THERE are many questions which require some answers for Zimbabwe pertaining to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially on whether Zimbabwe will achieve the targets of the 17 goals? Another one is, were the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achieved in 2015? People may be buffled by the above questions as well as the meaning of SDGs.
guest column: David Mhlanga
The SDGs (or Global Goals for Sustainable Development) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015. They build on the success of the MDGs and aim to finish the job of ending extreme poverty in all its forms.
The formal name for the SDGs is: “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” That has been shortened to the 2030 Agenda. The goals are broad and interdependent, yet each has a separate list of targets to achieve. Achieving all 169 targets would signal accomplishing all 17 goals
After the conclusion of the MDGs in 2015, there was widespread feeling among policy makers and civil society that progress against poverty, hunger, and disease was notable; and that globally agreed goals to fight poverty should continue beyond 2015. In a world already undergoing dangerous climate change and other serious environmental ills, there was widespread understanding that worldwide environmental objectives need a higher profile alongside the poverty-reduction objectives.
The United Nations Rio+20 summit in Brazil in 2012 committed governments to create a set of SDGs that would be integrated into the follow-up to the MDGs after their 2015 deadline.
The SDGs cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanisation, environment and social justice.
The SDGs reaffirm the need to achieve sustainable development by promoting economic development, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance including peace and security.
17 Sustainable Development Goals
Goal one: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal two: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal three: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal four: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal five: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal six: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal seven: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal eight: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal nine: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
How can Zimbabwe achieve the sustainable development goals?
The government must deal with corruption decisively without any fear or favour. Corruption is like cancer which destroys the economy from within. The danger with corruption is that mainly the politically connected individuals will be the people who will benefit from the resources meant to benefit everyone. Those who are poor will remain poor and the rich with their umbilical codes connected to the political masters will remain rich.
Government must deal with massive financial exclusion of many disadvantaged people of the society who in many cases are unable to access the financial resources. The group consists of women, youth, disabled SMEs and smallholder farmers. Financial inclusion is important because it allows the people to save as well as preventing themselves from unforeseen shocks.
Massive investment in energy
Electricity is one of the major important ingredients for the achievement of sustainable growth and development. Energy runs through the value chain from primary production until the final stage of production. No one can talk of growth and development without energy. Efforts must be placed on massive investment in clean energy. Harnessing solar energy is critical if SDGs are to be achieved.
Public private partnership in the energy sector is critical
The old policies that the energy sector is reserved to the government must be changed. The private sector must play a critical role in the generation of energy for the development of industry. The African continent is lagging behind because many governments are bankrupt to an extent that it is difficult for them to come up massive with investment in energy.
The African continent as a whole is affected by the stubborn facts of youth unemployment. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Africa in general are crippled with youth unemployment. Any development which does not involve the youth will not be sustainable. Zimbabwe must come up with efforts to fight youth unemployment.
Unity, trust and confidence
Unity is key if the Zimbabwean economy is to register progress in terms growth, and development. Development of the rural communities as well as the towns and cities. There must be unity, trust and confidence between the government and the business community, between those in politics and the generality of the people of Zimbabwe. The general population must develop confidence the business community must as well develop confidence and trust with the policies strategies and goals set by the government.
These are some of the areas where the government must consider to achieve the SDGs.
David Mhlanga is a doctoral fellow at North West University in South Africa. He writes in his personal capacity.