Four countries in the region, notably Burundi, DR Congo, Republic of Congo and Rwanda, have joined efforts to fast track the implementation of the 2016-2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The highly touted UN’s Global Goals came in force in January, replacing the earlier development agenda, the Millennium Development Goals, which largely focused on developing countries.
Working under what they have called the Great Lakes Sustainable Development Solutions Network, with its headquarters in Kigali, the four regional countries are seeking to share experiences and learn from each other as they domesticate and implement the SDGs.
Such solid collaboration between countries did not exist under the MDGs and officials say lessons learned over the last 15 years of the implementation of the MDGs were the catalyst to this new form of cooperation.
It is creditable that the four countries have decided to work together to create socio-economic conditions that will help improve the livelihoods of both the current and future generations, thereby helping make planet Earth a better place.
Already, those involved with this initiative say the countries will soon hold a forum to share experience gained thus far in the implementation of Goal 4, which focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
Nonetheless, this process should be informed by each country’s specific needs and challenges to ensure that strategies and actions undertaken resonate with the realities on the ground.
Most importantly, such efforts can hardly succeed if basic conditions for their survival do not exist. For instance, you cannot talk of investing in human capital in an environment where people continue to lose their lives senselessly at the hands of government security forces or militia groups.
Such dire situations as the one that currently prevails in troubled Burundi, where a government continues to show no regard for human life; or in eastern DR Congo, where a myriad of militia groups, including a genocidal outfit linked to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda continue to kill and loot with impunity, are a major threat to any development effort.
Ensuring that such challenges are addressed as soon as possible is a prerequisite to meeting any sustainable development targets.