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Policy Paper on SDGs after my participation at the New York FES Young International Policy Makers Summer Academy

The Implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in Zimbabwe: Priorities and Opportunities: Policy Recommendations

Recently I was one of the participants at the FES New York Summer Academy of 2017 focusing on “Transforming Realities: Opportunities and Challenges in the UN Sustainable Development Agenda for Social Progress and Democracy. The training was an eye opener and reinforced that the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs indeed provide an opportunity for the world to work together to ensure that  “No None is Left Behind”  by focusing on reaching out to all peoples of the world especially the ones who ware furthest behind.

SDGs Prioritisation and implementation

In prioritising the implementation of the SDGs and recognising the underlying principles of the Agenda 2030, it is important to focus on all the SDGs at they are interlinked. It is also paramount to go beyond the goals in general to specifically focus on the indicators and internalise them if the SDGs are to be realised. SDGs implementation should ensure that there is inclusivity, institutional capacities are enhanced, establishment of an enabling environment and partnerships that foster genuine and deep rooted development.

After the FES Summer Academy my energy towards monitoring and contributing to the SDGs has been enhanced. I would like to focus on the government priorities on the implementation of the SDGs in Zimbabwe which are as follows; SDGs 8,7,2,9,6,13,17,3,4,5 ( this is in order of government priority).

As the implementation of SDGs continues it is important to recognise that the current contextual environment in Zimbabwe poses greater challenges in the implementation of the SDGs. There is extreme poverty and people are being further pushed to the extreme poverty levels whilst the political and economic solution is not in sight. Despite the majority of the population living in dire poverty, there is a group of a few elite, who are beneficiaries of the economic and political turmoil and the global system at large who are extremely rich. This form of inequality in the society is an impediment in the realisation of the SDGs and needs to be addressed.

There is also the challenge of weak institutional capacity that has fueled resource leakages, social and economic injustices hence the need to prioritise on institutions in order to be able to deliver on SDGs. Beyond these incapacities there is also a challenge in terms of monitoring the SDGs as there are limited spaces for citizens engagement, quality of data being used to measure progress and accountability at the national level.

Asymmetrical relations/ partnerships are a challenge to the achievement of the SDGs, in this regard the role of the private sector in the SDGs framework should be interrogated in order to ensure that there is respect of the people both in the north and in the South who are at the centre of the achievement of the SDGs. Globally there is need to deal with the challenges posed by globalisation which have caused extreme wealth in the hands of a few, extreme poverty of the majority, exclusion of the majority and social, economic injustice and a general  lack of people centred development.

Threats to Successful Implementation of the SDGs

The implementation of the SDGs is threatened by;

  • The glaring inequalities at societal levels- this applies both to national and global level. This affects accessibility to basic services that can push towards eradication of poverty,
  • Lack of a sound accountability mechanism that emanates from the national level through to the global level.  The follow up mechanism put in place have a more outward focus thereby leaving the inward issues without monitoring,
  • Lack of quality data that is accessible and accurate for use by stakeholders to measure  progress on the implementation of the SDGs,
  • Limited spaces for other actors to contribute to the SDGs processes- particularly the CSOs.


  • Capacity development of  the responsible government departments to be able to reach out to the most vulnerable of society if no one is to be left behind- this includes working with the ZIMSTATS to ensure that information is available
  • Strengthen accountability mechanism at the national level- this may entail the presentation of Voluntary National Review (VNR) before Parliament before presenting at the HLPF. It is also important to report back after the VNR to ensure that people are following on the process and prepare for future VNRs.
  • An open CSOs platform is essential as complimentary to the government processes in order to have an alternative voice and as a watchdog to government actions.

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