Challenges and way ahead to achieve SDGs
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which follow and expand on the MDGs, are a new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators that UN member states are expected to use to frame their agendas and policies over that next 15 year up to 2030.
At the Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, the 193 UN member states adopted the 2030 development agenda titled "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030, covering topics on Poverty, Food, Health, Education,, Women, Water, Energy, Economy, Infrastructure, Inequality, Habitation, Consumption, Climate, Marino systems, Ecosystems, Institutions, and Sustainability.
The challenge of maintaining sustainability in the context of prevailing patterns of growth and development began to be recognized at the global level since the early seventies. The UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972 and several influential publications such as Limits to Growth published by the Club of Rome (1972) and World Conservation Strategy: Living Resource Conservation for Sustainable Development (IUCN, 1980) brought the issue of sustainable development to the global forefront. The formal definition of the concept of sustainable development was first introduced in the Brandt land Report; Our Common Future, by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987: Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the current generations without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs.
With the passage of time, the concept of sustainable development has evolved from focusing less on intergenerational needs and more on the holistic approach embracing economic development, social inclusion and sustainability. In 2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg the governments adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation which called upon "the integration of the three components of sustainable development - economic development, social development and environmental protection - as interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars. The concept of intergenerational justice remains but is now secondary to the holistic view of sustainable development.
Bangladesh's engagement in the 2030 Agenda process:
Bangladesh has been widely acclaimed as one of the forerunners of MDGs implementation. It achieved many targets ahead of time and others within the 2015 deadline. It made outstanding progress in the areas of poverty alleviation, ensuring food security, primary school emolument, and gender parity in primary and secondary level education, lowering infant and under-five mortality rate and maternal mortality ratio, improving immunization coverage, and reducing the incidence of communicable diseases. Buoyed by its success Bangladesh became an active participant of the global process underlying the preparation of post-MDG agenda with its domestic and global actions.
Bangladesh is having a shortage in all types of investment due to pandemic situation, the gross successful achievement has been made by the country through MDGs. So Bangladesh can make another enriched successful story by employing target based efforts to implement about all targets and goals of SDGs. There are many challenges to achieve these SDGs and targets by the government of Bangladesh.
These are: (i) Integrating the SDGs 2030 Agenda into their national, sub-national and local-level development plans. National-level priorities and the worldwide ambition for development will inform such development plans. (ii) Establish an institutional architecture that can deliver the development agenda over the next 15 years. (iii) Mobilize adequate financial and other means for proper implementation. (iv)Realizing the data revolution in the context of SDGs. of all plans, (v) Developing partnerships, as the SDGs have called for a multi stakeholder approach from the outset. This approach encourages parliamentarians, regional and local authorities, academics and civil society organizations to engage with governments and development partners.
Bangladesh has built up a confidence to tackle the challenges of SDGs and achieve most of the goals by 2030, but some goals are so difficult where lot of investments will be required in achieving those targets. For example,
(i) To end of poverty in all forms and end hunger will mean to eliminate the poverty in all areas of the country.
(ii) To achievement of gender equality, will mean major changes in the law of inheritance, besides eliminating all harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage etc.
(iii) To ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all will surely need heavy investment with infrastructure build up and technological innovations.
(iv) To promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive intuitions at all levels, there must be efforts and visible indications to significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen goods and combat all forms of organized crime.
(v) Climate and environment actions will need extensive help from the international arena to build up better policies and raise public awareness.
Way ahead to achieve SDGs:
All the indicators for which data are available reveal improvement in the SDGs period except a few such as the Gender parity index at tertiary level education. In other cases the rate of progress varies from indicators which will reach the target at the current pace of progress to indicators which will miss the target. We should focus on coordinated policy directives, capacity building, ppp quality strategic planning collaboration and cooperation of international community in regard to SDG. Moreover, the implementing Ministries and their Agencies will need to assess their respective status and fix their future work plans accordingly to achieve the SDGs. Ministries need to be particularly attentive in implementing SDGs Action plan what they have formulated.
To conclude, the challenges to achieving SDGs are many, but it stands to bring the people of developing countries substantial benefits of development and general wellbeing in the years ahead. Now it is the time for inspiration as well as encouragement for rejuvenated actions by all people of Bangladesh towards achieving the SDGs by the deadline or well ahead of the deadline as happened in the case of MDGs.
Dr Md Abu Taher is a member, University Grants Commission of Bangladesh & Director, Board of Directors, Jibon Bima Corporation, Dhaka