Experts call for urgent review of SDGs strategy, action plan


ISLAMABAD, AUG 8 (DNA) – Pakistan urgently needs a comprehensive country review on the SDGs mainstreaming into development projects, data collection and reporting mechanisms to ensure sharp increase in performance.

Country is severely lagging behind on all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) except two including SDG-1 No Poverty and SDG-13 Climate Action where Pakistan is on the ‘right direction’ as mentioned in the Sustainable Development Report (SDR) 2020. Pakistan is ranked on 134 with a total score of 56.17, much lower than some of the least developed African countries. The UN report on SDGs shows a bit more performance than the SDR.

Devcom-Pakistan Director Munir Ahmed highlighted these points while presenting the Pakistan’s country review of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as reported in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDR) 2020.

The report is the annual research publication by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), set up in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.

SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. SDSN works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society.

Speaking on the webinar on ‘Country Review: Pakistan’s Way Forward on SDGs” organized by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan), Munir Ahmed said: “There is no progress on eight SDGs in the five years since the UN SDGs regime was launched. They include No Hunger (SDG-2), Quality Education (SDG-4), Gender Equality (SDG-5), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG-7), Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG-9), Sustainable cities and communities (SDG-11), Life Below Water (SDG-14), and Partnerships for SDGs (17).

He said: There is slight improvement in Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG-3), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG-6), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG-8), and Peace Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG-16). Pakistan reported nothing on Reduced Inequalities (SDG-10) and Responsible Production and Consumption (SDG-12).

Research analyst Adil Rashid in his keynote presentation detailed many lacunas hampering Pakistan’s performance on SDGs including bureaucratic hurdles and the usual habit of slowing down the process. He said: SDGs are not a separate phenomenon but a mechanism to measure the performance of different sectors on certain indicators to evaluate overall progress of the country on social, economic and environmental indicators. Mainstreaming of these indicators, monitoring and reporting are the three main components which could be easily handled by coordination among the stakeholders.

He said unfortunately there is no vertical monitoring and reporting system in the ministries while ‘baboocracy’ has no urge to the needful believing it as an additional task though it is not.

He suggested having relevant technical experts on all SDGs in the federal and provincial SDGs secretariat for specialized handling of each SDG. We need to promote partnerships and improve coordination and an IT-based networking and reporting system.

He suggested that Pakistan’s SDGs regime shall be under the President of the country while NADRA’s data could support in developing rapid assessment of each SDG.

Ali Kemal, the Economic Policy Advisor on SDGs, said the Sustainable Development Report 2020 is based on the old data of up to 2016 while Pakistan has shown some progress lately but not reported in the said report. However, the UNDP report has included the data Pakistan provided to them.

He has shown his reservation on Pakistan’s reporting mechanism on Climate Action that has ‘remarkable progress’ while in another SDG Life on Land has shown negative results.

Many are the hitches and glitches in the systems and we are trying to improve them for better access to the data reporting, analysis and adding into the performance indicators.

Dr Nuzhat Khan, National Institute of Oceanography, found a little disappointed by the coordination and facilitation by the Planning Commission.

She suggested improving the feedback and inclusion systems for the stakeholders and partner organizations to enhance the SDGs performance.=DNA