Uganda is set for a historic moment on September 25, 2015, when 193 world leaders will commit to a series of ambitious targets when the world ushers in the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are composed of 17 Global Goals and 169 targets to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years: end extreme poverty, fight inequality & injustice, and reverse climate change. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals, which lasted from 2000-2015, and complete what these did not achieve.
Victor OCHEN, a Ugandan activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee is partnering with the Global Goals Campaign and the United Nations to promote the Global Goals for sustainable developments.
On September 24, 2015, there will be a march in Lira Town and thereafter to Barlonyo, a massacre memorial site where Victor will be raising the Global Goals for Sustainable Development flag for Goal 16: Peace and Justice. Raising this flag will welcome the introduction of the Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted by world leaders on 25th of September at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Barlonyo is a village where the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, carried out one of the biggest massacres during the twenty-year rebellion. The location is of great significance to the victims and suffering communities extending across the world. The flag-raising in Barlonyo is sign of acknowledgment of the pain and trauma and underscores the global commitment to ending wars and conflicts around the world. The reality of peace is now closer as a result of recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of humanity.
Africa has had a number of challenges in its journey towards the MDGs in comparison to the rest of the World. High poverty rates, gender inequality and low quality of education continue to plague the continent even as the MDGs come to an end . There has also been significant progress in light of achieving these goals as captured by the MDG Report 2014: Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals, “The pace of progress on the MDGs in Africa has accelerated since 2003… the positive trend in poverty reduction is attributable to rapid growth rates in the last decade, an improved governance environment and the implementation of social protection programmes in some countries.”
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development offers a renewed opportunity for citizens of African countries to make further gains by demanding accountability from their governments and leaders as people cannot demand what they do not know or do not understand. Embracing Peace and Justice, along with good governance, is essential to combating poverty, inequality and climate change, and Uganda and the rest of Africa is ready for the challenge.
Victor is asking the public to join him on his march on September 24th. The march will take place through Lira Town in northern Uganda and culminate at Barlonyo Massacre Burial Site, a post-conflict community where victims and survivors of war continue to search for justice. Here a monumental welcome celebration of the Global Goals will take place with the raising of the flag.
“Peace is a precondition to development and without it, none of the goals will be sustainable. The commitment to the Global Goals should be more than just an announcement, because we have a population that is fed-up of life suffering; and peace is not only important but its expected and so is justice.” Victor OCHEN.