Ahead of the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July, the Pan-African nonprofit African Monitor (AM), focused on promoting accelerated delivery of people-centered sustainable development agenda in Africa, is set to host a symposium aimed at giving the South African civil society the opportunity to contribute to the country’s progress report on SDGs implementation. The symposium is scheduled for June 12-14, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is the United Nations’ central platform for annual follow-up and review of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year’s Forum is scheduled for July 15-18 in New York, under the theme of “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.” The 2019 HLPF will specifically focus on SDG 4 (Quality Education); SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth); and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities). Other goals that will be in focus this year include SDG 13 (Climate Action); SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) as well as SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).
“African Monitor (AM), in partnership with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), will host a symposium to give voice to civil society in South Africa, in order to contribute to the national report on sustainable development,” says a press statement by AM. “This civil society national conference takes place in the backdrop of an extremely fragile and disheartened civil society, which receives little support from its government. We believe that it is essential to create space for South Africans to share their story, in hopes that their newly elected leadership will listen and act.”
According to AM, South Africa had in the three previous years performed poorly across all key indicators for measuring the implementation of the global development agenda –employment, inclusive economic growth, community safety and crime as well as environmental sustainability. Again, AM believes many South African citizens still knew nothing about the SDGs for which reason it said, the first step for South Africa ought to have been conducting of a nation-wide review of the country’s performance in the implementation of the SDGs – ahead of the HLPF.
“No such review has taken place at the institutional level. Instead, the system has chosen to write a government report that says nothing about what the people of South Africa experience. It is this kind of approach that makes it impossible for the nation to coherently move forward in ways that are transparent and accountable to effectively address development challenges. South African civil society, including African Monitor, has been calling on government to create the opportunity and open up the space for real engagement around SDG’s and the National Development Plan. Such calls have fallen on deaf ears.”
Every year, member states of the UN present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) before the HLPF. In 2019, 47 countries have volunteered to present their national voluntary reviews to the HLPF.
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