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Press reports: CPD dialogue on National Level Implementation Challenges of 2013 Agenda

The dialogue, organised by CPD with Southern Voice and FES, was held at Brac Centre Inn, Dhaka on Saturday, 31 October 2015.

View more news reports on the event

 

Published in The Financial Express

Experts make a long listof barriers to SDGs
Kamal confident of achieving targets

FE Report

Experts at a dialogue Saturday identified financing, scarcity of quality data and lack of inter-ministerial coordination as some of the major challenges in the task of achieving the UN-designated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh.

To overcome the hurdles they suggested determining the priority goals, integration of the goals in national planning process and strengthening government institutions with good governance.

The speakers also stressed the need for defining pathways to attain the SDGs, adopted in the last United Nations General Assembly as the next development agenda of the world community.

The meet on National Level Implementation Challenges of 2030 Agenda focused on aligning SDGs with the national planning and policy process, defining implementing authorities and mobilising internal resources for the requisite funds.

Framing a strong and effective institutional mechanism involving all stakeholders, including public representatives, government and private sectors, civil society and development partners for reaching the goals was also highlighted in the brainstorming over the new development agenda.

“To attain the goals, the country must have to develop its institutional capacity, prioritise the goals and targets as well as quantifiable indicators,” former finance adviser of caretaker government Dr Mirza Azizul Islam told the meet.

He also stressed the need for more coordination among government ministries and departments in order to execute the SDGs agenda.

Former Finance Minister Dr. M. Syeduzzaman also highlighted the urgency of strengthening the country’s institutional capacity by ensuring good governance and strengthening local government system.

“Data produced by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) are not dependable,” said the former finance minister, urging the government to make it autonomous and independent.

He also called for higher allocation in education and health sectors.

Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal, who attended the programme as the chief guest, however, expressed his government’s determination to implement all the goals of SDGs except for the climate change.

“We have achieved the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we can also achieve the SDGs,” he said.

Mentioning that many components of the SDGs have already been reflected in the 7th Five-Year Plan, the planning minister said Bangladesh will get two more five-year plans during the period up to 2030, the deadline for SDGs set in the global agenda.

“If anything left, we will accommodate those in the next five- year plans,” he told the audience.

The minister portrayed the successes of government, citing six- plus GDP growth rate for a consecutive period and raising revenue generation from Tk 56,000 crore to Tk 176,000 crore with average 21 per cent growth over the last six years.

“We have attained the ability and have the capacity to attain the SDGs,” said the minister at the dialogue, organised by civil-society think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at the BRAC Centre Inn Auditorium at Mohakhali in association with the Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).

The programme was also addressed, among others, by Saber Hossain Chowdhury MP, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, UN Resident Coordinator Robert D Watkins, Fazlul Azim MP, International Centre for Climate Change director Dr. Saleemul Huq and CPD Executive Director Mustafizur Rahman.

BRAC founder and chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed moderated the programme while CPD’s distinguished fellow Dr. Debapriya Bhattacharya made a presentation on the agenda of the SDGs, highlighting the challenges Bangladesh will face in implementing those.

The audience comprised policymakers, economists, researchers, businessmen, academics and officials from government and non-government organisations.

According to speakers, the SDGs cannot be implemented accordingly unless common people are involved with the implementation process.

Terming the SDGs a citizen agenda, not just a government agenda, BRAC founder chairperson Fazle Hasan Abed, also a member of the CPD Board of Trustees, urged all to work together for implementing the 2030 agenda.

To make people aware about the SDGs and its impact on society, Sir Abed suggested incorporating the SDGs into secondary-level school curriculum.

Dr Debapriya in his paper cited the challenges which include low alignment with national plans, silo approach in implementation, inadequate data, low engagement of stakeholders and weak monitoring accountability practice.

According to the economist, achieving the SDGs in all countries will require additional global investment in the range of US$5 trillion to US$7 trillion per year up to 2030.

Developing countries will need between US$3.3 trillion and US$4.5 trillion a year to finance basic infrastructures, food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and health and education, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

But at the current level of public and private investment, there will be an annual financing gap of US$2.5 trillion, or 3.2 percent of world GDP.

