Focusing on the implementation process of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the leading non-government and civil society organisations in the country declared the launch of the Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh at the CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka on Saturday 18 June 2016.
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Published in The Daily Star on Sunday, 19 June 2016
Economic deprivation to thwart SDG attainment
Says Citizen’s Platform comprising 28 NGOs, eminent personalities
Without good governance, achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be difficult, said noted development and human rights leaders in the capital yesterday.
“Mere economic growth is not development in a modern democracy,” said human rights activist Sultana Kamal, adding, “Justice and security too has to be in place.”
Lack of good governance widens scope for corruption and denial of human rights, she added.
It will be hard to achieve the SDGs with the ongoing pattern of economic deprivation and human rights violations, said Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation.
Becoming a middle income country by leaving 17 percent of the population under the poverty line will not be socially and morally correct, she stressed.
With the biggest crisis prevailing in the area of good governance, incidents of human rights violations have been recurrent, said Anam.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the launching at a media briefing in the capital’s Cirdap auditorium.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, said the platform, as a supporting forum of the government, will help make the SDGs’ achievement endeavor inclusive and participatory.
Rasheda K Choudhury, executive director of the Campaign for Popular Education, said Bangladesh could achieve the inclusive development goals by making use of the SDGs.
CPD Executive Director Prof Mustfizur Rahman said the platform would attempt for environment-friendly SDG implementation based on equality.
The platform will promote the slogan “Leave no one behind”, said Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, convener of the platform.
SDGs are universal and inclusive, and they integrate education, health and environment, he said, adding, the goals are designed to end overall social and institutional transformation.
The 17 SDGs that the UN adopted last September for 15 years are an ambitious development agenda, he said.
The citizen’s initiative would catalyse coordination of the SDGs with Bangladesh’s national Five Year Plan and other policy plans and ensure the efficacy, relevance and accountability of the government’s new policies and reform programmes.
Objectives of the platform include monitoring the SDGs’ achievement, identifying the challenges to implement and update the decision makers with a view to utilising the allocated fund, ensuring transparency and social accountability.
The platform would focus on the SDGs relevant for Bangladesh and help ascertain priorities, oversee the progress and give analytical options.
The upcoming events of the platform include a national dialogue on the SDG on peace, justice and good governance; town hall meetings with local people, and meetings with the international development partners and workshops for the partner organisations.
The platform would draw up its programmes primarily for five years and for implementation would establish contact with the Prime Minister’s Office, planning commission, foreign ministry and finance ministry.
Anisatul Fatema Yousuf is the coordinator of the platform.
Twenty eight non-government organisations have so far joined the platform as partners.
A core group including Shaheen Anam, Rasheda K Chowdhury, Brac Vice-Chairperson Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, private entrepreneur Asif Ibrahim¸ Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Sultana Kamal, MCCI President Syed Nasim Manzur, and Prof Mustafizur Rahman, will lead the platform.
That apart, there will be an advisory group comprising Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Prof Anisuzzaman, Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Syed Manzur Elahi, Dr Hameeda Hossain, Dr Wahiduddin Mahmud, Mostafa Monwar, Rokia Afzal Rahman, Raja Debashish Roy, Srimoti Saha, Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed, Shykh Seraj and Prof Rehman Sobhan.
Published in Dhaka Tribune on Sunday, 19 June 2016
Citizens’ platform launched to help achieve SDGs
Tribune Business Desk
A citizen’s platform comprising Bangladesh eminent personalities and academicians has been launched to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) effectively and efficiently.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a think tank, will work as the secretariat of the platform.
“It has been set up by a group of self-initiated individuals which aims to contribute to the delivery of SDGs in the country,” said Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of CPD.
He announced the platform’s mission and vision at a press briefing in Dhaka yesterday.
The major objective of the platform is to monitor, examine and assist the government initiatives and the activities in attaining the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
The core members of the platform include Debapriya Bhattacharya (convenor of the platform), Advocate Sultana Kamal, Rasheda K Choudhury, Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, Shaheen Anam, Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Syed Nasim Manzur and Asif Ibrahim.
The platform has also been joined by 28 leading civil society organisations as partners, who are engaged or preparing to engage themselves with the activities related to the SDGs.
These include Action Aid, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Ain O Salish Kendra, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Caritas Bangladesh, Coast Trust, Hunger Project and Save the Children.
