The Sustainable Development Goals in South Africa
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in South Africa:
31 October 2022
Celebrating 7 years of partnerships between the South African Government and the UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE)
PRETORIA: Following seven-year term in South Africa, PAGE’s core engagement in South Africa is coming to an end. PAGE UN Agencies and national partners are collaborated to hold a PAGE Transition Ceremony to facilitate continued long-term action towards building an Inclusive Green Economy (IGE). The most important output of this Transition Ceremony was the sensitization and sharing of experiences of the work that PAGE has supported since 2015. The PAGE South Africa Transition Ceremony was not only be an event to showcase the progress made by national stakeholders towards IGE and a green recovery, but also a means of affirming sustainable development and climate change priorities. In addition, this event gave an opportunity for national stakeholders to be better informed on steps required to build further on the progress made so far. The event consisted of keynote addresses, closing remarks, presentations and feedback solicited from participants on sustainability planning. The Transition Ceremony presented an opportunity for government to revisit the Sustainability Report for PAGE South Africa: 2022 and Beyond, which was submitted to government in 2020. The Sustainability Report highlighted the key results achieved through PAGE support at the three PAGE outcome levels: national multisectoral level, thematic or sectoral level, and capacity building, which outline various means of sustaining the achievement and bringing impact at scale. Through active input from its National Steering Committee, the Sustainability Report reflects the most recent progress of the country’s initiatives towards an IGE, and what could be further actions to achieve sustainability. The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) aims to put sustainability at the heart of economic policymaking. PAGE is the expertise and mandate of five UN agencies; UNEP, UNDP, ILO, UNIDO, and UNITAR, whose expertise and support assist and lead PAGE partner countries towards their transition to an Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) by providing policy advice, assessments, capacity development and analytical tools outputs. In addition to support and outputs provided to member countries (22 countries as of March 2022), the PAGE also shares global knowledge products to reinforce the work done at the country level to advance the 2030 Agenda. CONTACTS
Moipone Kgatle, Page National Coordinator
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tshepo Mohatle, Communication and Information Management Assistant, DWT/CO-Pretoria Office
Moipone Kgatle, Page National Coordinator
Email: email@example.com Tshepo Mohatle, Communication and Information Management Assistant, DWT/CO-Pretoria Office
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12 October 2022
More than 31 per cent of 15–19-year-old females in South Africa overweight or obese, threatening a noncommunicable diseases epidemic
PRETORIA, 12 October 2022 – The persistent high rates of overweight and obesity, particularly among adolescent girls, is putting lives at risk, as the transition phase between childhood and adulthood is a critical period for the onset of obesity-associated morbidity. Some 31.3 per cent of 15-19-year-old females are overweight or obese, compared to 9.6 per cent of males in the same age range. UNICEF South Africa has launched ‘My Body, My Health: My Wealth’, a campaign aimed at preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) among adolescents and youth, coinciding with National Nutrition Week, 09 to 15 October. This supports the central theme of the Department of Health focus on ‘Making healthy food choices easier’ for all. “The high rates of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents in South Africa are extremely concerning,” said Muriel Mafico, Deputy Representative, UNICEF South Africa. “Investing in and enabling adolescents and young people to improve their mental wellbeing and physical lifestyles, particularly adolescent and young women, will save lives and ensure a more prosperous future for society as a whole,” added Mafico. Young people’s choices to adopt healthier lifestyles are influenced by school and family environments, as well as peers and role models. Barriers to physical activity include time spent on social media and watching television, feeling tired, availability of facilities, safety, and having enough time all of which can prevent young people from being active – COVID-19 related lockdowns presented an additional challenge. The My Body, My Health: My Wealth campaign, supported by AstraZeneca's Young Health Programme (YHP), works to make NCD prevention a national priority and enable young people to live healthily. The campaign, co-created with the input of young people, meets adolescents and youth where they are: both online and offline. Creative design, engaging content, live challenges and inspiring role models will spearhead the campaign to lower the incidence of NCDs among youth in South Africa by investing in their health. NCDs are chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes. Collectively, they are responsible for 70 per cent of deaths worldwide. NCDs are the leading cause of death and disability in South Africa, carrying huge costs to patients, families, communities, the health system and the economy at large. Several NCDs can be prevented by adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and managing stress levels. UNICEF South Africa will leverage its extensive network of young volunteers across the country. Youth clubs, in and out of schools, have been invited to join the campaign, share their knowledge and encourage other young people to adopt healthy habits. Notes to Editors Statistics come from the South Africa Demographic Health Survey (SADHS 2016), as well as the UNICEF South Africa 2022 study on diet and physical activity among adolescents and youth in South Africa. Childhood obesity among children under five is 13 per cent, more than two times that of the global average, while 60 per cent of 20–24-year-old women are overweight or obese, compared to about 14.5 per cent of men the same age. The ‘My Body, My Health: My Wealth’ campaign supports the 2022 ‘National Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases’ led by the National Department of Health.