The CPD fellow said the funding issue will be the key challenge for Bangladesh as it already faces deficiency in its spending on social security, education and healthcare.

Dr Debapriya suggested raising revenue collection, utilising foreign assistance, keeping pace in remittance earnings, and raising investment for employment generation to implement the goals.

UN Resident Coordinator Robert Watkins also feared further slowdown of FDI and ODA as the country has already graduated to the status of Lower Middle Income one. To overcome the constraints he stressed the need for creating environment for more private- sector investment

The climate change, Dr. Saleemul Huq said, will potentially exacerbate some negative impacts of migration, requiring greater efforts towards disaster-risk reduction.

The environment scientist held developed countries responsible for contaminating the environment and asked them to cut down the level of pollution. He also stressed the need for aligning the national policies in the perspective of climate change.

SDGs were adopted by member-states at the 70th session of the UN General Assembly on September 25, 2015 with 17 goals and 169 targets to replace the Millennium Development Goals that will expire at the end of this year.

The SDGs would come into effect on January 1, 2016 and guide the international development agenda over the next 15 years.

The members, including Bangladesh, have committed to working towards implementing the agenda within their own countries and at the regional and global levels.

 

Published in The Daily Star Business

Financing is the main challenge in achieving SDGs
Analysts say at dialogue on implementation of sustainable development agenda by 2030

Star Business Report

Financing will be a major challenge for Bangladesh to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, the new development targets set by the United Nations, the Centre for Policy Dialogue said

To achieve the 17 SDGs by 2030, it is necessary to double domestic resources, as Bangladesh’s tax-gross domestic product ratio is lower than Nepal’s at present, said CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya.

The tax-GDP ratio needs to be raised to 18 percent from the present 12.1 percent over the next five to 10 years, he said.

“Plugging in illicit financial flow will be a major challenge for us in that way,” he said, citing that the illegal outflow is 1.2 percent of the country’s GDP.

Bhattacharya’s comments came at a dialogue on the implementation challenges of the sustainable development agenda by 2030, organised by the CPD, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and South Voice on post-MDG International Development Goals, at the Brac Centre Inn.

The 17 SDGs with 169 associated targets were adopted in September this year. The SDGs replaced the Millennium Development Goals that will expire at the end of the year.

The CPD identified five major challenges linked to the attainment of SDGs, including integrating SDGs into the national planning process, developing institutional mechanism and ensuring accountability.

Bangladesh also needs to increase its efficiency in utilising the concessional foreign funds, boost private and foreign investment as well as consolidate the present remittance inflows.

Bangladesh has to increase its utilisation of foreign aid from the present 1.6 percent to beyond 2 percent, Bhattacharya said.

The country is not spending enough on social security, he said, adding that it is lower than the target set under the sixth five-year plan.

The CPD said the average share of healthcare in total public expenditure stagnated at 0.7 percent of GDP during 2003-2014, which is much lower than the World Health Organisation’s recommended 5 percent of GDP.

Similarly, budgetary allocation on education remains at 2 percent of GDP while Unesco recommended 6 percent. “So, we are much lower than the global standard in terms of health, education and social security.”

Of the 17 SDGs, eight are better integrated into the existing national prioritisation processes and the rest, which include health, inclusive growth, employment and governance, are weakly integrated.

The CPD also said it would form a Citizen’s Platform involving similar organisations in order to ensure accountability and legitimacy for achieving the SDGs. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the country will be able to achieve SDGs. “We will make the country free from hunger by 2030.” He hopes that the revenue-GDP ratio will rise in line with the growth of tax collection.

For instance, the revenue receipts grew 21 percent on average in the last six years, Kamal added. Robert Watkins, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh, said he sees big challenges with implementation at the local level.

Governance is also important to reduce inequality and ensure peace and justice, he said, while calling for coordination at the higher levels of the government.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, a ruling party lawmaker, said the main challenge in achieving the SDGs would be making sure that the government, parliament and institutions are fit for the purpose. Water Aid Country Representative Md Khairul Islam suggested giving importance to water and sanitation.

