EDITORIAL: Special Edition on the Implications of the Sustainable Development Goals for Africa’s Development: Editor’s Choice

Friday Okonofua


At the end of September 2015, world leaders met in New York to agree to a 17-point Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a replacement for the MDGs to drive global development efforts between 2015 up to 2030. In this special edition, the African Journal of Reproductive Health focusses on the implications of the goals for the sub-Saharan African region, especially to expatiate on how countries in the region can achieve the milestones outlined in the SDGs. Sub-Saharan African currently has the highest burden challenges related to social development, and was one part of the world that failed to substantially achieve many of the components of the preceding Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)1. The objective of this special edition is to provide a forum for experts to discuss what went well and also not too well with the implementation of the MDGs in African countries, and to make scientific submissions on how the SDGs can be better implemented to improve the quality of life for the African people. This edition consists of two broad set of papers. The first sets of papers are invited commentaries that provide opportunity for experts to explain what the SDGs mean for sustainable development in their fields for the African region. Experts were given the liberty to choose their areas of commentary. Interestingly, the 8 expert commentaries covered a variety of fields including sexual and reproductive health, maternal health care, poverty alleviation, gender equality and the promotion of social justice, food security and education. All pointed to major developments in these fields as essential to effective delivery of the SDG outcomes in Africa. The second sets of papers are peer review research papers and review articles that provide
evidence for scaling existing policies and programs for implementing the SDGs in African countries. There are 12 articles in this second category that focus on key issues such as measurement and the need for effective data collection (3 papers); explaining the challenges that need to be overcome in promoting the SDGs in Africa (one paper); the need to focus on vulnerable populations, especially women, youth and children (2 papers); the need for capacity building of civil society organizations and the social sector (one paper); and the importance of addressing socio-cultural and religious barriers that hamper Africa’s development (2 papers). There are also peer-reviewed papers that focus on the implementation of residual issues in sexual and reproductive health in Africa – these include papers on resolving unmet need for family planning, a review of obstetric fistulas, the reduction in rates of early marriage and the promotion of quality maternal health care. The 20 papers are written with great style, fluidity and lucidity, and represent part of this journal’s efforts to build scientific evidence for the implementation of the SDGs in Africa. We invite future research papers and review articles that describe the stages of implementation of the SDGs in various African countries, especially those that provide evidence of effective interventions and solutions that can be scaled up everywhere in the continent.

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United Nations. The MDGs progress report 2015. Downloaded from http://www.un.org/ millenni umgoals/ 2015_mdg_F. New York, 2015.


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