The government – at the federal and provincial levels - needs to revisit its priorities if it aims to meet the targets it agreed to under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This was stated by speakers at a seminar on ‘Implementation of SDGs in Pakistan - where we stand after two years?’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with AWAZCDS and Pakistan Development Alliance (PDA) on Monday.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Rumina Alam, while briefing about where Pakistan stood on implementing the SDGs, said that there were a number of areas which required immediate attention to improve the pace of implementing policies identified under the goals.
She noted that the government was taking SDG-related affairs seriously with issues and priorities related to it discussed regularly in the parliament. She conceded that members of parliament received funds to design and implement projects in line with the SDGs.
Alam explained that most of the targets identified under SDGs related to health and education which were primarily provincial subjects. In this regard, there was a need for strengthening coordination between the federal and provincial governments and then at local
However, she expressed the apprehension that they will not able to achieve encouraging results without involving local communities in the development agenda.
She suggested that a collation of civil activists and organisations should be formed to prioritise areas of expertise and to work on SDGs under a shared vision and planning.
AWAZCDS Pakistan Chief Executive Ziaur Rehman was concerned over Pakistan’s failure in achieving MDGs, there was a lack of interest and awareness at every level, including among the government concerned ministries, parliament and other departments towards SDGs and our international commitments.
He said that the social sector currently had dismally low involvement and budgets which do not have any meaningful impact at ground level. Budgetary allocation for this should be enhanced up to 10 to 12 per cent he suggested.
Dr Shahryar Toru, head of the SDGs Unit at SDPI, while highlighting various lacuna that in the government’s SDG implementation policy, said that the political power corridors must respond to SDGs by ensuring institutions effectively deliver social services.
He said that the government, civil society organizations and research institutions must brainstorm and exchange ideas on the best form of action.
SDGs need to examine global knowledge and success stories for crafting evidence-based actions and strategies, he concluded. Shafqat Munir, a senior policy advisor at SDPI, said that the government should appreciate the efforts and consider civil society its development partner instead creating problems in the ways of its working.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2017.
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