“We should really think of developing institutions. We must set priority from our national context,” said AB Mirza Azizul Islam, former finance adviser to caretaker government.

Brac Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, who chaired the event, said poverty eradication is not something that should be taken lightly.

He said the SDGs are not a government, civil society and private sector issue — it is a citizen’s agenda.

“If so, they need to know what to do,” he said, while suggesting inclusion of the SDGs and the targets in the school curriculum.

 

Published in The Independent

SDG implementation
Experts for strong mechanism

Staff Reporter

Attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) will require a strong and effective institutional mechanism involving all stakeholders, including public representatives, government, private sector, civil society, knowledge community and development partners, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) said.

“Under the Prime Minister’s Office, a body may be constituted involving the national Parliament and local government institutions,” the CPD suggested.

The CPD said this at a dialogue on “Implementing 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — What Bangladesh Should Be Aware Of”, held at the BRAC Centre Inn yesterday (Saturday).

Chaired by chairman of BRAC Sir Fazle Hassan Abed, the programme was addressed by president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Saber Hossen Chowdhury, Fazlul Azim MP, foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque, member of the Planning Commission Arostoo Khan, executive director of the CPD Prof Mustafizur Rahman and others.

Distinguished fellow of the CPD, Dr Debapriya Bhattacharjee, made a presentation on the dialogue.

Bangladesh will have to mobilise the required finances for implementation of SDG, additional flows must come from two main pillars, public and private sector, Dr Bhattacharjee said.

About the public sector finance, he said domestic resource mobilisation is 12.1 per cent of the GDP, illicit financial flow 1.2 per cent, foreign aid 1.6 per cent and public investment 6.9 per cent. He said private sector investment has been stagnant at 22.1 per cent for the last three years, foreign direct investment only 0.9 per cent, which is comparatively low, and remittances 7.9 per cent — a volatile prospect.

About adequacy of finance for implementing the SDG — budgetary allocation on social security has been hovering around 2 per cent of the GDP in the 2010-15 period, which is even lower than the Sixth Five Year Plan target of 3 per cent, the CPD said.

The average share of health in the total public expenditure stagnated at 0.7 of the GDP during 2013-2014, and the education budget has been about 2 per cent of the GDP during this period. Dr Bhattacharjee said the budgetary allocation is lower compared to the global standard.

Saber Hossen said that at first the way for implementing the SDGs and meeting targets should be identified. However, he said, the issue of finance will be absolutely critical for implementing the SDGs.

 

Published in New Age

Bangladesh needs financial boost to meet SDGs: experts

Staff Correspondent

Experts on Saturday said financing would be a major challenge in implementing sustainable development goals for Bangladesh as it might not get sufficient amounts of resources from developed countries in absence of any specific commitment from them.

At a seminar on implementing 2030 agenda for sustainable development, they said the government should ensure mobilisation of necessary finance from domestic sources — both from public and private sectors.

They also said aligning SDGs implementation with national planning and priority, proper coordination among government agencies, committed leadership and political will, engagement of citizens and availability of accurate and sufficient data were also critical for better success.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue, Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung jointly organised the seminar at BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka.

BRAC founder chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed presided over the seminar.

CPD distinguished fellow and Southern Voice on Post-MDGs chairperson Debapriya Bhattacharya, in his keynote paper, said that the financing requirement for Bangladesh or any other specific country was yet to be calculated.

But the developing countries would require additional resources, between $33 billion and $45 billion a year, in financing for basic infrastructure, good security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and health and education sectors, under the SDGs, he said.

‘Additional flow of financing must come mostly from domestic sources to mobilise the needed finance for SDGs implementation,’ he said.

Bangladesh has to raise the domestic resource mobilisation up to 18 per cent of gross domestic product from the current 12.1 per cent through increasing revenue collection along with preventing illicit financial flow from the country, which is estimated at 1.2 per cent of GDP a year, he said.

