concurrent transitions, such as green, blue, circular, and formal transitions. The aim was to ensure that gender equality and women's empowerment considerations are integrated into policies, plans, and practices to enable meaningful participation and benefit for women. Despite constituting more than 52% of the population, women in South Africa remain underrepresented in key sectors of the economy. Deliberate efforts are required to empower women, reduce the burden of care, and optimize the "gender dividend" to accelerate the country's multiple transitions in a gender-inclusive manner.
3. Mobilizing Youth-Led SDGs Acceleration (11 August 2023, International Youth Day)
The UN Youth Theme Group, in partnership with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), convened youth leaders in Johannesburg's Alexandra Township on International Youth Day. The theme highlighted the vital role of young people in advancing sustainable development through green skills and equitable transitions. The introduction of the SDGs Youth Advocates program aims to raise awareness and inspire individuals from diverse backgrounds to actively support the global sustainable development goals.
5. Launch of the Nelson Mandela SDGs Quotes Booklet (11 September 2023)
In an effort to mobilize accelerated actions from all stakeholders towards the SDGs, the United Nations in South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation prepared the Nelson Mandela Sustainable Development Goals Quotes Booklet. This booklet draws parallels between Nelson Mandela's call to action speeches and the Global Goals, inspiring collective commitments for accelerated interventions in line with Madiba’s aspirations. The book represents Madiba's call to action, urging new hands to champion social justice and continue the fight against poverty and inequality. Within its pages, Madiba's wisdom is intertwined with the Sustainable Development Goals, offering insights, inspiration, and a call to action for each of us to make a difference in our communities and beyond. The launch of the booklet is envisaged to include media, advocacy, government, diplomatic, UN, women, youth, faith, business, traditional leaders, change makers and other thought leaders, at the Nelson Mandela Foundation on the, 11 September 2023.
5. National Stakeholders Dialogue (12 September 2023)
The Ministry in the Presidency, in partnership with the UN Country Office in South Africa, will host an interactive dialogue to discuss national pathways to SDGs transformation. This dialogue aims to facilitate meaningful conversations, identify challenges, and foster collaboration and knowledge sharing to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs in South Africa. The recommendations made at the dialogue will guide South Africa's national commitment at the upcoming 2023 SDGs Summit.
The UN in South Africa stands firmly in support of the government's efforts to mobilize and engage a diverse range of stakeholders. Together, they aim to define national SDG transformation pathways, ensuring that South Africa continues to make meaningful progress towards achieving the Global Goals. In the face of complex global challenges, these collaborative endeavours represent a beacon of hope and a commitment to a sustainable and equitable future for all South Africans.