Special Remarks to the Opening Plenary of the Global Festival of Action on Sustainable Development at the World Conference Centre

Special Remarks to the Opening Plenary of the Global Festival of Action on Sustainable Development at the World Conference Centre

Special Remarks by Her Excellency, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the SDGs to the Opening Plenary of the Global Festival of Action on Sustainable Development delivered at the World Conference Centre, Bonn, Germany on 21 March, 2018.

Protocol

  1. Ashok-Alexander Sridharan, Lord Mayor, City of Bonn
  2. Ingolf Dietrich, Director and Commissioner 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  3. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  4. Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign

It gives me honour and pleasure to present these remarks to the opening of this 2018 Global Festival of Action on Sustainable Development.

First, let me commend Mitchell Toomey and his team at the UN SDG Action Campaign for extending an invitation to our Government and for organizing this very important event. The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development has indeed become an important annual platform to inspire, to share, to learn and to take action for the SDGs.

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 was a landmark achievement for peoples of the world especially for those living in abject poverty, inequalities and exclusion.

The goals and targets are not mere promises or ‘wish-lists’ like agendas before them. They are rather, a set of actionable demands from citizens across the world on leaders and the United Nations to bequeath to present and future generations, a safe, secured and prosperous planet.

The Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is happy to have been one of the major drivers that enabled the UN Millennium Campaign, the predecessor of the SDG Action Campaign to reach out to over 10 million people across the world to voice their priorities and influence the emergence of the SDGs. We are still committed in partnership with the Campaign and other actors to ensure that people remain at the heart of the implementation of the SDGs in terms of prioritising, financing, monitoring and reporting.

Being as they were, by-products of extensive consultations, the SDGs are about the people and no government can claim to have the single magic wand to achieve them all. Hence, the need for the adoption of a multi-stakeholder approach, bringing on board civil society, private sector, the academia, youth, women, indigenous and marginalized people to the implementation table.

Mindful of this established fact, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari mandated my office to commence work on the establishment of multi-stakeholders’ interfaces and coordinating platforms. Under this mandate, we have established for the first time, a Private Sector Advisory Group on the SDGs to mobilise the business community to play a driving role in the implementation of the SDGs. The private sector apart from contributing in resource mobilization in line with the Addis Ababa Framework will also assist in setting sustainability standards in business operations.

At a higher political level, the President of Nigeria has inaugurated a Presidential Council on the SDGs to provide political impetus and multi-stakeholder coordination to our journey towards achieving the SDGs. Working with the UN SDG Action Campaign, we are establishing a Civil Society Advisory Group to work with government and ensure that accountability to the needs and aspirations of citizens remain at the core of our national implementation efforts.

Based on our shared mandate with the UN SDG Action Campaign, we are rolling out a mobilization strategy targeting millions of Nigerians and Africans through MY World 2030 Survey and our Celebrity Advocacy program. Harnessing the power and prowess of our youth population will be crucial in this journey as they not only have the drive but the reach and talents to achieve greatness. We pledge our continuous partnership with the Campaign in this regard.

Finally, I want to leave us with an important charge today. A platform such as the Global Festival of Action should be accessible to peoples of the world. Permit me to urge the SDG Action Campaign to work with partners across the world to replicate this platform at national and regional levels. There is a lot we can learn from each other as we march towards achieving the SDGs. Lastly, I want to end with an age-long African saying which goes thus: “If you want to go fast, go it alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

Thank you for your kind attention.

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