African officials welcomed a new toolkit aimed at helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other internationally-agreed targets.
Twenty participants from nine small and vulnerable countries in Africa were part of the workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa on 14-16 May, alongside the representatives from African Union Commission (AUC), UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Joint Secretariat Support Office, and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
The workshop showcased a range of tools for prioritising, implementing and monitoring the SDGs and other agreements such as Agenda 2063. Participants recommended user-testing and further engagement at the highest levels of government.
Prajapati Trivedi, the Commonwealth’s Director of the Economic, Youth, and Sustainable Development, developed the Commonwealth SDG Implementation Toolkit. He emphasised the important relationship between performance management and implementation. “With regards to the effectiveness of implementation, 80% depends on the quality of performance management, while only 20% on the quality of the people working within the system,” he stated.
The meeting noted key synergies between the Commonwealth’s toolkit and that of UNECA and AUC. The three partners agreed to harmonise their suites of tools for the benefit of member states.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Travis Mitchell, Head of Economic Policy and Small States at the Commonwealth, said: “The SDG toolkit is unique in that it uses a multi-dimensional approach that encompasses a performance information system, performance evaluation system, performance incentive system, and a performance agreement.”
Oesi Thothe, a participant from Botswana, commented: “The workshop helped me to appreciate the different ways we can make our work easier – by learning from what other countries are doing and through the tools presented.”
Commonwealth will work closely with the countries and regional development partners to roll out the toolkit, accelerating their progress towards achieving the SDGs.
The toolkit is based on the outcomes of an initial workshop in October 2017, when participants from 14 pilot countries communicated common challenges in achieving SDGs.