Minister Edna Molewa’s speech at the Ministerial Meeting of High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development

United Nations, New York, 17 July 2018


Madam President

At the outset South Africa aligns itself with the statements delivered by the distinguished delegations of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Kenya on behalf of the Group of the 77 and China and African Group, respectively.

It was the founding father of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, who said: “Let us stand together to make our world a sustainable source for our future as humanity on this planet”.  As we mark his centenary here at the UN, we are ever mindful of the weight of these words.

South Africa reiterates that ensuring sustainable development that is both just and inclusive requires collective action by ALL countries, sectors and actors, both nationally and internationally.

This development path can only be achieved through multilateral solutions. Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires that our collective actions are fair, integrated and coordinated.

South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP) spells out our vision for the type of society in which we want to live, and secure for future generations. In this context, our development challenges must, firstly, address an ever-changing climate; that continues to render our water, agriculture, food and energy service systems vulnerable.

Secondly, we have to respond to the urbanization mega-trend, where some 80% of our population will be living in urban areas by 2050.

Thirdly, if not planned for, current unsustainable consumption and production patterns together with technological innovations of 4th Industrial Revolution will result in profound disruptions to our current socio-economic, labour and industrial systems.

In this context, South Africa’s NDP prioritises addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment whilst fully integrating sustainable development policy and programme objectives.

Our Integrated Urban Development Framework Policy guides the urban transformation and its integration with the surrounding rural areas. It aims to promote social inclusion, economic development, climate resilience and protection of environmental resources.

This policy fully aligns with and reinforces other associated policies, such as:

  • Water and sanitation policy that focuses on climate resilient water resource management;

  • A diversified and secure energy system policy, with an ever increasing clean and renewable energy production;

  • A sustainable public transport policy that guides infrastructure investment;

  • A circular waste economy policy that reduces material intensity and creates employment;

Achievement of a just transition at global scale requires the full commitment of ALL to the means of implementation as outlined in Agenda 2030 and its SDG17, particularly finance, capacity building and technology support.

It is important for us to focus on resolving the sustainable developmental and humanitarian challenges that face the world, without conflating these with security issues.

Explicitly therefore, we must live up to expectations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Development Agenda and address associated issues of mutual benefit, illicit financial flows, a 0.7 % of Gross National Income (GNI) for Official Development Assistance (ODA) and intellectual property.

We conclude by reiterating the primacy of multilateralism as we advance the sustainable development agenda.

I thank you