Working Papers

An update on the United Nations General Assembly and implications for African Sustainable Development Goals

An update on the United Nations General Assembly and implications for African Sustainable Development Goals

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26 Feb 2020

Author(s): Gavin van der Nest

The 74th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly (UNGA 74) opened on 17 September 2019, with the General Debate taking place from 24 to 30 September 2019. This was a session of particular significance for the addressing of climate change and stimulating targeted action on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). There were numerous agenda points of UNGA 74 that had a specific focus on sustainable development, on Africa, and on sustainable trade. A particular talking point for Africa was the addressing of illicit financial flows which collectively siphon off billions of dollars out of Africa every year. It is essential that a global partnership is developed to stem this flow and to allow African countries to take the lead in generating the necessary funds for SDG realisation and sustainable support.

Although progress has been made towards achieving the SDGs and selected targets by 2030, it is clear that a redoubling of efforts and much greater global cooperation is needed to ensure their realisation by 2030. There are multiple challenges that countries and regions face, and a renewed spirit of multilateralism and global partnership is needed to pursue targeted interventions, to secure finance, and to ensure sustainable development. UNGA 74 gave countries and parties the opportunity to take stock of the SDGs and to identify interventions and critical entry points that have the potential to target and accelerate progress in achieving multiple SDGs. Developing countries are often stymied by lack of financing, knowledge access, and capacity to address the SDGs. It is only through global cooperation that these goals will be timeously and properly realised.

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