Johannesburg – The United Nations in South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have launched the Nelson Mandela Sustainable Development Goals Quotes Booklet.
The booklet was launched earlier this week on Monday, (11 September 2023), at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The booklet, which was prepared in support of this years 2023 SDG Summit to be held at the UN Headquarters in New York from 18-19 September, establishes connections between Nelson Mandela’s inspiring calls to action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed for the betterment of humanity and the environment.
Participants at the multi-stakeholder gathering ranged from the government, civil society, private sector, the diplomatic community, creative artists as well as women and youth.
Speaking at the booklet launch, Nelson Muffuh, UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa said: This is not just about governments and international organisations taking action; it’s about mobilising a whole-of-society contribution.
“It requires a multifaceted approach that involves various stakeholders, including businesses, individuals, leaders, activists, and communities.
The SDGs are a global call to action to address the most pressing challenges facing humanity and our planet, from ending poverty and hunger to ensuring gender equality, reversing unsustainable production and consumption patterns, advancing rights and improving governance, protecting and conserving nature, reducing waste and pollution, and combating climate change.
Muffuh pointed out that the world is currently off track about the necessary progress towards meeting the 2030 deadline.
To course-correct and accelerate progress toward these goals, it was imperative that everyone, from member states and businesses to individuals and civil society, play their part.
Muffuh thanked the Nelson Mandela Foundation for their tireless efforts and collaboration in ensuring that Madiba’s call to action continues to echo in our hearts and minds.
Let us honour his legacy by taking off this mantle of responsibility and actively work towards a world that reflects the values he fought for which include; fairness, justice, cohesion, equality, and freedom,” Muffuh said.
“The path to a prosperous and sustainable world is paved with the continuation of Madiba’s legacy.
“Be Madiba and act now for people and planet.
Addressing the delegates at the launch, Gushwell Brooks, Head of Mandela Day and Public Outreach at the Nelson Mandela Foundation underscored the significance of the SDGs in striving for a world characterized by equality across political, economic, and environmental dimensions.
Brooks highlighted how this alignment beautifully resonates with Nelson Mandela’s enduring legacy.
Brooks reminded attendees that the SDGs are fundamentally linked to principles of social justice and the vision that Madiba held dear, in addressing issues like poverty and inequality.
In her remarks, the High Commissioner of Kenya, Catherine Muigai Mwangi, called for the wide use of the booklet as it was “a practical tool to facilitate the realisation of the SDGs.
Steve Letsike, Co-Chair of the South Africa National AIDS Council and Chair of the Civil Society Forum spoke of the vital role of, and space needed for civil society organisations to play their part in driving innovation to achieve SDGs.
Natania Botha, an environmental and social justice activist, donated a piece of art to the UN as her dedication to SDGs.
She called it the last correspondent, a mosaic of colours and textures that represents the urgency of the times and a poignant reminder of the tremendous impact of climate change on the planet.
The art piece, a human torso stands boldly in the face of adversity, serves as a symbol of resilience, strength and reminds us that even when the weight of the world challenges down upon us, we must rise unyielding in the face of challenges and hope that one day, we will have the privilege to share the tales of a world renewed with love and care.
The launch started with a video message of support from the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed.
The SDGs embody our commitment to end poverty, protect the planet, and enhance prosperity and well-being of all,” said Mohammed.
“We find ourselves playing catch-up at the midway point and now is not the time to be disheartened.
“It is time to act now, for people and the planet, and play our part as our global icon Nelson Mandela once called on us.
“The wonderful publication using Madibas own words to inspire and guide us all in our efforts to achieve the SDGs is timely. Madiba understood the power of collective and individual responsibility.
“Madibas words remind us that achieving SDGs is not just a responsibility, it is a commitment to the values we hold dear, fairness, justice, and equality.
“The race is on and it is a race we can and must win. But now more than ever, it is in our hands and it always seems impossible, until its done.
Representatives from the private sector, civil society, and youth share their calls to action by urging their members and communities to act now to attain SDGs by 2030.
UN Information Centres (UNICs), including those in Moscow and Brussels, shared videos with messages on the actions they were taking in support of SDGs.
The Grammy Award winner, Wouter Kellerman, strongly believes that music transcends boundaries, builds bridges, and connects people.
His call to action at the Mandela SDGs Quotes Booklet was a challenge to all Grammy-award winners and musicians to use their music networks and artistry to push for the attainment of the SDGs.
He played a tune in honour of Madiba.
Tebogo Sipung, Executive Director for the Youth Network ACTIVATE said: So much has and continues to go wrong under the watchful eyes of our elders, it is not from a lack of trying but we can certainly say that what is being done is not enough.
“This then places the mandate of getting the accomplishment of the SDGS on the bending shoulders of young people across the world.
She made a clear call to action saying that young people possess the ability, agility, and vigour to make a shift and to flip the pages of history to ensure that no other young person is left behind, in the quest to eradicate poverty and inequality in “our lifetime”.
Achieng Ojwang, representing the UN Global Compact Local Network for South Africa, highlighted that businesses have placed a strong emphasis on SDGs 3, 4, 5, 8, and 13.
These specific SDGs are set to be assessed to evaluate how effectively businesses are contributing to their achievement.
She urged businesses to elevate their efforts, set higher aspirations, and foster greater collaboration with both government entities and within the business community itself.
This collective action is essential in driving meaningful progress towards achieving the SDGs,” she added.
UN staff members, Dr. Pride Chigwedere from UNAIDS and Nkululeko Mazibuko from the World Food Programme in a harmonious duet provided entertainment at the book launch for the participants.