Challenges and prospects of implementing SDGs in Bangladesh.

Challenges and prospects of implementing SDGs in Bangladesh.

In international politics non-state actors are not a new phenomenon. Inter governmental organization is a special category of international organizations. Intergovernmental organization is always founded by governments which recognized that it is in their National interests to obtain multilateral agreements and pursue actions to deal with threats, challenges or problems that cannot be dealt with effectively at the unilateral level. There are two key dimensions which are valuable in any comparative analysis of inter government organizations. First is the scope of the inter government organizations by which we mean the number of issue areas it can influence in international relations. Second is the domain of intergovernmental organization, meaning the number of states and significant non state organizations over which it is able to exert influence. The United Nations development programme is the extreme example of it. It has scope over and almost limitless range of issue areas and its domain includes almost every state in the world today.

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio-de-janerio in 2012. The objective was to produce a set of Universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world. The SDGs replace the millennium development goals (MDGs), which started a global effort in 2000 to tackle the indignity of poverty. The MDGs established measurable, universally agreed objectives for tackling extreme poverty and Hunger, preventing deadly diseases and expanding primary education to all children, among other development priorities.

For 15 years, the MDGs Drop progress in several important areas, such as reducing income poverty, is providing much needed access to water and sanitation, driving down child morality and drastically improving maternal health. They also kick-started a global movement for free primary education, inspiring countries to invest in their future generations. Most significantly, the MDGs made huge strides in combating HIV or AIDS and other diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. More than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. Child mortality dropped by more than half. The namer of out of school children has dropped by more than half. HIV or AIDS infections fell by almost 40%.

The legacy and achievements of the MDGs provide us with valuable lessons and experienced to begin work on the new goals. But for millions of people around the world the job remains unfinished. We need to go the last mile on ending hunger, achieving full gender equality, improving health services and getting every child in to school beyond primary. The SDGs are also an urgent call to shift the world on to a more sustainable path. The SDGs are a bold commitment to finish what we started and tackle some of the more pressing challenges facing the world today. All 17 goals interconnect, meaning success in one affects success for others. Dealing with the threat of Climate Change impacts how we manage our fragile natural resources, achieving gender equality or better health helps eradicate poverty and fostering peace and inclusive societies will reduce inequalities and help economies prosper. In short, this is the greatest chance we have to improve life for future generations.

The SDGs coincided with another historic agreement reached in 2015 at the Cop 21 Paris climate conference. Together with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, signed in Japan in March 2015, these agreements provide a set of common standards and achievable targets to reduce carbon emissions, manage the risk of carbon emissions, manage the risk of Climate Change and natural disasters and to build back better after crisis. The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our International commitment to end property, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind. More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.

Bangladesh has been lauded by the United Nations as well as the international development community as the epitome for socio-economic gains achieved under the millennium development goals (MDG’s). This indicates that Bangladesh is well positioned to emerge as a global thought leader with regard to achieve the sustainable development goals as well. Most success in attaining the SDGs will rest, in part, on how well efforts can be guided and where resources are directed. For a government to plan and monitor the impact of its policies, it must be able to benchmark data and see air on air progress. An effective widely used comprehensive SDG monitoring Framework will provide essential support in order to achieve the SDGs. Creation of monitoring mechanism is important for reliable assessment of progress towards SDGs.

The access to information (a2i) programme, implemented by the ICT division in partnership with the cabinet division and the Prime Minister’s office, with assistance from UNDP and USAID in collaboration with general economics division (GED) of planning commission and other Government and private stakeholders, designed developed SDG tracker aimed at creating a data repository for monitoring the implementation of SDGs, strengthening timely data collection and improving situation analysis and performance monitoring of achieving the SDGs along with other national development goals.

