Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has warned that the current international condition has not been conducive to sustainable development despite many countries incorporating the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) into their national development plans.
Molewa was speaking at a High Level Ministerial Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council in New York focused on achieving the MDGs and charting the best way forward for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda.
With a MDG deadline just over a year away, the language is predictably urgent, re-doubling efforts, greater political will and galvanising action.
Molewa called for a post-2015 agenda that was balanced among social, economic and environmental concerns.
"Countries across the globe have differing levels of development and therefore the post 2015 agenda can never adopt a one-size-fits all approach, as some of the colleagues have already said, but should provide for a roadmap that will enable us, especially developing countries to develop in a sustainable manner. The post 2015 agenda should be guided by the Rio principles in particular the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities," she says.
South Africa views poverty eradication, addressing inequality and job creation as an overarching outcome of sustainable development
The Minister called for countries to be accorded the policy space to define their paths to sustainable development based on national circumstances and priorities. While supporting calls for continued official development assistance, which reached a record high in 2013, to help developing countries realise the MDGs by next year’s deadline.
Molewa says, "South Africa views poverty eradication, addressing inequality and job creation as an overarching outcome of sustainable development. Therefore, poverty eradication, inequality and job creation efforts should take "a multi-dimensional approach" and must cut across all the relevant thematic areas and sectors. Furthermore, gender equality and women’s rights are key to addressing the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals."
She believes the MDGs demonstrated that international goals, targets and indicators could galvanise action and political will towards a core set of development priorities.
"South Africa emphasises that the process of elaborating a post 2015 agenda should not side-track global commitments towards the attainment of the MDGs. It is against this context that, post 2015 agenda should be a roadmap facilitating a "transformational agenda" fostering the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development," Molewa says.
Formal negotiations for the post-2015 agenda will be informed by this high level meeting but will officially commence during the 69th session of the General Assembly in September this year.