South Africa’s National Welding Capability (NWC) and its significance to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Introduction by Joseph Zinyana  – SAIW President 2021-2

The Southern African Institute of Welding (SAIW) recently took up the challenge to show how it and the South African welding industry were both enhancing the country’s national welding capability as well as contributing to South Africa (SA) progressing the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This report co-authored by Chris Smallbone, SAIW and International Institute of Welding (IIW) Fellow, and John Tarboton, SAIW Executive Director, assesses how SAIW and the welding industry have positively influenced the SDGs and improved the quality of life of people and the environment in South Africa and other African countries. It will also give SAIW members the opportunity to assess their companies against the SDGs and their commitments to sustainability.For the future, it is the intention of SAIW to draw up mutually beneficial strategies and action plans with the support of SA government departments, industry and aid agencies for implementation to achieve significant progress in UN SDGs for which it and its members have the expertise.

SAIW’s National Welding Capability Project

SAIW, together with its members and networks, has worked for many years to improve the nation’s National Welding Capability (NWC).

Improving a country’s National Welding Capability can make a significant contribution to, and have a very positive effect on, many national and international programmes including the SDGs.

Such initiatives include, amongst others, education, training, qualification and certification of personnel to both national and international standards, assisting companies to meet exacting standards of customers, R&D and technology transfer. SAIW also assists in improving education and training to increase self-sufficiency and diversity in skilled personnel in South Africa and other African countries.

SAIW’s excellent national, regional and international networks of individuals and organisations, including the International Institute of Welding (IIW) and its members, universities, colleges, research organisations and companies involved in welding, enables it to cooperate and collaborate with them and leverage many of the activities, including technologies, required to progress the NWC and various SDGs.

What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The United Nations (UN), has 193 countries as members and with the challenges of improving the quality of life in countries, in 2015, world leaders agreed for the UN to implement 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at low and middle income countries.

Each UN country is supposed to measure its progress on an annual basis against the targets and indicators set against each SDG

South Africa’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report, 2019, “Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality” has been updated in 2021 and South Africa currently ranks 107 out of 165 countries reporting. The SDGs continue to be a focus of Government linked in to the other initiatives which the government has implemented such as The National Development Plan (NDP): Vision 2030 “Our future, make it work” adopted in 2012 as its development lodestar and roadmap and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 “The Africa we want”.



The Way Forward

 It is hoped that this report will stimulate ideas amongst the South African welding community for feedback to Chris Smallbone, and John Tarboton  as well as for dissemination into countries to improve their SDGs.