Critical thinking, integrated analysis and awareness raising on Sustainable Development Goals and a post-2015 development agenda

Intensifying efforts to meet the SDGs in Southern Africa

IRF2015 partner OSISA is hosting a lunchtime discussion in Johannesburg on the role of Southern African countries in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Most African states are not on track to meet the MDGs - how will they fare with the SDGs? photo: Sarah Agarwal via, creative commons licence

IRF2015 partner, OSISA, is hosting a “brown bag lunch” on 23 September 2015 to discuss Why and how Southern Africa should intensify efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

The session will look at how countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should align their national visions and development plans with the SDGs, whether civil society organisations in the region are aligning advocacy initiatives with the SDGs, and some of the pitfalls of the post-2015 development agenda.

Most African states are not on track in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Southern African region in particular lags behind in improving the socio-economic outlook of its peoples, despite all SADC member states having signed up to the MDGs, which are aimed at improving the lives of the region’s poorest and most vulnerable people by 2015.

Some of the significant challenges to meeting the goals include translating economic growth into decent job opportunities for all, improvement of service delivery and minimising income, gender and spatial inequalities.

Lack of progress

Various commentators have attributed the lack of progress to the failure of the MDGs to address the structural drivers of poverty and inequality, as well as the limitations of a development agenda that de-links developing countries from the rest of the global economic system.

There is also a lack of ownership and commitment to the goals by national governments and stakeholders.

Pertinent questions remain

The global agenda of 17 proposed SDGs on the other hand, aims to address the systemic and structural causes of poverty and inequality - but pertinent questions remain: -

·         Does this reflect a significant shift towards balance in the global order?

·         Given the current migration crisis that has seen thousands of people displaced, are we really seeing rich countries supporting poorer ones to tackle global problems?

·         Is the divide between developed and developing countries dissolving as many formerly under-developed countries move up the economic ladder?

Certainly the breadth of issues covered and the level of ambition is reflective of a new approach in comparison to the MDGs. However, achieving these goals substantially depends upon a foundation that balances economic progress, equity, a healthy environment and democratic governance.


Speakers at the event will include:

·         Thabileng Mothabi is an Economic and Social Justice researcher at OSISA. He is currently working on supporting national and regional engagement in the post-2015 agenda through Parliaments which is part of a larger undertaking by the Independent Research Forum (IRF2015) that brings together international think tanks with regional research and development organisations, linking national, regional and international processes and debates around the post-2015 development agenda.

·         Mandeep Tiwana is the Head of Policy and Research at the global civil society alliance, CIVICUS. He specialises in legislation and practice affecting the core civil society freedoms of expression, association and assembly.

·         Dr. Jason Hickel received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Virginia. He now holds a fellowship at the London School of Economics. His research focuses on development, globalisation Anthropology from the University of Virginia in 2011. He specializes on globalization, finance, democracy, violence, and ritual, and has been engaged in ethnographic and archival research in Southern Africa since 2004.