Forum rails member states back on course

… Lesotho commitments to building better post Covid-19

 

MOHAPI LEPHALLO

 NEW YORK – Up to 45 countries met under the Volunteer National Review 2022, dubbed the High Level Political Forum, to gauge progress, achievements and limitations endured in the course of attaining strategic development goals agenda 2030.

Themed ‘Building better post Covid-19’ the forum commenced on July 5 and is expected to end on July 18 in New York, USA.

The 2022 High Level Political Forum is the first live seating of the assembly since the global Covid-19 siege which unfolded in the fall of 2019, bringing with it catastrophic implications that threw member states off track towards attaining strategic development goals agenda 2030.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The 17 SDGs are integrated; they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Countries have committed to prioritise progress for those who’re furthest behind. The SDGs are designed to end poverty, hunger, AIDS and discrimination against women and girls. The creativity, knowhow, technology and financial resources from the entire society are necessary to achieve the SDGs in every context.

The annual voluntary national review (VNR) is a global mechanism of action that aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Africa 2063.

VNRs also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilise multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

This year, member states reported on a ratio of SDGs wherein Lesotho was earmarked to make key reporting on key strategic goals, being goal 1-4-5-15 and goal number 17, respectively.

Inaugurating the 2022 VNR High Political Level Forum, Collen V Kelapile, president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said in the midst of all the unfolding global mishaps, member states still have a reason to be optimistic in the current disheartening circumstances.

Kelapile said urgent course of action is key and needed international community to come together to arrest conflicts – whether in Europe or other parts of the world – while also addressing the multiple crises the world is facing from issues such as food insecurity, climate change and persistent poverty as well as inequalities.

He highlighted strategic lessons noted from Covid-19, noting the pandemic has served as a wake-up call in exposing many aspects of which were not right in society.

“This gives us the opportunity to indeed build back better and rectify our ways of living as well as fix the resilience of our socio-economic and health systems, as the theme of this HLPF invites us to do,” he said.

Pinnacling the 2022 political forum was the impact Covid-19, complications of the Russian war, surging food security, impacts seen and felt in the education sector and on quality education, migration and managing resources and the elimination of Covid-19 vaccine discrimination and marginalisation, especially among least developed countries, particularly the African continent.

While resolute fiscal commitments remained available to member states to build better, post Covid-19, from development partnerships such as World Bank and UN development finance facilities, strategic thematic areas such as information sharing, information technology, partnerships and the engagement that leaves none behind were presented as key forces and drivers of building better post Covid-19.

Information sharing and the roles of libraries were brought forth crystal about the role they play in advancing and shaping the recovery and building a better agenda of global member states. Information is key for strategy development; it informs policy and assures quality of planning and monitoring.

Professor Tsili Moshoeshoe-Chadzingwa, from the National University of Lesotho, said information is and will be key in building better post the Covid-19 and attainment of SDGs in her keynote address on trends and roles libraries play in the world post Covid-19.

Chadzingwa said means to accelerate information sharing using information technology and mobile libraries will be prudent to consider as key actions for accelerated action for mitigation and progress realisation of SDGs in Lesotho and Africa as a whole.

In his keynote address on Africa Day, presenting on Lesotho’s experience, best practices and strategies in advancing the implementation of the sustainable development goals and agenda 2063, the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Development Planning, who further spearheaded the Lesotho delegation, Sello Justice Tšukulu said Lesotho has been implementing the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals since their adoption in January and September 2015, respectively.

Sello said the two agendas have been integrated into the national planning and budgeting processes which are supported by an implementation arrangement that promotes cross-sectoral collaboration and multi-stakeholder partnerships at all levels.

He said a Multi-Stakeholder Coordination Structure established in 2018 was reviewed and amended in October 2021 as part of processes to develop internal capacities for Agenda 2063 and SDG-aligned development planning, implementation, monitoring and oversight.

“The review focused on improving communication and dissemination for enhanced policy coherence, strengthening coordination processes for implementation, monitoring and evaluation, as well as establishing operational linkages for oversight and accountability including parliament, the cabinet and the High-level National Development Forum as chaired by the prime minister,” he said

Lesotho will further take part in the Least Developed Countries development conference earmarked for March 2023 in a bid to advance and escape the least developed status for the betterment of Lesotho and indeed the attainment of Africa’s agenda 2063.

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