PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has called on Western countries to drop the course of destructive engagement of punitive economic sanctions in favour of friendship and co-operation to help the world move towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs, officially known as ‘‘the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’’ are an inter-governmental set of aspirational goals with 169 targets adopted by the United Nations General Assembly following the lapse of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
The SDGs, which constitute the post-2015 development agenda, encompass 17 goals with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, among them ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.
Addressing the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals here yesterday, President Mugabe slammed the West’s illegal economic sanctions regime estimated to have cost Zimbabwe over $42 billion in potential revenue since the turn of the millennium, severely detracting from the country’s efforts to achieve the MDGs.
‘‘Sanctions and other unilateral measures, declared and undeclared, are a major impediment to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. They’re a contravention of the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, to which we all profess commitment and adhesion,” President Mugabe said.
‘‘If the 2030 objective of ‘leaving no one behind’ is to be achieved, these sanctions should be lifted immediately and unconditionally. My country continues to suffer under these unwarranted sanctions. We call on those who rely on these blunt instruments of mass punishment, to choose the course of friendship and cooperation, rather than that of punition and destruction,’’ President Mugabe said.
The President, who was 10th on the podium out of 139 speakers scheduled to address the plenary yesterday, urged world leaders to compare notes and inspire each other to achieve the post-2015 development agenda.
Zimbabwe, he said, had through multi-stakeholder consultations encompassing the private sector, civil society and international partners, made progress in establishing the requisite structures for the domestication of Agenda 2030 and Africa’s Agenda 2063, saying the congruence between the domestic agenda (Zim-Asset) and the continental agenda (Agenda 2063) that advocate judicious exploitation of natural resources through beneficiation and value-addition as well as the UN agenda (Agenda 2030) facilitate their alignment and domestication.
‘‘I’m pleased to note that the objectives of all these global agendas are in consonance with our own national development blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset). This will facilitate the aligning of the global agenda with our national vision, as well as their domestication,’’ President Mugabe said.
The President, a staunch advocate of self-reliance, said domestic efforts by member states at resource mobilisation should be complemented by external co-operating partners to create an enabling environment for the achievement of the SDGs.
He called for international co-operation in stemming illicit financial outflows that deprive the African continent of an estimated at $60 billion a year.
‘‘For us in Africa, illicit flows, estimated at $60 billion a year, further haemorrhage the limited financial resources at our disposal. This area needs urgent resolution to ensure that an improvement in domestic resource mobilisation efforts contributes to national coffers, and not to lining the pockets of those illegally transferring these resources from our countries,’’ President Mugabe said.