Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe will be hosting the 6th edition of the African conference on progress towards attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in February next year and subsequently chair the continental forum.
Organised by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the event scheduled to take place between 24 and 27 February 2020 is expected to bring all African countries and stakeholders involved in SDGs together to take stock and set strategies of addressing implementation of these 17 global targets.
Speaking to journalists in Harare yesterday, UNECA director of African Centre for Statistics Mr Oliver Chinganya said Zimbabwean delegates who attended the 5th session of the forum, which took place in April in Morocco expressed interest to host the 6th edition in Victoria Falls.
“So, we are here to initiate those discussions because the plans are that we have this forum held here in Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls town, from the 24th to the 27th of February 2020.
“We are expecting a large number of people coming for this particular conference,” said Mr Chinganya who was accompanied by three other officials from the UNECA headquarters in Ethiopia.
Mr Chinganya said apart from reviewing progress towards achievement of SDGs, the forum also provides a platform for countries to peer review each other.
“This forum in particular, will be looking at all the 17 goals. All of them will be reviewed, discussed and what that means is that all sectors that are involved or in some way deal with SDGs will be part of that and therefore we are expecting all countries to be there,” said Mr Chinganya.
He commended the Zimbabwean Government for offering to host the conference saying it shows the country’s commitment towards the SDGs agenda.
Mr Chinganya said by hosting the conference the country will automatically chair and lead continental decisions to be agreed on, some of which will also be taken to the SDGs international summit.
“We are very grateful that Zimbabwe did consider to host the forum next year and also agreeing to be the front bearer for the continent because what it means is that if Zimbabwe hosts, it is going to be the chair of the forum next year, and they will then lead the process in terms of various decisions that need to be made through the high level political forum and eventually to the summit with what is going to be discussed next year,” he said.
He said last week, UNECA was having a meeting of inter-governmental committee of experts in eSwatini from which an announcement was made that Zimbabwe had considered to host next year’s forum- a decision he said received overwhelming support from participants considering that this will be the first time the conference is coming to Southern Africa.
Speaking at the same occasion, acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ambassador Peveline Tendai Musaka said Zimbabwe was ready to host not only this upcoming continental conference, but any conference of whatever magnitude.