SDG-1: No Poverty

SDG 1 denotes that end poverty in all its form everywhere. Eradicating poverty in all its forms remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. While the number of people living in the extreme poverty dropped by more than half between 1990 to 2015 from 1.9 billion to 836 million. Too many are still struggling for the most basic human needs. Globally more than 800 million people are still living on less than US dollar 1.25 a day, many lacking access to adequate food, clean drinking water and sanitation. Rapid economic growth in countries like China and India has lifted millions of poverty but progress has been uneven. Bangladesh is also on the same progress. The SDGs are a bold commitment to finish what we started and end poverty in all forms and dimensions by 2030. This involves targeting the most vulnerable increasing access to basic resources and services and supporting communities affected by conflict and climate related disasters. 

SDG-2: Zero Hunger

SDG 2 denotes end hunger, achieves food security and improved nutrition and promotes sustainable agriculture. Rapid economic growth and increased agricultural productivity over the past two decades have seen the member of undernourished people drop by almost half. Many developing countries that used to suffer from famine and hunger can now meet the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable. The SDGs aim to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people, especially children, have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round. This involves promoting sustainable agricultural practices, supporting a small scale farmer and allowing equal access to land, technology and markets. It also requires in inter nation cooperation for Bangladesh to ensure investment in infrastructure and technology to improve agricultural productivity. Together with the other goals set out here, we can end hunger by 2030.

SDG-3: Good Health and Well-Being

SDG 3 indicates ensure healthy lives and promote well being for all at all ages. We have made huge strides in reducing child mortality, in improving maternal health and fighting against HIV or AIDS, malaria and other diseases. Since 1990, there has been an over 50% decline in preventable child deaths globally. Maternal mortality also fails by 45% worldwide. In many rural areas, only 56% of births are attended by skilled professionals. AIDS is now the leading cause of death among teenagers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Bangladesh is also on threat. The sustainable development goals make a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030. The aim is to achieve universal health coverage and provide access to safe and affordable medicines and vaccines for all. Supporting research and development for vacancies is an essential part of this process.

SDG-4: Quality Education

SDG 4 indicates ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Since 2000, there has been enormous progress in achieving the target of universal primary education. The total enrollment rate in developing regions reached 91% in 2015 and worldwide number of children out of school has dropped by almost half. There has also been a dramatic increase in literacy rates and many more girls are in school than ever before. These are all remarkable success. Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. These goals ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, to eliminate gender and wealth disparities and achieve universal access to a quality higher education.

SDG-5: Gender Equality

SDG-5 indicates achieving Gender equality and empowers all women and girls. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also crucial to accelerating sustainable development. The SDGs aim to build on this achievement on this to ensure that there is an end to discrimination against women and girls everywhere. There are still huge inequalities in the labour market; women systematically denied equal access to jobs. Sexual violence and exploitation, the unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work and discrimination in public offices all remain use barriers. Today there are more women in public offices than ever before, but encouraging women leaders will help strengthen policies and legislation for greater gender equality.

SDG-6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 6 ensures availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Water scarcity affects more than 40% of people around the world. This issue also affects Bangladesh. Protecting and restoring water related ecosystems such as forest, mountains, wetlands and rivers are essential if we are to mitigate water scarcity. More International cooperation is also needed to encourage water efficiency and support treatment technologies in our countries.

SDG-7: Affordable and Clean Energy

SDG 7 ensures access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. Unfortunately still 1 in 10 people lack access to electricity in Bangladesh. Ensuring access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy in all developing countries is a crucial goal as well as Bangladesh that can both encourage growth and help the environment.

SDG-8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG 8 promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this for Bangladesh. As well as effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men by 2030.

SDG-9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

SDG 9 builds resilient infrastructures promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and Foster innovation. Investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development. With over half the world population now living in cities mass transport and renewable energy are becoming ever more important, as are the growth of new industries and information and communication technologies. Promoting sustainable industries and investing in scientific research and innovation, all are important ways to facilitate sustainable development.

