Today, we are witnessing history repeating itself. We have come full circle. In the year 2000, we gathered here for the Millennium Summit which culminated in the adoption of the eight (8) Millennium Development Goals, whose implementation deadline is this year.
Fifteen years later, we once again, converge in New York to adopt a new pro-poor, gender sensitive, transformative and inclusive global Post 2015 development agenda, which is to guide sustainable development efforts over the next 15 years under the theme: "Transforming our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development".
This is yet another significant milestone in our pursuit of sustainable development and a just, equitable, prosperous and peaceful global order. We note, with profound appreciation and satisfaction, that this Post 2015 development agenda is to be underpinned by a set of 17 comprehensive, time bound Sustainable Development Goals which seek to promote sustained and inclusive economic growth and job creation, eradicate poverty, empower people and promote shared prosperity, protect human dignity and planet earth.
We further note that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 169 Targets of the Post 2015 Sustainable Development agenda are inherently imbued with potential to significantly and irrevocably alter the course of human development, charting a new era of sustained prosperity for all.
Botswana is, therefore, proud to be part of this epoch-making event. The significance of this historic moment is unparalleled in its aspirations for a better World but will remain a meaningless enterprise without the very vital political will at both national and international levels. It is, therefore, imperative that the international community should make every effort to garner the necessary political will and resources to ensure successful implementation of this new, universal sustainable development framework which promises a life of dignity for all.
Rightfully so, the aspirations and expectations of the people we represent for a better quality of life are high. It is therefore our moral duty and responsibility to leave no stone unturned in our endeavours to live up to their legitimate expectations. At this juncture, permit me to seize the opportunity to re-affirm Botswana's commitment to the Post 2015 development agenda and to its effective implementation.
In broad terms, the agenda resonates with Botswana's national development agenda as enshrined in the National Development Plan 11, National Vision 2030 and the Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification, as well as with many values that my country espouses.
We believe that inclusive governance, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law should fundamentally form the bedrock for our sustainable development efforts. We continue to be inspired by our steadfast commitment to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the inherent dignity, equal and inalienable right of all members of the human family it proclaims.
We are, therefore, firm in our conviction for the need to end abject poverty and hunger, to remove systematic barriers to development, including inequalities and discrimination, lack of decent jobs, inadequate access to social services and economic opportunities.
We fully recognise the need to ensure the sustainability of consumption and production patterns as part of the broader strategies for climate change mitigation, in order to heal our planet and secure the home for both present and future generations. This, we believe is not an option but a compelling moral obligation which every responsible member of the international community must uphold. We need to constantly remind ourselves that we are not here to bury the MDG's but, instead, to effectively leverage the springboard they provided.
Whilst the MDGs have not been fully realised and progress achieved being largely uneven within and across nations, they succeeded in significantly reducing extreme poverty worldwide, closing inequality gaps and increasing access to economic opportunities and social services. They have truly made a profound difference in people's lives.
In my own country, the progress has been very encouraging. We have reached universal access to education and almost closed the disparity between girls and boys in schools; health services are practically free and have been brought within an 8km radius of each community across the country; HIV anti-retroviral drugs are provided freely for all Batswana and transmission of the virus from mother to child is almost at zero; focused interventions for youth employment and income-generating opportunities have resulted in the improved quality of life of our citizens.
One notable area of success worthy of singular mention has been the national flagship programme for the complete eradication of poverty. Through the deliberate actions of this strategy, evidence is beginning to show that steady progress is being made. Interestingly, the evidence also shows that women are greater beneficiaries of the programme and achieve significantly better results that actually transform their livelihood and that of their families.
This has been a patent reminder of the role women can play in national development, when given the opportunity. In this connection, the Botswana Government continues to be firmly committed to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, as well as the elimination of all forms of discrimination against them.
Despite the notable achievements of the MDG's, serious challenges exist to close the gaps and disparities that still remain. It will take the concerted efforts of national governments, close cooperation and collaboration of the international community, civil society, private sector and all relevant stakeholders to complete the job left undone during the lifespan of the MDG's and realise the targets of the SDG's by 2030.
The means of implementation of the SDGs are a crucial element for success. In this regard, Botswana heartily welcomes the Addis Ababa Action Agenda adopted in July of this year during the Third World Conference on Financing for Development. The robust financing mechanisms for the SDGs must mobilise international action around very specific initiatives which have the potential to generate positive results.
Beyond the financial support, it will also be critical for technology cooperation which promotes the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies.
Follow-up and review will be necessary and should be universal in scope whilst taking into account national circumstances as well as needs and priorities of the individual countries.
Botswana thus calls on development partners to assume their role in supporting efforts by developing countries to implement the SDGs.
My delegation only wishes to reiterate its resolute commitment to the "Transforming Our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development".
We further pledge to remain actively engaged in galvanizing international efforts towards the Future We Want as envisaged in the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. It is our belief that such efforts can, and should deliver a future that leaves no one behind.
We look forward to a day when every member of the human race, in any part of the world, is able to realise their fullest potential and prosper on a planet that is peaceful, safe and secure. I thank you for your kind attention
*Statement by vice President Mokgweetsi Maisisi at the UN Summit on the adoption of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.