Sustainable development goals: Activists criticise govt for lack of vision

Participants discuss measures following failure to achieve MDGs.

Participants lashed out at the government for failing to achieve millennium development goals. PHOTO: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Activists have criticised the government for its lack of plan, policy and vision in the new fiscal year for the sustainable development goals (SDG). They were discussing SDGs following the failure to achieve millennium development goals (MDG) at a consultative dialogue arranged by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Tuesday at a local hotel.

“We have made a mess out of the MDGs. We have failed to get anything except some steps towards regulation in the environment sector. Even that is not an achievement,” said HRCP Secretary General I A Rehman while chairing the consultation. Speaking about the flaws of MDGs, he said while formulating these goals, surprisingly there was no focus on governance of countries.

Obed Suhail of the HRCP gave an overview of SDGs and lessons learnt from the MDGs. “Pakistan has been off-track for 24 out of 33 MDGs targets and the government has no data or clarity of targets,” he remarked. He termed SDGs a utopian and too ambitious a plan. Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA) head Baela Raza Jamil termed the failure in achieving MDGs as a ‘debacle’. “Yes I call it a debacle because the government fixed a silly ceiling for education quality,” she said. Article 25-A has been passed by the Parliament but no rules or any attempt for implementation is visible at federal or provincial level.

“The country has planned nothing for implementation,” said Dr Alia from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad. “It is time to push the state to play its role, as it is signatory to all such goals set by UN and other bodies,” she added.

Activist Naseer Memon said there is a need to know the cause of inequality among provinces. The total annual development budget of Balochistan for the new fiscal year is Rs54 billion while only the Capital Development Authority has a budget of Rs38 billion.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.