BLOG| Sustainable Development Goals ought to underpin the National Development Plan – TGoNU South Sudan

May 4, 2016

Women and a child carrying stuff on their heads. Photo Credit: Albert Gonzalez

Frederick Mugisha.

Dr. Riek Machar’s arrival signals yet another positive step in the implementation of the Agreement on Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS). The National Development Plan provided for in the agreement is a natural vehicle to foster the global goals. It is also an opportunity to leverage the Africa Vision 2063, and the nation’s Vision 2040 while using the New Deal as a vehicle.

Through the 17 goals and 169 targets, the United Nation’s aspiration is to transform our world (United Nations, 2015). While embracing all the 17 goals and 169 targets, countries have to make a conscious choice on which goals and targets they want to own and champion, and in what sequence. South Sudan is no exception.

Tools exist for such prioritization process. In 2010, the United Nations Development Group endorsed a tool to guide national efforts to overcome bottlenecks and therefore accelerate achievement of Millennium Development Goals that lagged behind. The tool enabled more than 50 countries to re-focus policies and partnerships to hasten progress and connect immediate actions to long-term results in reducing hunger, improving economic inclusion, boosting maternal health, water and sanitation, and addressing HIV, as well as non-communicable diseases (UNDP, 2013).  

The prioritization process would involve four steps. The first is to prioritize a small number of goals and targets which would provide the greatest immediate benefit to the people of South Sudan and lay the ground for subsequent development results. The second is to identify and prioritize key bottlenecks that may impede their achievement. The third is to identify and prioritize key solutions to remove the bottlenecks. And the fourth is to develop an SDG action plan, which is akin to the 3-5 year Development Plan provided for in the agreement.

No one person or institution will have all the answers at the outset on how to successfully implement the Sustainable Development Goals. The plan will provide an opportunity for learning and adapting what we do, how we do it, the tools and instruments to use, as well as the partnerships we forge. UNDP’s role will be above and beyond any specific goals (UNDP, 2016). Using its integration and coordination mandate, UNDP will support government and its partners to develop a framework to help think through what actions will take South Sudan forward more quickly across a broader range of goals.


UNDP (2016) UNDP support to the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development UNDP Policy and programme brief; January 2016

United Nations (2015); Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development General Assembly; Seventieth session; Agenda items 15 and 116; A/RES/70/1; 21 October 2015

UNDP (2013); Accelerating progress sustaining results: the MDGs to 2015 and beyond; United Nations Development Programme

Frederick Mugisha is an Economics Advisor with the United Nations Development Programme based in Juba, South Sudan

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