The CPD observed that the SDGs consultation process was more inclusive in contrast to the MDGs, and the SDGs framework is expected to go far beyond the MDGs.
Published in News Today on Tuesday, 22 September 2015.
Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a civil society think tank, has said an important issue over the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is how their implementation will be financed. A CPD economist in a paper entitled “Learning from the MDGs: Lessons for the SDGs” underscored the need for much more ambition and effort on the part of the national, regional and international communities.
The paper stated that it is important to sensitise national policies in line with SDGs. New areas of SDGs – cities and human settlements, ecosystem and biodiversity – will call for greater efforts and resources at the country level. Public finance – domestic resource mobilization – and foreign aid are expected to continue to be central to supporting the implementation of the SDGs, but they will not be up to the mark.
The CPD finds other potential sources of financing that may include resources generated from the private sector, including remittances, crackdown for halting illicit financial flows outward and corruption, trade and market access and foreign direct investment.
On January 1, 2016 a total of 17 Goals with 169 associated targets will come into effect and will guide the international development agenda over the next 15 years. The member states, including Bangladesh will commit to work towards implementing the agenda at the regional and global levels and within their own countries. For the adoption of the new sustainable development agenda, over 160 heads of State and Government, together with leaders of civil society and the private sector, will gather at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York on September 25-27, 2015.
The CPD said achievement of SDGs in Bangladesh will require a strong and effective institutional mechanism. All stakeholders, including government, public representatives, civil society, knowledge community, private sector, and development partners needs to be involved. The public representatives includes both central and local, and government means both executive and bureaucracy.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister is heading a 60-member official delegation to attend the summit and 70th UNGA. The CPD mentioned that concerns have been raised about the sheer breadth and ambition of 17 SDGs, the feasibility of monitoring them and tracking actual progress within countries.
The CPD raised the question that “If monitoring of 8 MDGs, 20 targets and 60 indicators have posed serious challenges at the national level, how about 17 SDGs, 169 targets and over 300 indicators”? The CPD thinks that the capacity of national statistics office and other government agencies will be tested and they need to perform as per demand. “Accessibility, quality and timeliness of data will be critical. To fix a reference year will be a challenge,” CPD said adding that rapid technological progress should be put into effective use. The CPD observed that the SDGs consultation process was more inclusive in contrast to the MDGs, and the SDGs framework is expected to go far beyond the MDGs.
In this context, one may look back to the learnings from MDGs experience for the purposes of drawing lessons for the SDGs implementation. On the other hand, the United Nations (UN) will have a strong review and monitoring system on progress and implementation stages of 17 SDGs to be adopted in a special summit in New York on September 25-27, 2015. Mr. Thomas Gass, UN Assistant Secretary General (ASG) for Policy Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) said “We’ll have monitoring and review system which will provide everyone with data in a transparent manner”. Mr. Thomas said the goal ’16’ of the SDGs speaks to better governance, peaceful inclusive society, and better access to justice. According to him, “This is a crucial goal and it was hotly debated”. He also said it is very important as the Agenda 2030 is being rolled out at national level that dialogue also speaks to these issues. He said “That is how it is going to happen. Progress is really achieved when people hold their leaders accountable”.
Describing the importance of the ensuing summit, the UN official said the world leaders are not coming to New York for celebrations rather they are coming here to promise to their people around the world. The UN official also said that the UN will continue to support those countries who wish to get help. He said that “We’re strongly encouraging countries statistics offices to closely work with the civil society”.
He also mentioned that there will be an annual programme in which countries around the world will be able to make presentations on the progress on goals and targets of SDGs. This bold and ambitious agenda aims to end poverty and promote prosperity around the world and global people’s well-being while protecting the environment over the next 15 years. The UN official said if any country wants to hide completely what is happening in their respective countries then the international committee can of course have access to that information.
Mr. Thomas said that the private sector has played a very constructive role in the discussions and negotiations over the last 2 to 3 years. He said that “Everybody should develop its own strategy for sustainable development and the private sector will play a crucial role”. Specifically on Bangladesh, he said sustainable decent works have to be created for male and female to eradicate poverty. He added that “Building the economic resilient, getting private sector on board is very crucial”. The UN official also said the private sector these days is realising at the global level that it has to participate in making the environment more stable. He said the companies know they have everything to gain from predictable and more level playing field.
It is evident that the spread of western capitalism worldwide is the ultimate goal of the UN on behalf of the capitalistic countries that sweeps the contemporary world with all the ills of capitalism. Let there be hope also that the world leaders that will gather in New York will ask the capitalistic super economies to mind their business of inventing a mechanism that will ensure crisis free uninterrupted capitalistic economic growth process till the end of poverty of every individual in the world at large and stabilise the capitalistic world economy. The capitalism is in a bad shape world over these days.
The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre.