Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Saturday, October 3, 2015, Aswin 18, 1422 BS, Zilhaj 18, 1436 Hijr

SDGs and the challenges ahead
Published :Saturday, 3 October, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 38

On the success of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which helped more than 700 million people escape poverty and made the developing and least developed nations confident, the 193 member states of the United Nations have unanimously adopted a more extravagant agenda to end poverty and attain sustainable development for all by 2030. The new agenda aims at 'tackling key systemic barriers to sustainable development, such as inequality, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, inadequate infrastructure and lack of decent jobs'. The environmental dimension of sustainable development is covered in the agenda and the core issues linked to it are brought into the goal and target framework as well. But implementation of the new agenda consisting of 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 specific targets will certainly be a daunting task for nations. Meeting the whopping cost --- which is projected to be 3.5 to 5 trillion US dollars a year --- to implement the goals will be the biggest challenge. Commitments from the international donors and the developed countries and their fruitful realisation and, more importantly, proper and efficient use of the raised funds will be of utmost importance.
And for Bangladesh in particular, the new sustainable development agenda comes as a great opportunity to show its worth in tackling major development challenges once more, after it has made significant strides achieving some of the most important MDGs. According to the latest MDG performance report released by the General Economic Division of the Planning Commission of Bangladesh, the country has made remarkable progress in poverty alleviation, ensuring food security, primary school enrolment, gender parity in primary and secondary-level education, lowering infant and under-five mortality rate and maternal mortality rate, improving immunisation coverage, reducing communicable diseases and ensuring sustainable climate change.
One noteworthy feature of Bangladesh's significant inroads into these areas of development is that the country has accomplished this laudable success mostly by spending its own funds, because foreign assistance was scanty. Of the required annual Official Development Assistance (ODA) of USD 3 to 5 billion, the country received at an average of USD 1.74 billion only. This has made Bangladesh confident, no doubt. But with resources constraints this confidence will not be sufficient to achieve the SDGs.
Most of the SDGs, including ending poverty in all its forms everywhere; ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture; ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages; ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all; ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all; ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; and promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, will require huge investment. So, for successful accomplishment of these goals the development partners will have to live up to their commitments. Besides, accomplishment of goals, like promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, will depend mostly on positive change in the country's political system and reforms of existing laws and administration.
Despite these challenges, there must be all-out efforts to achieve the SDGs within the stipulated timeframe to materialise 'Vision 2041' and emerge as a developed nation. Proper policy formulation and efficient and transparent use of available funds coupled with reduction of widespread corruption and establishment of good governance will be the key to achieving the SDGs.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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