By UNDP Eritrea,
THE shaping of the new development agenda, and how to learn from Eritrea’s impressive record on the health MDGs in the process, were the issues in focus for UN Day in Eritrea.
Government officials, the diplomatic community, students, academia, private sector, as well as the UN and civil society were gathered on Friday 24th October to celebrate UN Day.
The day started with tree planting in partnership with the National Union of Youth and Students in Serejeka area; on the outskirts of Asmara. Thereafter everyone gathered in the UN compound to share drinks and cut the UN Day cake.
The evening panel discussion focused on the process taking place at a global level to shape a successor agenda to the Millennium Development Goals.
LEARNING LESSONS FROM THE MDGs
“I believe Eritrea has a lot to share that could help formulate, shape and implement the Post- 2015 Development outlook for the good of humanity,” stated Christine N. Umutoni, UN Eritrea Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.
Eritrea has made good progress with the health related MDGs ahead of time, an accomplishment that was highlighted in a recent event during the General Assembly of the UN in New York.
Dr. Andeberhan Tesfazion, Director General in the Ministry of Health, gave light to one important lesson on how they had reached the health related MDGs;
“We left no-one behind – we focused on the nomadic and hard-to reach areas”, he explained.
TOWARDS THE POST-2015 AGENDA
During the discussions, former Eritrean ambassador to the UK, Tesfamichael Gerathu, underlined how the new, proposed Sustainable Development Goals have to be seen in context of Eritrean nation building and that they have to be contextualized with national development goals.
Charge d’Affairs a.i, of the EU Delegation, Marc De-Bruycker expressed that the current drafting of the National Development Plan was welcomed by all development partners.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mr. Osman Saleh, on his side also touched upon the issue of partnership.
“Eritrea values a partnership that underpins national ownership, mutual trust and benefit”, he said during his remarks to the audience.
YOUTH IN FOCUS
The representative from the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, Yasmin Tesfaldet, underlined that the proposed Sustainable Development Goals needed to have meaning to each and every one to be effective.
“The new SDGs will speak to governments, organizations, and to lay men. We need to embrace the goals, they need to be concise, as clear and simple as possible”, she said.
Tesfaldet also pointed out that it is important that development should be youth led and that stress should be put on employment an entrepreneurship, and technological and social innovation, as young people are heavily affected by lack of employment opportunities. Furthermore, she emphasized the issue of brain drain as an issue of concern.
The evening ended with a get together and an art exhibition showing the different art work of the youth who had undertaken an art and poetry competition prior to the UN day with the theme ‘youth and development’. Winners received awards.