Sustainable Development Goals implementation in the context of South Sudan

Author(s): Dr. Lul Riek, MD, MPH

Public Health Specialist and Former Director General for International Health,

Ministry of Health, South Sudan


Email: [email protected]

On 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 169 targets and at least 300 indicators to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, ensure peace and stability, tackle climate change and environmental degradation by 2030 as well as putting in place a robust global partnership in support of the realization of the goals.

The overreaching goal of the SDGs is poverty eradication that focuses on five Ps - people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. SDGs place a strong focus on equity, expressed most frequently as “no one will be left behind.” Furthermore, the SDGs success will not be achieved simply by reaching numerical averages. Rather true success of the SDGs will be realized by improving the lives of the most disadvantaged and hardest to reach populations. The SDGs agenda recognizes that each country has primary responsibility for its own economic and social development. The SDGs are about development and not just about developing countries.

The SDGs were developed through extensive consultation with all levels of society to constitute a comprehensive development plan. With the SDGs, a country like South Sudan has the opportunity to act upon its vision for the future.

Building on lessons learned in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) from 2000-2015, South Sudan is well positioned to engage in the domestication of the SDGs. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning should lead the process, with strong support from the UN and other developmental partners. 

The Government of South Sudan should commission an initial gap analysis to answer the following question: which targets and indicators from the SDGs are already being monitored, given that most MDG targets are also embedded in the SDGs?

The outcome of this analysis would help the Government prepare a plan to domesticate and prioritize the new elements in the SDGs, and to estimate the cost.  The overall objective in the analysis is to assess which SDGs indicators are already reflected in the National Development Framework and more specifically to:     

  • Identify which SDGs targets and indicators are already reflected within the national development documents namely Vision 2040,  South Sudan Development Plan and Sector Strategic Plans - and which are not,
  • Analyse where possible adjustments needed to national documents to respond to the SDGs’ targets and indicators,
  • Conduct key consultations to further explore the challenges, gaps, and opportunities to domesticate and implement the SDG agenda.