He said the level of private investment which remained almost stagnant over the last few years at around 22 per cent of GDP should also be increased to 29 per cent.

Increasing foreign direct investment up to three per cent to four per cent of GDP from the existing 0.9 per cent, proper and efficient use of foreign loans and aid, will be helpful in achieving the goals, he said.

Debapriya also said Bangladesh should get at least 2.5 per cent of its GDP yearly as foreign aid, which is now stuck at only 1.6 per cent.

For sustainable development, Bangladesh will also have to increase its investment in social security, health and education from the current level, which is now much lower than international standards, he said.

Abed, also member of the CPD Board of Trustees, emphasised on strong involvement of citizens in the SDGs implementation process for greater success.

‘I would like to see the SDGs as citizens’ agenda instead of making it merely an agenda of the government, private sector and civil society,’ he said.

He suggested the government for including the agenda in the curriculum of secondary school to involve the nation in the movement of SDGs implementation.

Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said all the 17 goals of the SDGs, except climate change, were achievable.

‘We are not responsible for climate change though we are suffering the most,’ he said.

The government will engage all its efforts to mobilise resources for achieving the goals, he said.

Foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque sought more active role of the United Nations in implementation of the SDGs.

Former adviser to the caretaker government Mirza Azizul Islam said prioritisation of goals and targets in line with Bangladesh’s context was very important as implementation of all goals and targets will not be possible for the country.

Coordination among the government agencies is also important, he said.

UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative Robert D Watkins said there was no scarcity of resources in the country. The government will only have to know how to generate it through proper taxation and increasing investment, both domestic and FDI.

Creating favourable environment for attracting more FDI is a big challenge for Bangladesh, he said.

Inter-Parliamentary Union president Saber Hossain Chowdhury said removing regional disparity across the country would be challenging.

Former finance minister M Syeduzzaman and CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman, among others, spoke at the seminar.

 

Published in Dhaka Tribune

Experts: Good governance key to implementation of SDGs

Tribune Report

Good governance is the centre in implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Bangladesh, say experts.

They have also identified other challenges like promoting peace and justice, reducing inequality, strong institution, tackling climate change and quality data in implementing SDGs.

The experts were speaking at a dialogue on National Level Implementation Challenges of 2030 Agenda, jointly arranged by Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Bangladesh in the city yesterday.

Under SDGs adopted by the United Nations in September this year in New York, 15-year implementation period of 17 goals and 169 targets will come into effect on 1 January next year.

Presiding over the event, CPD Board of Trustees member and Founder Chairperson of BRAC Sir Fazle Hasan Abed said, “I personally think it is a citizen agenda.. not the government and civil society agenda. Citizen Agenda means citizen needs to know what it is and what needs to be achieved in next 15 years.”

To publicise the agenda, he suggested for introducing SDGs in the secondary education.

Picking upthe goal 16of SDGs of promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels for implementation challenge for Bangladesh, he said,“I think this is very important.”

President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Saber Hossain Chowdhury laid emphasis on framing a national development plan for creating the pathway to achieve the goals and targets.

He said reducing disparity, tackling climate change, political will and governance are the main challenges. He said the goal 16 is the accelerator to achieve other goals.

Former Finance Minister M Syeduzzaman said good governance, strengthening institution and local government are the main challenges in achieving MDGs.

Former finance adviser to the caretaker government Mirza Azizul Islam recommended giving priority in implementing SDGs.

“Achieving all the targets in SDGs is not possible,” he said adding that Bangladesh should figure out which one is rational for implementation in its context.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal expressed his commitment to address the challenges pointed out in the dialogue.

Director of the International Centre for Climate and Development (ICCAD) at the Independent University Saleemul Huq said combating climate change is a global challenge.“You cannot do anything without addressing climate change.”

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh Robert D Watkins said strengthening local government will really make a difference in implementing SDGs.

ODA (Official Development Assistance) is a decimal part of overall funding of SDGs as domestic resource mobilisation is most important for financing SDGs implementation, he said.

Presenting the keynote paper, CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya put forth management, coordination and leadership issues for SDG implementation.