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08 October 2022
PRESS STATEMENT: Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed delivers this year’s Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture
Cape Town – In delivering this year’s annual 12th Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, last night reminded her audience that as the world continues to mourn the late Archbishop’s loss, we “celebrate his legacy, which has never been more relevant in our world of great pain”. She exalted the late Archbishop Tutu’s leadership qualities, describing him as a civil servant “who served throughout his life as a towering global figure for peace and an unwavering voice for the voiceless.” He stood above all for courageous hope and healing, based on principles rooted in pragmatism, she added. This year’s lecture, under the theme, A Vision for Hope and Healing in a Time of Crisis, marked the first posthumous in-person address following the passing of Archbishop Tutu last year. Other leaders who gave previous lectures include the former South African first lady and human rights activist, Gracá Machel, the late and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson. The lecture series, organized by the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, aims to foster a meaningful dialogue on healing and reconciliation as South Africa strives to rise above its fractured past and current challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and gender-based violence – severe issues that threaten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030. “Our world is in crisis with Africa left behind, yet again,” the Deputy Secretary-General lamented, “Nearly three years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, nations across the world, particularly African countries, face a multitude of cascading and compounding crises”. These included increased poverty, hunger, lack of access to healthcare and quality education and thus leading to greater inequalities while social cohesion is fraying, and xenophobia, nationalism, hate speech and radicalization are on the rise, she added. “However, it doesn’t have to be this way,” Ms. Mohammed reminded her audience. “Our planet is packed with the resources we need to thrive, plentiful food and water, and boundless renewable energy. These are unique, irreplaceable resources that must be treasured, protected and handed down from generation to generation.” Speaking on the UN Agenda 2030 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the Deputy Secretary-General described the alignment of the two agendas as “a pathway to a world that cherishes human dignity; a world free of poverty, hunger, violence and injustice.” Ms. Mohammed encouraged people to follow in the footsteps of the late archbishop, in pursuing education as he believed that “education is the most powerful tool that a person can receive to ensure their independence, self-sufficiency and equality.” Archbishop Tutu was a teacher by profession during his early years. The Deputy Secretary-General noted that the late anti-apartheid activist embodied values of peace, which still resonate today as the archbishop “understood that peace, in its broader conception, can only be achieved if we approach humanity as a community in which – as in any African village – everyone takes care of each other.” The full address by the Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed can be accessed here. Photo’s can be accessed here. - ENDS - For further information, please contact Ntombenhle Shezi, Advocacy and Communications Manager, Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 21 552 7524; or Zeenat Abdool, Associate Public Information Officer, UN South Africa at email@example.com or +27 82 778 8080.
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29 September 2022
The 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture — A Vision for Hope and Healing
5 September 2022 – Cape Town - The 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture returns on 7 October 2022, marking the first Lecture since Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s passing at the end of 2021. The event is being held on Archbishop Tutu’s birthday and will honour his extraordinary life while reflecting his legacy into the future. The heart of the Peace Lecture is rooted in the Foundation’s work to transform our collective consciousness through the courageous pursuit of healing, inspired by the legacy that Archbishop Tutu left for us. In the last few years, we all witnessed the devastating impact of a global pandemic, climate change and conflict. The Arch, as he was fondly known, held a lifelong conviction that one can only get through hard times by holding on to hope. As he put it, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” In line with this, the 12th International Peace Lecture theme is: A Vision for Hope and Healing. Chairperson of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Niclas Kjellström-Matseke noted, “We are excited to bring to Cape Town the voices of two powerful and globally influential individuals to deliver this year’s lecture.” The two speakers are Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, who will appear with best-selling author Doug Abrams. Kjellström-Matseke went on to say, “Amina Mohammed, through her extraordinary work as a global leader can share an inspiring vision for global development. This is well-paired with Doug Abrams’ intimate portraits and ability to draw out the wisdom of many of the elders of our times. I am confident that this will be a powerful moment for us to reimagine the possibilities of a bold future, shaped by collective healing and humanity.” Deputy Secretary-General Mohammed is credited as being one of the key architects of the Sustainable Development Goals, setting an agenda for how we can develop flourishing societies and planet. She is a globally recognised leader in action to prevent climate change, having served as the Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Abrams is best-known for his collaborative work with Archbishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama to co-author The Book of Joy. He has worked with other Nobel Laureates including Nelson Mandela, Jody Williams, and Elizabeth Blackburn, as well as many visionary scientists. His latest collaboration was the Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times with Jane Goodall, published in 2021. CEO of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, Janet Jobson, noted that, “A conversation that calls on us to project towards a hopeful future is incomplete without the perspective of the youth. We are thus including elements in the overall event for young people and children’s voices to be powerfully heard.” One way this will be achieved is through a children’s art exhibition at the Cape Town City Hall on the evening of the event. We are inviting young people under the age of eighteen to submit artworks depicting their own visions for hope and healing. Interested participants can post their artworks on social media and tag us, email, or send their submissions to us using the details below: Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Physical address: The Old Granary, 11 Buitenkant St, Cape Town, 8001 We invite everyone to join us for this powerful dialogue at the Cape Town City Hall, 7 October 2022; 19h00-21h00. Book your free tickets for The 12th Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture (quicket.co.za) or stream the lecture on tutu.org.za. For media queries and interviews contact: Ntombenhle@tutu.org.za *Note to Editors About the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (DLTLF) Founded in 2013, the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (DLTLF) strives to take the example of its founders into the future, in part by growing and facilitating powerful and timely voices of moral courage on some of the most pressing issues of our time. Visit tutu.org.za for more information.
