Minister Edna Molewa’s statement to the President of the UN General Assembly’s High Level Event on the Sustainable Development Goals

New York, 21 April 2016


Mr Lykketoft, President of the 70th Session of the General Assembly,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for convening this important debate.

South Africa aligns itself with the interventions made by the delegation of the Kingdom of Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and Uganda on behalf of the African Group. It also fully associates with the joint statement by the Secretary-General’s high-level support group, of which the President of South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma, is honoured to be a member.

Mr President,

2015 was a breakthrough year for sustainable development, particularly with regards to theadoption of the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

We are here today to reconfirm our collective political resolve, at the highest level, to achieve the SDGs, which seamlessly build on the Millennium Development Goals before them. Our collective achievement of the SDGs presents an unique challenge within the next 14 years to ensure moresustainable livelihoods for billions of people, particularly for women and youth, who continue to carry a disproportionate burden brought about by poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Mr President,

I am pleased to report that South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) anticipated the SDGs and is fully in line with both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063. Implementation is therefore already well underway and is focused on addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Our national efforts, in line with the approach of the 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063, are premised on empowering all stakeholders to contribute to the collective effort. We regard multi-stakeholder partnerships as being essential to delivering sustainable development results that are equitable and aligned to national needs.

A most welcome and distinctive feature of the SDGs is the vertical and horizontal integration of Women in nearly all the Goals, while Goal 5 specifically raises the importance of Gender Equality. What we need to do now is toenhance the basis for rapid progress, through stronger laws, policies and institutions, better data and scaled-up financing for sustainable development initiatives by women.

Mr President,

The SDGs are firmly rooted in the UN Charter and the Rio Principles, in particular, the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities. This acknowledges that although the Goals are Universal, our starting points are different. Developed countries have a head start, far ahead of developing countries. They must therefore continue to support developing countries through the necessary means of implementation.Meaningful collaboration on developing and sharing technological solutions is a necessity for the world to end poverty within a generation; enable a life of dignity for every individual on the planet; combat climate change and put the world on a sustainable pathway.

Mr. President,

In conclusion and needless to say, at the end of the day we must all be held accountable for the undertakings we have collectively made in these ambitious goals.

For my country, the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is central in this, as it also has the responsibility to ensure that the necessary support is provided to Member States to help them achieve all the SDGs by 2030.

My Country stands ready to fully implement our fair share towards this global effort.

I thank you

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