MUTARE- Government should strengthen attaining Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number eleven, with a focus to set up smart cities leveraging renewable energy to absorb an urban population bulge, a local authority official has said.
An official from Mutare City, in oral submissions to government, said given the current trend of rapid urbanization priority should be on the development of smart cities to accommodate this population bulge.
He made these remarks at a Provincial Validation Workshop for the Zimbabwe Progress Review Report on SDGs as the country moves towards presenting its second progress report for the Voluntary National Review (VNR).
The exercise led by the Ministry of Labour Public Service and Social Welfare covered Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Masvingo provinces. Participants included traditional leaders, Provincial Development Coordinators, Local Authorities, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Private Sector and other stakeholders.
The government was urged to take goal 11 focusing on inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements as a matter of priority as high levels of informal sector have pushed people into urban cities, burdening ageing infrastructure.
The State is implementing the United Nations (UN) SGDs which ‘provides a shared blueprint for p for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.’
Despite, Zimbabwe granting national status to smart cities projects as there is now greater pressure on urban infrastructure, encompassing targets of goal 11, this goal is not under the ten plus one priority area.
The official, who requested anonymity said current local challenges of increased in urban population, inadequate housing, depressed service provision, environmental degradation and pollution can be solved by making SDG 11 a priority.
“Goal eleven should be prioritised because there is a consensus that as long as it is not prioritised there is a high possibility that we are not going to achieve any of those Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Even if we look at challenges highlighted it’s a reflection that this goal was not prioritised. Sustainable communities and cities due to rapid urbanization, as a country we have a population that is highly urbanized,” said the official.
“Given the urban population bulge, it means that issues on focus on cities are key, because we have been rural to urban migration in search for livelihoods, so infrastructure needs if these particular issues are not addressed it threatens gains made in the SDG.”
Mildred Mapani, a chief policy analyst in the ministry in her overview of the implementation of the goals said while prioritization was a key focus of government given limited fiscal space, they were targeting all goals.
She said the focus was also on integration and alignment of activities for effective implementation of targeted specific interventions, where strong partnerships are essential for progress.
“We are implementing all the 17 goals but priority is on the 10 plus one. Implementation is for all the goals even our Monitoring and Evaluation framework is focusing on all the goals,” she said.
Chief Director in the Ministry, Clifford Matorera called on government agencies, to rope in CSOs, traditional leaders, private sector and other stakeholders in implementing SGDs ‘in the spirit of leaving no one behind’
He said the universal agreement to eliminate extreme poverty, preserve the earth and spur economic growth was a multi-stakeholder discipline, hinged on five pillars- people, planet prosperity, peace and partnerships.
“We should explore and share ideas on this draft national report, also spread awareness of SDGs to grassroots levels. It’s a very very important report that we are validating today we need to come up with practical and transformative solutions and to accelerate the implementation of SDGs and the agenda 2063.
“It’s the report that the President will present at a high-level panel and share our experiences, highlight opportunities to attract investment in various economic sectors,” he said.