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05 September 2022
Number of COVID-19 orphans nears 150,000 in South Africa
PRETORIA, 05 September 2022 – COVID-19 associated deaths have left nearly 150,000 children as orphans, according to latest data modelling from Imperial College London, as part of the Global Reference Group for Children Affected by COVID-19: Joint Estimates and Action. That number rises to 207,400 when including children who have lost their primary or secondary caregiver, such as a grandparent. The tragic figures reiterate the importance of a holistic and child centred response to the broad ranging impact of COVID-19 on childhood, particularly to protect and support children who have been left without one or both parents, or another primary or secondary caregiver. “Children’s lives have been devastated by the pandemic in so many ways and for those who have lost parents or caregivers the deep scars will last forever,” said Muriel Mafico, UNICEF South Africa, Deputy Representative. “But with love and care, access to social protection, education and opportunities for growth and development, these children can recover, thrive and realize their full potential,” added Mafico. The loss of parental support and loved ones during childhood can have a long-lasting impact on mental and physical health. These children are more likely to experience violence and abuse and be neglected and exploited. “A nurturing, protective and stable family environment at home is vital for positive childhood experiences, yet for orphaned children this is too often a distant dream,” said Mafico. Efforts to scale up and strengthen the capacity of family-based care and social protection systems are critical to enhance family resilience and help to prevent any recourse to institutional care. UNICEF South Africa is working with partners to protect every child’s right to live and grow up in an environment that supports their physical, psychological, social and emotional development. This includes through: Scaling up access to interventions such as Safe Parks that provide a protective and caring environment in which children are nurtured by professionals and caregivers, where they can play, receive learning support, counselling and health services. Engaging caregivers and households in early childhood development, from learning through play to positive parenting techniques, including building knowledge and skills about how to best nurture children. Building the capacity of teachers to best support the psychosocial needs of the most vulnerable children in the school environment and in-turn ensure school retention. Building the capacity of staff in primary health care facilities and community health workers to provide integrated services to children that best protect their mental and physical health. Increasing uptake of the Child Support Grant to ensure that the most vulnerable households receive help alleviate some of the stresses of everyday life, whilst closing the exclusion rate of 2.2 million eligible children. Providing the most vulnerable youth with access to skills building opportunities, as well as work and entrepreneurial mentorships and opportunities. The tragic and increasing number of COVID-19 orphans is also a reminder that COVID-19 is not over, and the virus has led to the deaths of more than 1-million people globally in 2022 alone, according to WHO figures. Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to prevent serious illness or death. In June this year, The Lancet estimated that 19.8 million lives were saved during the first year of COVID-19 vaccinations, December 2020 to December 2021. UNICEF South Africa continues its COVID-19 response with the National and Provincial Departments of Health to help build further momentum towards the 70% coverage target of the adult population by the end of 2022. This includes strengthening vaccine cold chain management and systems, as well as communication and community engagement work to bolster COVID-19 vaccine coverage, as well as routine childhood immunization. UNICEF South Africa is extremely grateful for the support received towards the COVID-19 vaccine response from donors including the Government of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office, the Government of Japan and the Cotton On Foundation. Notes to Editors: Imperial College London provides a regularly updated chart on estimates of orphanhood in South Africa and across the world and is available here The Global Reference Group for Children Affected by COVID-19 and Crisis is hosted by and linked to the World Health Organisation to develop up to date evidence of the numbers of children affected by COVID-19 associated orphanhood, and to support policy and programming that can mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on children and adolescents. The Lancet study, Global impact of the first year of COVID-19 vaccination: a mathematical modelling study is available here. COVID-19 associated orphans are defined as being under age 18 and having lost one or both parents.
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02 August 2023
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