 

Published in The Observer

Financing to be big challenge in achieving SDG: CPD

Observer Report

CPD suggests to collect finance from the internal sources as there are no special commitments from the donors.

The government also has to increase revenue collection, check money laundering and to attract foreign investments. Moreover, the government has to utilise the foreign assistance in the pipeline in achieving SDGs.

These were observed in a dialogue on the implementation of SDGs organised by CPD, a private research organisation.

The dialogue was held at BRAC centre in the capital on Saturday.

CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya presented the keynote paper.

CPD would soon form a citizen forum as part of the partnership of the private sector alongside the government to face challegnes in implementing SDGs.

CPD also emphasised on the political will for the implementation of SDGs.

UNB adds: Experts at the dialogue emphasised defining pathways to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in the last United Nations General Assembly this year.

They said Bangladesh needs aligning SDGs with the national planning and policy process, defining implementing authorities and mobilising internal resources for the required funds to implement the goals and targets under the SDGs.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in association with the Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) arranged the dialogue on National Level Implementation Challenges of 2013 Agenda at Brac Centre Inn.

“The goal setting is very clear. We’ve 17 goals, 169 targets, and yet to be defined the number of indicators. But it doesn’t give us the pathways to reach the goals. Defining the pathways is going to be absolutely critical,” President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP said.

Noting that the SDGs are completely different propositions, he said it is far more challenging.

Terming the SDGs a citizen agenda, not just a government agenda, Brac founder chairperson and Fazle Hasan Abed, also member of CPD Board of Trustees, urged all to work together for implementing the 2030 agenda.

“I think Bangladesh can achieve all the SDGs goals if it really wants to do so and if everybody is involved in it,” he said.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said all the 17 goals other than one — climate action– are achievable. “As we had been able to attain Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), now we also can achieve SDGs,” he said.

Mentioning that many components of the SDGs have already been reflected on the 7th Five-Year Plan, the minister said Bangladesh will get two more five-year plans within 2030, the deadline for SDGs, to meet the global agenda.

About unavailability of data and statistics, he said the Planning Ministry will go on outsourcing to gather data and statistics.

Former caretaker government adviser ABM Mirza Azizul Islam said Bangladesh will have to set priority areas and timelines to ensure coordination and monitoring to implement the SDGs.

Presenting the keynote paper, CPD distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhatacharya suggested formation of an inter-ministerial body under the Prime Minister’s Office to implement the 2030 Agenda.

He said the government may form a number of task forces in this regard involving both government and non-government experts.

Dr Debapriya also focused on involvement of national parliament and local government institutions, coordinated actions from different institutions even at the district and upazila levels, and partnership between government and non-government organisations to achieve the SDGs.

About financing, he said as Bangladesh did not get due international funds for MDGs, it should rely on domestic resources to implement SDGs.

Turning to unavailability of data in the country, the CPD distinguished fellow said an ongoing CPD study has found that among the 300 indicators proposed by UNStatCom for SDGs, data for about one-third indicators are not available for Bangladesh.

He said the capacity of national statistical agencies should be enhanced to ensure available data. “Data is very critical issue. Data is not only for monitoring, data is transparency and accountability,” he said.

Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, CPD Executive Director Dr Mustafizur Rahman and UN Resident Coordinator Robert D Watkins also spoke on the occasion.

 

Published in BSS

Establishing citizens’ platform to help achieve SDGs suggested

A citizens’ platform is seen vital to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with an observation that these goals should be considered as the citizens’ agenda as well.

The observation came at a high-profile dialogue on SDGs where participants recommended strongly that a citizen’s platform should be established to help expedite the government initiatives and the activities of all other stakeholders to attain the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in association with Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals and in partnership with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), Bangladesh Office, organised the dialogue on “National Level Implementation Challenges of 2030 Agenda,” at BRAC Centre Inn on Saturday.

The major objective of the dialogue was to call together a wide range of stakeholders to deliberate on ways to align SDG implementation with national planning and policy processes in Bangladesh.

