The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa are launching a partnership agreement which aims to intensify efforts to strengthen national social cohesion. In this regard, the two entities today signed a project document which is the basis of the partnership agreement and guides the collaboration to facilitate integration and promotion of social cohesion for South Africa. The signing ceremony took place at the DSAC offices in Pretoria.
“The NDP envisions a society in 2030 that would embrace its diversity rather than reinforce observable human differences along the contours of race, class, gender, religion, culture and other social constructions. Such a society will have a common set of values that it shares. An inclusive economy, increased interaction among South Africans of different social and racial groups, plus a strong leadership cadre across society supported by an organised, active and responsible citizenry” said Mr. Vusi Mkhize, Director General at DSAC as he outlined the importance of this partnership and what it should achieve for the people of South Africa.
The social cohesion project is a long-term nation building initiative. It is informed by a recognition that the promotion of social cohesion is an important part in nation building and the articulation of South Africa’s national identity. The project is an outcome of analyses and deliberations on critical social trends as the country transitioned from apartheid to a non-racialised democracy. The project will focus on strengthening capacities of stakeholders at national, provincial and local governments; strengthen early warning systems to anticipate and possibly prevent violence and social unrest; and advance social dialogue between key stakeholders to strengthen relationships, improve understanding, and involve communities to align local solutions with national priorities. This work reinforces working towards the achievement to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) 10 (reduced inequalities), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships for the goals).
“COVID-19 has exposed the nation’s vulnerabilities and tested its resilience. The economic impact of the pandemic is likely to remain with us for some time to come. As the country works on strategies for economic recovery, of equal importance is the social recovery strategy – investing in practical proposals on how best to address and ensure a socially cohesive society that does not discriminate against people of different nationalities, countries of origins, gender, and other differences” said Dr Ayodele Odusola, Resident Representative of the UNDP South Africa during his address at the signing ceremony.
To kick-start the partnership agreement, UNDP and DSAC have launched a call to review the social cohesion strategy.