"Sustainable Development Goals (SDG'S) of equal value," Minister Molewa tells AMCEN

19 April 2016


Minister Edna Molewa consults with DEA team ahead of finalization of the declaration at the Sixth Special Session of AMCEN in Cairo,Egypt.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa has told a high-level gathering of African ministers responsible for the environment from across the African continent that all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) hold equal value, and that no one particular SDG should be prioritized over the other.

"We are all enthusiastic for instance about the rollout of renewable energy on the continent as part of the goal of realizing Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), but this should not be advanced to the detriment of Goal 1 - which is End Poverty in all its Forms Everywhere," says Minister Molewa.

"It should not be that some SDG's should enjoy greater prominence than others, especially for a continent like ours with innumerable challenges of poverty eradication, it is important not to neglect this goal," added Minister Molewa.

Minister Molewa was speaking at the 6th special Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) currently underway in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The meeting is being held under the theme "Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement: from policy to implementation in Africa."

Ministers of Environment from all 54 African nations are represented in AMCEN, which was established in 1985 'to provide advocacy for environmental protection in Africa.'

In 2015 the 193 member countries of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

Delegates to the AMCEN meeting are deliberating on the implications of the SDG's and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda for Africa.

Minister Molewa has told AMCEN that it was the responsibility of all countries to ensure that 'the letter and spirit of the SDG's are reflected in, and aligned with national, subnational and local plans.'

"The SDG's are aligned to South Africa's National Development Plan (NDP), which has sustainable development at its core," says Minister Molewa.

In the lead-up to the adoption of the SDG's by UN member countries, African countries adopted a Common African Position (CAP) at the AU Summit in South Africa in 2015. The CAP incorporates the African processes on the SDG's and prioritizes the implementation of Africa's national and regional development agendas in order to advance sustainable development.

The Common African Position, emphasizes the need to accelerate the delivery of relevant socio-economic development, poverty eradication, agricultural development and employment creation programmes on the continent.

Minister Molewa highlighted the challenge of financing to enable African countries to implement sustainable development initiatives and programmes at sub-regional and national level, particularly through continued Official Development Assistance (ODA).

"It may be that some want to fund us on the basis of opportunities this presents to the private sector...there is enthusiasm to invest in renewable energy for instance but less of an inclination to fund poverty alleviation programmes. It is clear then that we need to strike a balance," says Minister Molewa.

Ministers at the AMCEN noted that African countries needed to cooperate more closely to mobilize adequate and predictable financial resources needed for the implementation of sustainable development initiatives on the continent.

To learn more about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) go to:


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