SDG-10: Reduced Inequalities

SDG 10 reduces inequality within and among countries. It is well documented that income inequality is on the rise, with the reachest 10 earning up to 40 percent of total global income. Income inequality is a global problem that requires global solution. This involves improving the regulations and monitoring of financial markets and institutions, encouraging development assistance and foreign direct investment to regions where the need is greatest. Facilitating the safe migration and mobility of people of Bangladesh is also key to briding the widening divide.

SDG-11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11 makes cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. In 1990, there were 10 megacities with 10 million in habitants or more. In 2014, there are 28 megacities home to a total 453 million people. Extreme poverty is often concentrated in urban spaces and national and City Governments struggle to accommodate the rising population in this areas. Making cities safe and sustainable means ensuring access to safe and affordable housing and upgrading slum settlements. It also involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces and improving urban planning and management in a way that is both participatory and inclusive. Dhaka could be a best example of it.

SDG-12: Responsible Consumption and Production

SDG 12 ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns. Achieving economic growth and sustainable development requires that we urgently reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources. Agriculture is the biggest user of water in Bangladesh and irrigation now claims close to 70% of all freshwater for human use. The efficient management of our shared natural resources and the way we dispose of toxic waste and pollutants are important target to achieve this goal. Encouraging Industries, businesses and Consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important. This can help with food security and shift towards a more resource efficient economy.

SDG-13: Climate Action

SDG 13 takes urgent action to combat climate change and its impact. There is no country in the world that is not experience in fast and that drastic effects of climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. It is still possible for Bangladesh with the political will and a wide array of Technological measures, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels. This requires urgent collective actions.

SDG-14: Life below Water

SDG 14 conserves and sustainably uses the oceans, Seas and Marine resources for sustainable development. In Bangladesh marine pollution and overwhelming majority of which comes from land-based sources, is reaching alarming levels with an average. The SDGs into sustainably manage and protect Marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification

SDG-15: Life on Land

SDG 15 protect, restore and promote sustainable use of territorial ecosystems, sustainably manage forest, combat desertification and halt and reverse Land Degradation and halt biodiversity loss. Bangladesh is working continuously on this issue.

SDG-16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

            SDG 16 promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. Bangladesh provides access to justice for all and builds effective, accountable and inclusive Institutions at all levels.

SDG-17: Partnerships for the Goals

SDG 17 strengthens the means of implementations and revitalizes the Global partnership for sustainable development. Bangladesh is trying to promote international trade and helping developing countries increase their exports, is all part of achieving a Universal rules best and equitable trading system that is fair and open and benefits all.

According to the government’s “SDG Bangladesh progress report 2018” the country is performing well in various aspects including poverty reduction, gender equality, electricity, sanitation and annual GDP growth. Despite challenges, Bangladesh is on the right track to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals by 2030. Bangladesh has been widely acclaimed as one of the four runners 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 enrollment and so on. Bangladesh experienced a fortuitous combination of two simultaneous processes which significantly facilitate integration of SDGs into the national development agenda. While the government was participating in the 2030 agenda process at the global level. It was also preparing the government the seventh five year plan at the national level.

The Government of Bangladesh consistently applied “whole of society” approach to the preparation of national development plans and policy documents of national importance. The government has been applying this approach throughout the process of SDGs preparation. The government has extended this strong tradition to the implementation of ambitious SDGs. Several consultations on stakeholders on the SDGs implementation in Bangladesh have professional groups, labour associations, NGOs, development partners, ethnic minorities to raise more awareness, interest and commitment to create more engagement from all stakeholders towards attaining SDGs.

In view of the critical role of the private sector in attaining SDGs consultation meetings between the Government of Bangladesh, private sector and the UN system on the role of the private sector facilitating the SDGs have been held to highlight the brought out lines for private sector actions on SDGs implementation. The government also appreciates the value of media in creating awareness of people that the agenda guiding development up to 2030 is sustainable development. Effective and coherent role of both print and electronic media in creating SDGs awareness and branding of success would be strongly needed. if the private and public sectors of NGOs work together, then we can achieve the goals by the defined time. We are performing well in attaining many targets of SDGs. Now we need support and encouragement.