The number of civil society groups is expected to increase.
Advisers to the platform are Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Prof Anisuzzaman, Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, Hameeda Hossain, Rokeya Afzal Rahman, Artist Mustafa Monowar, Raja Debashish Roy, Srimati Saha, Syed Mansur Elahi, Professor Wahiduddin Mahmud, Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed, Shykh Seraj and Professor Rehman Sobhan.
The year 2016 marks the beginning of the SDGs and developing countries are grappling with how to implement them. Bangladesh with the world has moved to SDGs from MDGs in the year.
Unlike the MDGs, which were drawn solely by the United Nations, the new universal goals were arrived at in September last year after more than two years of thorough consultation with global leaders, civil society groups and other stakeholders around the world.
While the MDGs which had come into effect in 2000 focused on the social and economic aspects of development by 2015, the SDGs go much further by addressing the causes of poverty, improving all areas of all people’s life by 2030, and with a slogan of “Leave no one behind.”
Over the next 15 years, the global development agenda will be preoccupied with the ambitious challenge of achieving 17 SDGs with 169 targets for the developed and developing countries.
Published in The Financial Express on Sunday, 19 June 2016
Citizens’ platform to help attain SDGs
Call to ensure rule of law, good governance
A multi-stakeholder platform – Citizens’ Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh – began its journey Saturday with the objective to contribute to effective and efficient implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Bangladesh and enhance accountability in its process.
Distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), who has been made convenor of the platform, formally announced launching of the platform at a press conference at the city’s CIRDAP conference room on Saturday and explained its rationale and activity plan.
According to organisers, the new initiative will work closely, among others, with private sector, civil society and development partners to help expedite the government initiatives and activities of stakeholders to attain the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
The CPD will work as the secretariat of the newly-formed platform having eight core members. They include Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya (Convenor), Advocate Sultana Kamal, Ms Rasheda K Choudhury, Dr Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, Ms Shaheen Anam, Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Professor Mustafizur Rahman, Syed Nasim Manzur and Asif Ibrahim.
A 13-member advisory group was also formed with Professor Rehman Sobhan, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Prof Anisuzzaman, Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, artist Mustafa Monowar, Raja Debashis Roy, Syed Manzur Elahi, Professor Wahiduddin Mahmud, Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed, Shykh Seraj and others as members.
Moreover, some 28 leading civil society organisations joined the platform as partners, which are engaged or preparing to engage themselves in activities related to the SDGs. CPD’s director Anisatul Fatema Yousuf has been made coordinator.
According to Dr Debapriya, the platform will monitor implementation of SDGs in Bangladesh, sensitise policy-makers towards challenges in implementation, examine how SDGs are aligned in the national context, with the Seventh Five Year Plan and other policies. It will analyse appropriateness and effectiveness of new policies, programmes and reforms put in place by the government in order to address SDG implementation and also to ensure monitoring and accountability.
“Two important lessons from MDGs-participation of stakeholders and follow-up and review progress – will be critically important for attainment of SDGs,” said Dr Debapriya adding that these two areas were not given due importance while implementing the MDGs. “But this time it will be integrated, transformative and inclusive” he said adding, “We will go ahead with all altogether with the slogan-Leave no one Behind.”
Dr Debapriya identified Bangladesh’s preparation comparatively better than many other countries but identified scarcity of quality data and lack of inter-ministerial coordination as a major roadblock in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“There is no exact data in case of 60-70 per cent major indicators,” he said adding investment is needed to update the data bank. He, however, appreciated the government initiative to create a platform in the Prime Minister’s Office to overcome the problem.
Dr Debapriya said this time more focus will be given on implementation of SDG number 16 that deals with peace, stability, human rights and effective governance based on rule of law. He stressed the need for strengthening government institutions to ensure good governance, rules of law and establishing transparency and accountability.
“It’s a great opportunity to expose lawlessness, lack of good governance and corruption through this platform,” said Advocate Sultana Kamal, one of the core members of the platform, expressing her frustration over massive violation of rules of law and abuse of human rights.
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman termed it a good opportunity to work with the government as a support force and find out the loopholes on way of implementation of SDGs.
Former DCCI president Asif Ibrahim dwelt on private sector’s role in creating job opportunities and demanded environment-friendly industrial policy which he said would help implementation of SDGs.