Lack of commitment by African leaders hampering implementation of SDGs, says UN official

Ronald Kayanja, country director of UN Information Centre
By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
The country Director of the United Nations (UN) Information Centre, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, on Tuesday disclosed that the lack of commitment by African leaders to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a major threat to the achievement of the Goals in the continent.
Kayanja who made the disclosure at the third session of the Babcock International Model United Nations Conference, revealed that $1 trillion is needed yearly to achieve the SDGs by 2030. 
The theme of the Conference, held at the Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State was: “Innovation as a pathway to Integration and Development: Challenges of a Dynamic Africa”.
Kayanja while addressing the 380 delegates from 20 African countries at the Conference, insisted that, one of the factors hindering the achievement of the Goals is inadequate funding.
The SDGs are a collection of 17 Global Goals, set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, four years after formulating the Goals, Kayanja said “not much had been achieved so far.”
He identified funding and political will as major challenges confronting implementation of the SDGs in Africa.
His words, “We need about one trillion dollars every year until about 2030, if we are to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The money exists but the issue is putting the money into the agenda to achieve the goals.”
“We were shooting in all directions before because we did not have a goal post. Every organisation was saying they have achieved this and they have achieved that, they have given money to African countries yet we have nothing to show for it. We didn’t have goal post and we say we have scored.”
Kayanja disclosed, “But now, we have organised ourselves with goal post and strategy. We had the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now we have the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which we have to achieve by 2030.”
“Another challenge we have is the political will. Many of these leaders in Africa know about the goals but they indifference in terms of the political commitment. So, we want more political commitment from leaders not only at national levels, but also sub – national levels to make sure we implement Agenda 2030 and the goals,” he affirmed.
Kayanja appealed to governments, private sector and multinational organisations to contribute their own quota towards achieving the goals.
“We must ensure that we mobilise a movement around the goals. There are some people who think the goals are only for United Nations, they are not for the United Nations alone, they are global goals. There are other people who think that the goals are for governments, they are not for governments. We must mobilise ourselves to champion these goals.”
“Goal 17 talked about partnership. So, it is countries, private sector, individuals that should also contribute, it is not government alone. If we wait for government alone, they will never have enough money to achieve the goals. We need the private sector, we need the international organisations, we need multinational companies to participate. So, it is the partnership for all of us. It is not just government,” Kayanja said.
The Vice Chancellor of Babcock University, Professor Ademola Tayo in his welcome address, said the Conference was aimed at mobilising the youths for leadership positions in the future.
The VC said, “There is no doubt that there are exceptionally talented youths in all nations in Africa who, given the needed impetus, could be agents of change for good globally. We hope that this exercise will be one from which the solution to Africa’s problems will be harvested.”
“I have no doubt that the communique of this conference will be such that will be engaging and invite governments’ attention in Africa to rise up to create better enabling environment for youths to occupy positions of prominence in Africa and beyond”, he added.
Tayo urged African leaders to create enabling environment for youths to rise to the leadership positions, just as he warned the youths against being used as tools for political violence.  
In his address, the former Executive Secretary of UNESCO, Emeritus Professor Michael Omolewa blamed diplomatic conflicts on what he called  “greed and lust for power.”
Omolewa submitted that, “The solution to make diplomacy succeeds in historical term is found in book of Saint James 4:1. What causes war? What causes conflict? Saint James 4:1 says “it’s your greed, your lust, your desire to take what does not belong to you.” That’s what causes war and can we stop this? It is by making sure that there is peace in your mind. So, instead of you to take what belongs to another person, you would want to support another person.
“Will there be an end to war? Will there be peace? we know that is not possible. There will be no end to war until the Prince of Peace comes,” Omolewa submitted.
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