I recently interviewed Dr David Nabarro after meeting him at the UNGA 2016. As the world counts down to the Paris Agreement coming into force in the next two days and also the Cop22 event in few days, my chat with Dr David Nabarro is timely as it sheds more light on his office’s plan for the SDGs and his views on climate action for Africa.
Please read my interview below:
Has working in development sector always been the plan for you? Especially on the global scale?
I started working with NGOs in communities and I only moved into global work when I was about 50, I started working with my own government and then I worked for the UN, so it was a gradual shift from being a community worker into being a development worker on global scale
As a youth, were you engaged in voluntary jobs and would you say these voluntary engagements have been effective in the success of your career so far?
I always tried to do things that were outside going to school or going to university such as working with community organisations or travelling to work in different locations that were unusual for me, that was because I always wanted to explore and see what was happening in different places and secondly I wanted to test out to see whether I had anything that I could contribute to different areas, some of these were successful and some of them were not and I think that the fact that I tried out lots of different things was very good, I tried to become a disc jockey at one point and I was not very good at that.
What are your favorite SDGS and why?
Well, I have a problem there because I believe in the whole of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, all the SDGs, because they are a big plan of action, for people, planet as well as for the prosperity of our world and also for peace. They are universal, indivisible, the goals are all interconnected and they reflect the totality of human experience. Also, it is also a plan to leave no one behind, and so, because it is so integrated, I do not think anyone is favourite, but if you push me, I would say that Goal 17 really says it all because it is all about partnership.
What are the next steps for the west to help Africans adapt and mitigate the threatening effects of Climate Change ?
The climate change agreement of Paris which comes into force on the 4th of November is an agreement for every country in the world to act to reduce emissions and also to strengthen resilience, and there is a built-in mechanism every 5 years to increase this ambition, with this agenda, every country is a developing country and perhaps, the countries of Europe and North America have the most development to do to become low carbon countries but if they don’t do so the world’s temperature will not stabilize to 2 degrees, in addition, the wealthy countries have got to transmit resources to African countries to help them to be resilient and also to help them adapt low carbon development pathways. Now, Implementing the Paris Agreement is very important because if they remain just words on a page then we have not done our duty towards this current and future generations especially generations of poor and vulnerable people. The implementation depends on having sufficient financing and technical support for developing countries to support low or no emissions for growth
One year after the SDGs and it still looks like not a lot of people have woken up to grasp the vision, what in your own opinion would be the best ways to get these goals working for the next 14 years especially in the poorest of countries?
Our office is supporting the United Nations Secretary General with a global advocacy strategy that is quite ambitious, we want 1 million people to become committed activists for the 2030 agenda and the goals by the end of 2017, we want these 1million activists to reach at least 2 billion people in the world to know about the SDGs and what they represent again by the end of 2017.
This means empowering more than 1000 activist everyday through churches, universities, schools, labour organisations, business and government and this is where we need the help of people like yourself with the SustyVibes community to spread the word and we must never tire, we must become Sustainable Development missionaries who are communicating about it all the time. We want to encourage networks to reach out across new frontiers and drive change, to share new ways of thinking and working and to do this, I have launched a dynamic new online platform called the SDGs collaboration platform designed to build solutions and advanced the SDGs, it invites people everywhere particularly young people from around the world to come and participate and share their experience, it’s a virtual space where everybody can collaborate and bring together the resources they have to share and encourage others to come on board. The link is www.un2030agenda.org and I encourage everyone to have a look at it. Each one of us can help spreading the news about the SDGs. Each one of us is part of the solution.
You can also listen to the call here