Malawi is one of the signatories of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were officially launched in September 2015. Ever since these global development goals were adopted it has taken time for Malawians to fully grasp what the SDGs entail and the impact they have on them. To others SDGs are mere principles written on paper, to some they are goals for western countries while others do not even know what SDGs mean. As one way of publicizing as well as localizing the SDGs in the country, Malawi held its first Sustainable Development Goals Fair at Mtsiriza Primary School ground in Lilongwe on 24 October, 2017.
The fair which was funded by the European Union attracted different Non-Governmental Organizations, the UN community, Development Partners, Private Sector, Government Officials, ordinally and other Stakeholders involved in promoting SDGs. These various key players show-cased their roles, expertise and activities they engage themselves in as far as SDGs are concerned.
According to the UN Resident Coordinator in Malawi Florence Rolle, it is important to engage the community for them to realise and contribute towards the achievement of SDGs. Rolle further pointed out that it was not the duty of the United Nations and the Malawi Government alone who could contribute to the achievement of SDGs but rather every one getting involved.
The UN Envoy therefore urged everyone to take part for SDGs to be achieved as there were 5,000 days left then to make sure that all Malawians have sufficient and nutritious food; clean water, clean houses as well as health environment, and having all children in schools.
“The 17 SDGs are your goals, and it’s our responsibility and duty to ensure that we do our bit in achieving these goals for a better and brighter future for ourselves, our children, the elderly, the vulnerable and the marginalised. Aimed at the SDGs to be achieved by 2030, everyone needs to do their part: Government, the Private Sector, Civil Society, Academia, Students, Media and all citizens of Malawi. The theme of today’s event My community’s development my responsibility signifies just that”, explained Rolle.
Sharing the excitement; The Principal Secretary in the office of the President and Cabinet Cliff Chiunda said that the fair meant quite a lot from Government as the exhibition tried to interface what the various key players are doing towards the domestication of SDGs.
“It is very important that we had this particular function here at Mtsiriza, because one of the key strategic elements is not to live anyone behind. When we talk about implementation of SDGs, everybody must be included. The SDGs are inclusive and we do not want to live anybody behind”, explained Chiunda.
Chiunda also said that the SDG Fair was important as it would help to bring home to everyone the relevance of SDGs and to practically see as well as appreciate what is being done to contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs in the country by 2030.
Concurring with localizing SDGs, Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Malawi Marchel Gerrmann said that as EU, they were glad to see numerous displays showcasing the efforts of a broad range of players implementing the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and achieving the SDGs.
“As EU, we are investing close to 700 million EURO in the period to 2020 mainly focusing on Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition, corresponding to SDG goal no 1 and 2; followed by Secondary, Technical and Vocational Education relating to SDG no. 4 and Governance, referring to the SDG no.16. We are also supporting Malawi in other SDG relevant areas like providing safe drinking water to 1.5 million Malawians; rehabilitating about 2,450 km of rural roads and 220 bridges, providing over 40,000 jobs and we are continuing to add another 1,200 km in 12 selected districts,” highlighted Gerrmann.
The EU Ambassador expressed optimism that Malawi could accomplish the targets set under the sustainable development goals and he assured the gathering that EU would be the reliable partner in the journey of implementing SDGs.
On 25 September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a new set of development goals that are collectively called the Sustainable Development Goals. The Agenda is a culmination of many years of negotiation and was endorsed by all 193 member-nations of the General Assembly both developed and developing—and applies to all countries.
It is important to note that the predecessor of SDGs, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) faced financing challenges; they faced inadequacies in spurring industrialization that creates growth of the economies and that MDGs were only 8 in number and now there are 17 SDGs. The big question is how will the SDGs address these challenges that were met by MDGs.