While addressing the 17th Session of the General Conference of the United National Industrial Development Organisation in Vienna, with a theme of ‘Partnering for Impact: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs), President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca urged everyone to continue working together “within our respective nations, and also on a regional and multilateral platform”, so as to ensure that sustainability, especially through Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, continues to play a vital role.
The President stated that even though two years have passed since the adoption of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, its seventeen SDGs are still the main benchmarks for the international community for working towards humanity’s aspirations for effective, holistic, and integrated global development. She added that “Agenda 2030 is still a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility to take an inclusive and sustainable approach to the development of our planet.”
President Coleiro Preca stated that Agenda 2030 proposes the need for synergies and interconnectedness between the Global North and the Global South, to ensure prosperity and wellbeing for all of our world’s inhabitants.
Strategies for inclusive and sustainable industrial development play a central role in order to succeed in the implementation of Agenda 2030.
Such strategies, which are fundamental to UNIDO’s mission and its central role in implementing Agenda 2030, are particularly evident in Goal number 9, which seeks to highlight resilient infrastructures and inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, as well as to foster innovation. Fundamental to SDG 9, is the need for education and training, which is specified in SDG 4.
President Coleiro Preca said that she is pleased to note that UNIDO “is providing a context in which multilateral partnerships can take place to achieve these targets, thanks to its extensive membership network, its vast expertise in these areas, and tangible initiatives, such as the Roadmap for the Implementation of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (2016-2025).”
The President stated that UNIDO’s priorities in this context are contributing strongly towards the attainment of the SDGs by focusing on the importance of creating shared prosperity through job creation, while safeguarding the environment.
“I feel proud of UNIDO’s endeavours in order to achieve SDG 1, which underlines the need to eradicate poverty through an inclusive and sustainable approach,” stated President Coleiro Preca. She continued by stating that SDGs 4 and 9 are intrinsically linked together to address and achieve SDG 1.
I believe that this UNIDO General Conference is taking place at a most appropriate time, on the eve of the EU-Africa Summit in Abidjan.
Whilst reiterating the message given last week at the UNIDO Roundtable, organised on the occasion of Africa Industrialization Day, President Coleiro Preca expressed her hope that the EU-Africa Summit will take into consideration the deliberations of the UNIDO General Assembly, and in particular, what UNIDO is proposing in terms of the Roadmap for the Implementation of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa.
“I look forward to the prospect of further and better collaboration between the institutions, in particular at this time, when these two important meetings are taking place, to take the next step forward in addressing the challenges faced by the people of Africa,” stated President Coleiro Preca.
The President also encouraged leaders at the EU-Africa Summit to adhere to the framework established by Agenda 2030, and to develop an effective plan of action so as to ensure that the joint Africa-EU strategy is successfully implemented.
In light of this, the President spoke of Global Africa, which was launched in Malta during the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly at the conclusion of Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Global Africa, of which President Coleiro Preca is a patron, is a new space for policy dialogue, cooperation and exchange on topics of African social, political, and economic development.
The President explained that Global Africa’s proposal for the creation of the African School of Invention, which will be offering training schemes for enterprise, innovation and creativity, corresponds well with UNIDO’s own plans for job creation and the industrialisation of Africa.
Malta’s commitment to the successful implementation of the United Nations’ Agenda 2030
President Coleiro Preca stated that during Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, development cooperation was at the top of Malta’s agenda, culminating in a new European Consensus for Development, which was adopted in May 2017. This is a consensus which has effectively aligned all European development actions with the United Nations’ Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Moreover, next year, Malta will deliver its first Voluntary National Review at the UN High-Level Political Forum. This will be an important opportunity to take stock of my country’s efforts to implement SDGs, and to report on our progress with our peers”, stated President Coleiro Preca.
The President further stated that all of Malta’s sustainability endeavours are firmly rooted in the Sustainable Development Act, a legislative framework which was adopted by the Maltese Parliament in 2012, and through which the government integrates sustainable development into its initiatives.
Apart from the above-mentioned initiatives, President Coleiro Preca said that many other initiatives are being taken with the scope of raising awareness about sustainable development issues in all strata and sectors of government and society — a fact which is especially clear in the way civil society is working “with our children and young people to create awareness in our schools and communities.”
In conclusion, the President appealed for closer cooperation between UNIDO and the international community, as well as among national authorities, private sectors and civil societies, in order to promote sustainable and international development.