UN Resident and Coordinator for Zimbabwe Edward Kallon says Zimbabweans need to come together and harness the power of sport and integrate it into national programmes and policies for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Kallon said this Saturday during the official launch of the Cycling for SDGs Campaign which was hosted by SADC Chair and Ambassador of the Republic of Malawi Mwayiwayo Mclloyd Polepole.
A total of 17 volunteer cyclists will be riding their bicycles for approximately 260km from Harare to the Eastern city of Mutare in support of the UN SDGs campaign.
The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits all countries and stakeholders to work together in promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and environmental protection while leaving no one behind through a solid global partnership.
Kallon said the Cycling for SDGs campaign is a regional initiative which successfully brought together embassies of SADC countries based in Harare and urged Zimbabweans to emulate this and work collectively using sport for the achievement of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
“I encourage Zimbabweans, as the 17 volunteer cyclists gathered here have done this morning, to come together to harness the power of sport to promote peace, human rights and advocate for sustainable development,” said Kallon.
“I urge all stakeholders to continue to work to integrate sport into national programmes and policies, specifically in the thematic areas of gender equality, inclusion of persons with disabilities, social development, environmental protection and in general as an advocacy tool for advancing sustainable development.
“Whether it be advocating for social inclusion, equality or developing community role models, sport has demonstrated that it can be a valuable tool in fostering positive social change and co-existence.”
The UN envoy emphasised his commitment to work together with Zimbabwe and assist the country in reaching and achieving its goals by 2030.
“I look forward to working with you and to continuously build on the common ideals and values that we share for a better Zimbabwe, a better SADC, a better Africa and a better world that is peaceful, prosperous and that no one gets left behind,” said Kallon.
“Let me reiterate that the United Nations stands with you. It is eight years to go to deliver the SDGs and this launch of Cycling for SDGs is the reaffirmation of the 2030 promise by mobilising the Government of Zimbabwe, Civil Society, business and calling on all Zimbabweans to make SDGs their own.”
Kallon said the focus in accelerating implementation of SGDs in Zimbabwe should revolve around mobilising all Zimbabweans everywhere to take action individually and collectively to ensure no one is left behind, raising the ambition of all Zimbabweans to hold leaders accountable to end poverty, win the race against climate change and conquer injustice and gender inequality and also invest in developing solutions that will drive sustainable innovation and technology with the capacity to address multiple SDGs concurrently.