Minister Molewa attends high-level political forum on sustainable development at United Nations in New York

17 July 2017

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, is leading a South African delegation to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development at the United Nations (UN) in New York, USA, from 17 July to 19 July 2017.

The Forum is being hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) under the theme “Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing World”. The Forum is taking stock of the overall objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda 2030, adopted at the UN in September 2015.

Ministers from across the globe will be assessing trends related to implementation of Agenda 2030 and identify issues that may affect future achievements and the actions required to address these.

Minister Molewa will also be participating in the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) High-Level panel discussion on how the development of green and more inclusive economies and financial mechanisms are delivering on the SDGs.

Following the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, signed by President Jacob Zuma at the UN in September 2015, the HLPF was designated a central role in overseeing a network of follow-up and review processes for the SDGs at the global level, working coherently with the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC and other relevant organs and forums to develop a negotiated ministerial declaration.

The first Forum was held in 2014. The meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2017 is focusing its discussions on the SDG Goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14 including Goal 17, which include the areas of ending poverty, ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture, building resilient infrastructure, conserving and sustainably using the oceans and marine resources for sustainable development in line with the Goal directed at strengthening the means of implementation and revitalisation of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

Minister Molewa said South Africa welcomed progress made thus far with regards to the implementation of the SDGs worldwide.

“We note that given the reality of countries being at different levels of development, success will be largely uneven and where progress has been made; there could be under-reporting given the enormous challenge of available, accurate, timely and verifiable data in some countries in Africa and across the developing world,” said Minister Molewa.

The Minister has appealed to the UN Secretary-General that the UN system work collaboratively to share information, tools and expertise necessary for the gathering and centralisation of data sources required to improve the quality of reporting by individual countries.

South Africa commended the work undertaken by the UN Statistics Division in its commitment to the advancement of the global statistical system  and called, amongst others, for capacity building in the area of undertaking reporting in developing countries; supporting and improving data collection and quality; ensuring that reporting obligations do not overburden administrations; better aligning and communicating between the sub-national, national, regional and international levels; adopting an inclusive approach when formulating national strategies and ensuring that those strategies are based on sustainable development principles and objectives.

During the 2017 Africa Regional Forum on sustainable development in Ethiopia earlier this year, continental leaders has discussed eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in Africa, achieving gender quality and women empowerment, and identifying agriculture, resilient infrastructure, industry, innovation, and sustainable management of marine resources as some of the priority areas for domestic and foreign investments.

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Zanele Mngadi
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