Four regional countries have teamed for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in September last year.
Under the Great Lakes Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo and the Republic Congo are supporting the domestication of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local, national, and regional levels.
The collaboration and cohesion is partly informed by lessons noted by African countries as the Millennium Development Goals deadline lapsed.
The 17 SDGs were launched by the UN, last year, after the conclusion of MDGs, as global targets to achieve sustainable development.
From the MDGs process, it was noted that African countries would have achieved more had they worked more closely by sharing lessons, best practices and resources.
With the secretariat hosted at the University of Rwanda’s College of Business and Economics (CBE), the body currently has about 10 member institutions across the four states.
Among the priorities adopted by the body is to promote mechanisms, policies and initiatives that can accelerate the progress towards sustainable development.
According to the acting principal of CBE, Prof. Murty Kopparthi, the network also aims at accelerating joint learning to promote integrated approaches to the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting the region.
“The network uses an online education tool, which, together with the experts on sustainable development, offers a comprehensive core curriculum, equipping the next generation of ‘Sustainable Development Practitioners’ to take on the complex challenges facing our planet,” Prof. Kopparthi, who also serves as the chairperson of the network, said.
Discourse on SDGs
Kopparthi added that, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the network would soon hold a discussion on countries’ experience so far with implementation of SDGs focusing on Goal 4 (inclusive and equitable quality education for all).
The network is also working on integrating the young populations in universities to prioritise and contribute to the global movement of finding solutions for sustainable development challenges and formulate solutions and pathways for achieving the SDGs.
Speaking at a workshop organised by the body yesterday, Dr Marie Christine Gasinzigwa, the director-general of science and technology at the Ministry of Education, said, as a bloc, the region would be able to find appropriate approaches to sustainable development challenges that African countries have struggled for decades with.
She said, jointly, regional countries stand a better chance to overcome long standing challenges as well as implement development strategies such as SDGs.
Gasinzigwa said the similarities, rich heritage and common factors among regional countries would make it easier and possible to find practical solutions for sustainable development.
Rwanda earlier this year identified three targets to be mainstreamed into SDGs after they were not fully achieved under MDGs.
They include total elimination of stunting of children under five, further reduction of poverty, and ensuring more women are weaned off farming jobs.