New York — President Mokgweetsi Masisi says while Botswana is classified as an upper middle income country, it is still faced with challenges comparable to that of the less developed countries.
However, Mr Masisi said he was re-assured by the words of the UN General Secretary, Mr Antonio Guterress when he opined that the UN was ready to work with all members to make the sustainable development goals a reality.
The President was giving a statement at the 73rd United Nations General on Thursday.
"In view of the development challenges facing my country, I wish to reiterate our appeal for continued support in human capital, infrastructure and capacity development for the private sector and technology transfer," he said.
He further re-affirmed Botswana's commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adding that the country's Vision 2036 had been aligned to the global agenda.
He explained that at regional level, the country was pleased that the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Integration Agenda were aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The President noted that what is common about the development agendas was that they were both aimed at eradicating poverty and creating inclusive, prosperous and peaceful societies.
"In this respect, we as a country are pleased to note that extreme poverty continues to decline globally even though we still have a long way to go given that 35 per cent of the African population or 395 million people, still live in abject poverty," he said.
Mr Masisi said as the third year of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development begun, the Botswana remained steadfast to improve the material and social well-being of the population.
"Our national development agenda places people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership at the heart of sustainable development and in this regard, our National Vision 2036 is anchored on four pillars of sustainable economic development, human and social development, sustainable environment and governance, peace and security," said the President.
He said Botswana's sustainable development pathway stroke a balance between social, human, economic, environmental and governance dimensions and the implementation of Vision 2036 and National Development Plan 11 was underpinned by a robust monitoring and evaluation system to ensure effective delivery of goals and aspirations.
"Additionally, we have established a National Steering Committee to effectively coordinate implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals and we have also developed Botswana SDGs Roadmap covering 2017-2023," he explained.
Mr Masisi further told the UN Assembly that Botswana government adopted a comprehensive and inclusive approach to the implementation and monitoring of Sustainable Development Goals aimed at ensuring broad ownership and leadership at local, community and national levels to break silos across the development spectrum.
He said this was done through forging strategic partnerships between government, academia, civil society organisations, community based, development partners, private sectors, non-state actors and the UN system.
He said in pursuit of the goals and aspirations, Botswana prioritised economic diversification, sustainable economic growth, employment creation and investment in human capital for building a prosperous and inclusive society.
Mr Masisi said the young population constituted 60 per cent of the population of Botswana and the ultimate goal was to attain universal access to pre-primary, primary and secondary education and to also expand access to tertiary, technical and vocational education and training.
He said in addition, the country was developing a National Policy whose objectives would be to assist Botswana to achieve gainful and productive employment and decent work for all.
Above all, Botswana had developed several policies, programmes and strategies such as the Economic Diversification Drive (EDD), Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy, Youth Empowerment Scheme (YES) and the Youth Development Fund (YDF) to attain sustainable economic development and employment creation.
He said to ensure that development benefitted all, government continued to make substantial investment in the provision of health care, decent housing and shelter through interventions such as Treat All strategy, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, Self Help Housing Agency and the destitute housing programme.
Mr Masisi said his government provided social protection to vulnerable groups such as children, youth, persons living with disabilities and the elderly through different policies.
Source : BOPA