We are glad to address this session in its last day of its eighth session which is also the climax of the stocktaking phase of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
At the outset we wish to associate ourselves with the statement delivered by the Plurinational State of Bolivia on behalf of members of the G77 and China, Benin on behalf of the Least Developing Countries (LDCs) and Guinea on behalf of the African Group.
We wish to make the following additional remarks in our national capacity:
It is encouraging to note that we have been bold enough to include the issues of conflict prevention, rule of law and governance in our consideration as we navigate through this important task of formulating the Sustainable Development Goals.
We believe it is quite in order to accord sufficient consideration to these issues, which are intrinsically linked to development. Conflicts impede development and the latter flourishes in societies that have embraced democracy, good governance and those that uphold the rule of law.
We have not heard any views to the contrary on the need to build and strengthen, as appropriate, public institutions which are prerequisite for any meaningful development prospects in our countries.
Our challenge however, and this is very apparent, is how to deduce all these issues into specific and ambitious targets and indicators without distorting the universal goals that we are crafting through these continued consultations.
My delegation appreciates the attempts by several Member States and other stakeholders, including the civil society to suggest goals, targets and indicators in this area.
Such attempts have brought some light into our deliberations and will undoubtedly enable us to approach these issues in a more focused manner.
Let me detangle these issues for a moment – beginning by singling out the subject of conflict prevention. Looking at conflict prevention from the sustainable development point of view, it is very clear that our objective is to eliminate the impediments to achieving the end goal, which is sustainable development. We have mechanisms in place at national, regional and international levels for dealing with this impediment.
For example, we have the police, judiciary and army as well as other organizations including faith based organizations which are actively involved at national level in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts of all sorts. We have regional arrangements such as the African Peace and Security Architecture for dealing with this issue.
At the international level, we have the United Nations Security Council and other tools for preventing and dissolving conflicts as elucidated in Chapter Six of the Charter of the United Nations. What we need here is not a specific goal on conflict, but rather an appreciation that, if we are to achieve sustainable development for all, we need to do away with conflicts, particularly armed conflicts which seem to a curse in our great continent, Africa.
We need to address the root causes of conflicts, which include poverty, inequality and exclusion, religious and tribal differences, proliferation of arms and their ammunitions, and foreign induced instability. We could discuss all these issues through the new development framework, if we so decide, but we strongly believe that we have a forum for them already.
The best cure for inactivity of these fora is not a shift of focus but rather to dare and undertake comprehensive reforms. For example we need to reform the UN Security Council to make it more democratic, transparent and proactive.
Turning to rule of law: it has been stressed severally that we need to uphold it nationally, regionally and internationally. Let me state very clearly here that, presence of rule of law alone, does not necessarily guarantee sustainable economic growth and development.
However, it is an important development enabler as confirmed in the outcome documents of the 2005 World Summit; the 2010 MDG review summit and the Rio + 20 conference.
It cannot be disputed that we need to do something about the 4 billion people who live outside the protection of the law, the poor and marginalized who are excluded from the socio-economic endeavors. We believe that the presence of rule of law, in a meaningful manner, enables the poor and marginalized to equally access development opportunities and eventually to break loose from the shackles of poverty. Undeniably, rule of law provides voice to the voiceless; hope to the hopeless; and freedom and justice to the oppressed and marginalized.
It is thus crystal clear, in our opinion that we cannot succeed in our collective efforts to empower our people and reduce inequality and exclusions without paying due regard to rule of law at both national and international levels. Our overall goal must be to eradicate all barriers to development, including trade barriers and economic blockades which are impeding developing countries from achieving sustainable economic growth and development.
Let me conclude by touching upon the third issue: governance. This too is a development enabler, one which cuts across so many other issues, including the two I have just touched upon. Responsibility, accountability, inclusivity and transparency are essential pillars in any governance system, whether national and international. We must do our utmost to ensure that these aspects are reflected in the sustainable development goals, particularly on the aspect of means of implementation.
The United Republic of Tanzania is and has always promoted conflict prevention, rule of law and good governance and has voluntarily joined regional and global initiatives such as the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Open Government Partnership and Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative. This is what drives my delegation to call for good and responsible governance at local, national, regional and international levels. Tanzania's commitments to these issues goes a while back.
We fought apartheid and other discriminatory systems with all strength and resources – Tanzania was the headquarters of the liberation movement in Southern Africa; our troops fought alongside Ugandans to end the brutal regime of Iddi Amin Dada; we fought alongside the people of the Comoros to remove an illegitimate ruler; and we are actively engaged in peacekeeping as well as peace building efforts, including in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, at a huge sacrifice of our men and women in blue helmet. We do so out of a firm conviction that, development and prosperity for all will remain elusive, if discrimination, injustice and conflicts continue to reign.
In this regard, we shall render the necessary cooperation to ensure that the SDGs, once adopted, will contribute to building economically, socially and environmentally resilient societies, which are free from inequality, injustice and conflicts.
I thank you.