There's No "One-Size-Fits-All" Approach to Adopting and Implementing SDGs

4 February 2020

Addis Ababa — Effective mobilization of resources to finance the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development cannot be guided by a "one-size-fits-all" approach, the United Nations' Under Secretary-General and Rector of the United Nations University, David Malone, said Tuesday.

In a lecture given to students and UN staff in Addis Ababa under the title; Can the SDGs be made easier for governments to adopt in practice and implement, Mr. Malone said despite the principle of universality, the reality was that countries will not adopt and implement the SDGs uniformly.

"There is the issue of priorities and preferences which will vary from country to country, depending on what they are struggling with and methods will be different too. The one-size-fits-all does not fit all," he said, adding some goals will be much more important for certain countries than others and that relative levels of development would determine which ones to focus on.

Mr. Malone, who situated the SDGs in a historical context in the lecture, said while the SDGs were loved and appreciated by most ministers across the globe, finance and planning ministers had largely found it difficult as they had to set priorities for their nations.

"The SDGs are very challenging for those working on them in countries," he said, adding some of the global goals will not be attained "but what will be attained is a powerful foundation for what follows" in terms of sustainable development.

"It is very important to be optimistic about your future rather than being defeatists. It is great to know that you have a platform to build on," he told Ethiopian students attending the lecture.

Mr. Malone said the international financial architecture had largely changed since the SDGs agenda was agreed one to better reflect the need for inclusive development.

For her part, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNOAU, Ms. Hanna Tetteh, said addressing the financing of the SDGs was the most important challenge facing nations.

She said it was not always the case that nations had the same development challenges, adding the UN could provide technical tools needed by countries to adopt, implement and monitor progress but that understanding social conditions and levels of political development was also crucial.

"There is also the need to establish and strengthen institutions of governance because governance is one of the crucial problems that need to be addressed as nations adopt and implement the SDGs," said Ms. Tetteh.

For his part, the African Union Commission's Deputy Chairperson, Ambassador Quartey Thomas Kwesi, thanked the United Nations for the work it is doing in terms of pushing for inclusive development through the global agenda.

The sustainable development goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the goals.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.