BRAC founder chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed presided over the dialogue. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal addressed the dialogue as the chief guest while Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque was the special guest.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Dhaka Robert Watkins, former advisor to a caretaker government AB Mirza Azizul Islam and former finance minister M Syeduzzaman were among the participants. CPD Distinguished Fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, also the Chair of Southern Voice on Post-MDGs, presented the keynote paper.

Sir Abed said the 2030 agenda for sustainable developments are not only an agenda belonging to either of the government, private sector or civil societies but those should be considered as the citizens’ agenda.

“Every citizen should be informed about the SDGs that the government should publicize as much as possible for increasing awareness about the goals and ensuring successful delivery of the targets in the context of Bangladesh,” he said.

Dr Debapriya emphasized on management, coordination and leadership issues for SDG implementation. He said adequacy of financing and other means of implementation including systemic issues, data-related issues and capacity of the national statistical agencies and partnership and stakeholder participation should also be addressed.

He recommended establishment of a citizens’ platform alongside political will at all levels in favour of implementation to ensure strengthened accountability and legitimacy and to address systemic issues.

Following introductory remarks by CPD Executive Director Professor Mustafizur Rahman, the keynote presentation was complemented by discussants Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Dr Md Khairul Islam, Country Representative, WaterAid Bangladesh.

The participants observed that in addition to addressing the weaker areas from the MDGs, particular emphasis should be laid on the SDG-16 on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and ensuring accountability at all levels.

 

Published in News Today

Experts for defining ways to implement SDGs

Experts at a dialogue in the city on Saturday emphasised defining pathways to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in the last United Nations General Assembly this year, reports UNB. They said Bangladesh needs aligning SDGs with the national planning and policy process, defining implementing authorities and mobilising internal resources for the required funds to implement the goals and targets under the SDGs. The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in association with the Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) arranged the dialogue on National Level Implementation Challenges of 2013 Agenda at Brac Centre Inn. “The goal setting is very clear. We’ve 17 goals, 169 targets, and yet to be defined the number of indicators. But it doesn’t give us the pathways to reach the goals. Defining the pathways is going to be absolutely critical,” President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP said. Noting that the SDGs are completely different propositions, he said it is far more challenging. Terming the SDGs a citizen agenda, not just a government agenda, Brac founder chairperson and Fazle Hasan Abed, also member of CPD Board of Trustees, urged all to work together for implementing the 2030 agenda. “I think Bangladesh can achieve all the SDGs goals if it really wants to do so and if everybody is involved in it,” he said. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said all the 17 goals other than one-climate action-are achievable. “As we had been able to attain Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), now we also can achieve SDGs,” he said. Mentioning that many components of the SDGs have already been reflected on the 7th Five-Year Plan, the minister said Bangladesh will get two more five-year plans within 2030, the deadline for SDGs, to meet the global agenda. About unavailability of data and statistics, he said the Planning Ministry will go on outsourcing to gather data and statistics. Former caretaker government adviser ABM Mirza Azizul Islam said Bangladesh will have to set priority areas and timelines to ensure coordination and monitoring to implement the SDGs. Presenting the keynote paper, CPD distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhatacharya suggested formation of an inter-ministerial body under the Prime Minister’s Office to implement the 2030 Agenda. He said the government may form a number of task forces in this regard involving both government and non-government experts. Dr Debapriya also focused on involvement of national parliament and local government institutions, coordinated actions from different institutions even at the district and upazila levels, and partnership between government and non-government organisations to achieve the SDGs. About financing, he said as Bangladesh did not get due international funds for MDGs, it should rely on domestic resources to implement SDGs. Turning to unavailability of data in the country, the CPD distinguished fellow said an ongoing CPD study has found that among the 300 indicators proposed by UNStatCom for SDGs, data for about one-third indicators are not available for Bangladesh. He said the capacity of national statistical agencies should be enhanced to ensure available data. “Data is very critical issue. Data is not only for monitoring, data is transparency and accountability,” he said. Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, CPD Executive Director Dr Mustafizur Rahman and UN Resident Coordinator Robert D Watkins also spoke on the occasion.

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