Bafana Khumalo, MenEngage Africa Alliance co-ordinator and Senior Programmes Specialist at Sonke Gender Justice, attended the United Nations special Summit on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September in New York, where world leaders adopted a new blueprint for international development under the slogan, “Leave no one behind”.

Khumalo attended the summit as part of various civil society groupings from all over the world which are lobbying for change and development on various issues, including poverty alleviation, economic development, fighting injustice and climate change.


Commenting on his experiences of the meeting, he said, “I found a mood that was upbeat with the excitement of the first visit of the popular Catholic Pope Frances. The Pope did not disappoint. He gave a powerful speech at the US Congress in Washington, DC, in support of efforts to manage the threat of climate change. That was one of the key discussion points in the last UNGA70, as leaders finalised negotiations on the SDGs”.

“It is appropriate that the Pope fore-grounded the discourse on climate change in the belly of North American power where there are still sceptics on this subject and this laid a good foundation for the discourse on the SDGs”, he added.