The Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is new global framework that succeeded the Millennium Development Goals
on 1 January 2016. The SDGs will shape national development plans over the next 15 years. From ending poverty and hunger to responding to climate change and sustaining natural resources, food and agriculture lies at the heart of the 2030 Agenda.
The success of the SDGs rests to a large extent on new and effective ways of collecting data and measuring progress. A global indicator framework comprising a proposed 230 indicators to monitor the 169 targets is the foundation of the SDGs’ accountability structure. The sheer weight of indicators, however, represents an immense challenge for countries. Four times greater in number than for the MDGs, each indicator is also set to be disaggregated by gender, age, income, geography, occupation etc. to reflect the 2030 Agenda’s guiding principle of “leaving no one behind”.
Sudan was active member in the negotiations of Post 2015 Development Agenda. Sudan has also formulated a National Mechanism chaired by the first Vice President of the Republic of Sudan to track the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Sudan. In addition, the National Council for Population and Development is mandated, as focal point for the SDGs, to coordinate Sudan’s efforts and accelerate SDGs implementation in the Country.
The agriculture sector is the most important economic sector in Sudan. It accounts for nearly one-third of National Gross Domestic Product. The sector provides livelihood to approximately two-thirds of the population and employs about 60 percent of the labour force. It also provides most of the production inputs for the transformative industries such as edible oils, sugar and textiles. Following the secession of South Sudan in 2011, Agriculture and agriculture-led industrialization is the central pillar of all Sudan’s development plans.
With a wealth of natural resources, especially fertile soil and water, The Sudan’s comparative advantage is in Agriculture. Transformation of the agriculture sector, through increasing productivity, adding values to agriculture production and targeting investment in exportable agriculture goods, will accelerate the implementation of the SDGs in The Sudan. Especially poverty alleviation, fighting hunger and malnutrition, providing decent work, increasing economic growth, addressing inequality, among others, are areas where tangible progress can be made within the short SDGs period to 2030. The National Agriculture Investment Plan 2017-2020 is a national strategy for transforming the agriculture sector through allocating a minimum of 10% of the Government budget to agriculture, and achieving a 6% annual growth in Agriculture GDP.
The role of the UN development system to support implementation of these commitments is framed by the MAPS (Mainstreaming, Acceleration, and Policy Support) common approach adopted by the UN Development Group (UNDG). Therefore, as specialized UN agency, FAO’s experience working with development actors and its unique expertise in the three dimensions of sustainable development can assist Sudan implement the 2030 Agenda. Also, FAO has strong comparative advantages in its capacity to assist countries meet the new monitoring challenges. FAO is ‘custodian’ UN agency for 21 SDG indicators, across SDGs 2, 5, 6, 12, 14 and 15, and a contributing agency for other four indicators. This is a significant increase on the four indicators FAO was responsible for in the MDGs.
In this context the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) at the request of the Government and cooperation with the National Population Council, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and Central Bureau of Statistics at two days’ workshop on 17 and 18 April. 2018.
The workshop will focus on the Sustainable Development Goals related to food security, agriculture and rural development. Specifically, it aims to: Increase the understanding of the potential contribution of food and agriculture to sustainable development in the context of the 2030 Agenda, Identify elements of actions of country-specific road map aiming to enhance the contribution of sustainable food and agriculture to national development, Identify challenges of the SDGs to the Sudanese statistical system and measuring progress in achieving the SDGs and Support country-specific actions through Government-FAO Country Programme Framework (CPF).
The first Day will focus on “integrating SDGs in national development plans related to agriculture, natural resources management and rural development”. Expected outcome of Day 1 is “identifying elements of actions of country-specific road map aiming to enhance the contribution of sustainable food and agriculture to national development and to address key sustainability issues”.
While on the Second Day the focus will be on “Identify challenges of the SDGs to the Sudanese statistical system and measuring progress in achieving the SDGs”. Expected outcome of Day 2 is “drafting road map aiming to enhance the capacity of Sudanese statistical systems for monitoring SDGs under FAO custody”.
Sudan Vision in order to shed more light on this important workshop meet the FAO Sudan Representative Mr. Babagana Ahmadu who highlighted many of the issues and as well pinpointed the challenges that needs to be addressed so that Sudan can achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Mr. Babagana started by; the United Nations General Assembly in Sept.2015 adapted a consensus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agenda 2030 on the targets that needs to be implemented between 2016 and 2030 across the entire countries of the United Nations and to guide governments actions towards sustainable development, peace , development of natural resources. So, countries have set up structures and institutions and government focal points for the facilitation the attainment of these targets and goals between 2016 and 2030. Here in Sudan we have a dedicated unit (National Population Council) within the Ministry of Social Affairs that coordinates government actions for the attainment of the SDGs. The role of the UN agencies is to facilitate, coordinate and support the government technically in setting up targets, plans of actions and work plans on what needs to be done, when and where.
He added that; we see agriculture as the driving force for the attainment of these, we have 17 goals and 169 targets and the work of FAO is related directly indirectly to 14 out of the 17 SDGs. So, you can see that we have really a big stake in this.
The Sudanese government has recognized our role on this area and has written to us specifically to see how we can support in transforming the agricultural sector in such a way that will facilitate the attainment of these goals.
So, we have a very big role to play and we are happy to indicate that we have been working very closely with the government in the last few months to convene a consensus building workshop that will be launched Tuesday 17 April, with key stakeholders within the government , civil society and the UN agencies who will come together and see how we together can pull our resources in support of the government .
Thus , we are more than happy to share with the stakeholders what we think where the government should go, how the plans are formulated and what are the actions and resource needed; these are issues that we will be deliberation on with the government inn this workshop.
We have brought in some experts and technicians who have been working on this issues supporting countries within the United Nations system in designing many roadmaps for the attainment of the SDGs. So, in a sense they have accrued a lot of experience in the best practices and lessons learned from other countries which they will be sharing with the stakeholders in Sudan.
Also, they will facilitate consensus building on what needs to be done by the various actors; the role of the government, the NGOs , civil society and the United Nations , all these will be clarified during this workshop. So, that we establish a common understanding on the specific actions that needs to be done here in Sudan.
Also, as you are aware agriculture is a very important sector in Sudan if not the most important. It is also important with respect to the SDG No. One Reduction of Poverty and SDG Two Zero Hunger they are directly related to agriculture because as you know it employs more than 80 percent of the population, it is in a since a source of employment ,income ,food and livelihood of nearly 85 percent of the people specially in the rural areas.
So, if you want to attack poverty in Sudan, then agriculture will be your option. But this sector is facing many challenges in terms of infrastructure in for example water management , storage facilities , good agricultural input all these challenges have to be addressed in order that this sector realize its full National Population Council potentialities .