1. South Africa played a critical role during the development of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the sustainable development agendas of the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and there are strong strategic linkages between these agendas and the National Development Plan (NDP).
Internationally, one of the critical success factors identified for effective domestic uptake of international development agendas is the establishment of a clear institutional mechanism for the alignment and coordination of various actors, with respect to monitoring and reporting, among others.
To this end, a process was initiated in 2015 among core departments within government and key stakeholders outside government towards the national coordination mechanism to promote the ‘domestication’ of the UN, AU and SADC development agendas, and for monitoring and reporting. In March 2019, the proposed coordination mechanism was submitted to Cabinet for approval, and Cabinet approved the establishment of the coordination mechanism on 27 March 2019.
The mechanism is in the process of being established, and the Presidency has convened meetings of the key departments and Ministers to coordinate preliminary reports to the United Nations High Level Political Forum on implementation of SDGs in July 2019, and to the African Union on Implementation of Agenda 2063 in February 2020. Further meetings will be convened for follow-up and lessons from these reports, and will include stakeholders outside government.
Coordination will also draw on the work of non-state and civil society stakeholders, and serve as the channel through which the activities and progress reports of various stakeholders are taken through government structures, while also facilitating regular dialogues between government and these stakeholders.
The envisaged coordination mechanism will work through existing structures within and outside government, and as such does not entail the appointment of individual persons to it.
2. With regard to consultations, in 2017, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) through the permanent mission in New York lodged a notification for South Africa to volunteer to present its Voluntary National Review (VNR) report at the July 2019 High level Political Forum under the UN Economic and Social Council. South Africa was one of 51 UN member States that volunteered to present their VNR report on implementation of SDGs.
The key principle the country followed in putting together the VNR was the inclusion of all national stakeholders, based on the SDG agenda’s spirit of ‘leaving no one behind’. In this regard, the process was consultative with written inputs from government, civil society organisations, the private sector and academia.
Statistics South Africa provided a critical basis for the process, through the collation and updating of baseline reporting data, in accordance with Stats SA’s mandate and its platforms for stakeholder engagement.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, through the National Planning Commission Secretariat, coordinated the VNR processes inside and outside government. The VNR process was compiled in accordance with UN guidelines, and was finalised under Inter-Ministerial and Cabinet supervision.