Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, February 27, 2020 (ECA) – The Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD 2020) ended Thursday, with delegates from all 54 African countries adopting the Victoria Falls Declaration on the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development in Africa.
The Decade of Action calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges, ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap. Earlier in the week AFRSD host, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa had called on the delegates to leverage Africa’s comparative advantages to improve life on the continent, stressing the need for financial support for the reforms necessary to achieve the SDGs.
With just 10 years to 2030, delegates attending the ARFSD in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, agreed Africa should join the ambitious global effort that is underway to deliver the 2030 promise through new targeted interventions, including mobilizing more governments, civil society, businesses and calling on all people, including the continent’s youth, to make the Global Goals their own.
In their declaration, delegates, including ministers from across the continent responsible for all the 17 sustainable development goals that were under the spotlight at the Forum, called on all African countries to urgently revisit their frameworks for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063; align their national development plans with the principles of the two agendas and set in motion programmes and projects to deliver.
Member States were urged to focus on achieving the SDGs at the local level, through local governance structures; harness diaspora remittances in order to finance the social, health and educational needs of their citizens living in Africa; and adopt a results-based management approach combined with a monitoring and evaluation system in order to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Delegates also called on African countries to endorse the process of establishing an agreement relating to and operationalizing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with the United Nations system and development partners being urged to help to ensure there are effective partnerships to finance capacity-building and strengthening data collection to ensure Africa achieves the SDGs and aspirations of Agenda 2063.
Progress in implementing the two agendas has been made but, overall, action to meet the goals is not yet advancing at the speed or scale required. 2020, therefore, the delegates agreed, should usher in the decade of ambitious action to deliver.
The goals are the world’s shared vision to end poverty, rescue the planet and build a peaceful world hence the Forum focused on people, planet, peace, prosperity and partnerships.
In his closing remarks, Oliver Chinganya, the Economic Commission for Africa’s Director of the Africa Statistics Centre, said; “This is a watershed moment for the continent: challenges and opportunities present themselves to us in equal measure. We count on all our partners and member States to build an empowered, inclusive, equal, transformed and prosperous Africa.”
“We need to ensure that our efforts are equal to or greater than the challenges we wish to address. We have over 220 million people classified as hungry, one-fifth of children out of school, youth unemployment continues to grow and over half of the population without electricity. We must work together to deliver actions that match the magnitude of the challenges our people face.”
The ECA Director said he was pleased that ‘the continent met here and in one and coherent message, agreed to ensure Africa meets the SGDs in ten years. Not a single person said we shouldn’t, or we can’t – we all agreed that when can. It is my hope that the same positive and confident spirit will help us work in a coordinated and integrated manner to implement and realize the transformation that we seek’.
For his part, Zimbabwe’s Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Paul Mavima, said; “The Victoria Falls Declaration has very clear and succinct recommendations that have come out of this Forum. What is left now is to go full throttle on the implementation while ensuring that no one and no place is left behind. Now is the time to positively change the narrative for Africa. This should start from Victoria Falls and yes we can transform the continent. Rise Africa, rise Africa, rise and shine!”
He continued: “We are proud to be associated with the outcome document the, the Victoria Falls Declaration and its ambitious work plan which we believe should find traction in future Forums for sustainable development.”
Over 3,000 delegates, including 60 ministers and other high level participants, attended the Forum that was held under the theme; 2020-2030: A Decade to Deliver a Transformed and Prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Tel: +251 11 551 5826