Potentials and Challenges in Implementing the SDG in Bangladesh

Potentials and Challenges in Implementing the SDG in Bangladesh

“Potentials and Challenges in Implementing the SDG in Bangladesh”

The MDGs were the first ever global blueprint for fighting poverty on such scale. When the Millennium Declaration was adopted in September 2000, no one perhaps had any illusion that it would manage to solve all the world’s problems. Yet, the MDG’s have given the hope that it is within the existing means to create a new world. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development also offers a set of bold, ambitious and innovative package to transform the world. Therefore, the expectations around it would be also be high. The experience with the MDGs implies that Bangladesh has every reason to feel energized about the promises that beckon us in another decade and a half. At the seventieth session of the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, the member states have adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).The declaration is titled as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Powerful message of this summit is- No one to be left behind. The 193 member states have committed to work towards implementing the 2030 Agenda within their own countries and at the regional and global levels.17 Goals with 169 associated Targets will come into effect on 1 January 2016 and will guide the international development agenda over the next 15 years The indicators will be finalized by the UN Statistical Commission in March 2016.

Bangladesh’s Experience with MDGs

Bangladesh’s MDGs Progress Report 2015 basically represents the nominal experiences of Bangladesh in achieving MDGs. In terms of cardinal measures, the country achieved a lot because back in 2000 it was unimaginable for Bangladesh to achieve the goals. Considering the baseline in 1991, it was really hard to think of eradication of poverty. But according to the current statistics, it is really commendable success for Bangladesh to eradicate poverty at a very faster rate and Bangladesh has become a showcase for many countries including the LDCs and even for some developing countries. The goals are very easy to understand for all sections of the society including the policymakers and the activists in different parts of the world.

Where does Bangladesh stand regarding MDGs? In terms of poverty, women empowerment, education, maternal health and child health; Bangladesh has made good progress and can touch upon the targets by 2015.

           Bangladesh’s MDGs Progress Status in terms of 65 Indicators

Source: Bangladesh’s MDG Progress Report 2015 (GED)

All quarters of the world really admire this impressive and stable growth. The pro-poor growth is really a positive initiative in order to eradicate poverty in sustainable way and this initiative has a good impact in reducing poverty. Inclusive growth is another factor in poverty reduction that basically played a good role in employment generation. The Bangladesh Progress Report describes that the targets have already been achieved are quantitative indicators but there are qualitative parts of it that are half done and need to be accounted properly. So there is hope because there are already a lot of achievements but there is no scope of complacency because we have a long way to go because there are SDGs in front of us.

Hunger was a nightmare for Bangladesh in the context of 2000 when MDGs were endorsed. Compared to the baseline in 1991-92, the poverty rate was 56.7 per cent and in 2013 it is only 26.2 per cent where the target for 2015 was 29 per cent. So, Bangladesh has already achieved the target. Still reducing hunger is a big success but there are some challenges like poverty pockets but these challenges are manageable. There are some other issues like unemployment of young population. In Monga prone area like Rangpur, the success in reduction of poverty is really good.

The rate of equitable access to education is really commendable because the net enrolment rate is currently 97.7 per cent though the target was 100 per cent. There are problems like year-to-year dropout and total dropout even though the government is trying hard to address the problem. Bangladesh government is considering and admitting the challenge that is really a good sign because if the government can realize the problem then it is easy to address the challenges. So Bangladesh is strongly progressing in terms of that indicator and there are improvements in completion of targets. There are a lot of quality enhancement programmes that are really working well. The country achieved gender parity in both primary and secondary education. The stipend programme in secondary education is really bringing the girls children into education though there is a question of amount of stipend. Other challenges are quality and retention but these are manageable.

When women empowerment is discussed, the focus remains on political, economic and social empowerment of women. In the social and economic arena, there is lot of improvements. Role of microcredit has been a real good factor in empowering women because through microcredit programmes women are becoming entrepreneurs. That is a big success for Bangladesh. There is also an increasing in the number of women MPs in the National Parliament. Now, 20 per cent of total seats in the parliament are occupied by women. A challenge in economic arena is low participation of woman in labour force. Unemployment rate among women is also high compared to their male counterparts.

Bangladesh has been a good example in reducing child mortality rate. In 1991, the rate was 146 and now it is 46. The target for 2015 is 48. So it is almost achieved. There are many successful programmes for immunization, control of diarrhea diseases and Vitamin A supplementation. Vitamin A supplementation rate was 86 per cent in 2007 and now it is more than 90 per cent. There are some emerging challenges like inequalities among the population segments and childhood injuries. Bangladesh is a story of success in improving maternal health. Maternal mortality declined from 322 in 2001 to 194 in 2010, a 40 per cent decline in nine years. Average annual rate of decline from 1990 has been about 3.3 per cent, while MDG requirement is 3 per cent. About 43.5 per cent of women aged 15-49 years with a live birth in the last 2 years were attended by skilled health personnel in 2012-13, which was only 24.4 per cent in 2009. Maternal allowance and voucher schemes of the government contributed positively in bringing successes in this area.

Bangladesh is not in an alarming position because prevalence of HIV/AIDS is currently less than 0.1 per cent which is still below an epidemic level. Prevalence of malaria per 100,000 population was 441.5 in 2005, which came down to 202 in 2013. Children with fever who are treated with appropriate anti-malarial drugs was 80 per cent in 2008, which was recorded at 89.5 per cent in 2013 and the target is to achieve 90 per cent in 2015. The death rate associated with TB was 61 per 100,000, populations in 1990. The status is 45 in 2012 on track.

The main challenge in ensuring environmental sustainability is coverage of forest area. The data of 2014 shows that only 13.4 per cent of the total area is covered by forest and the area having tree cover is much lower than the target set for 2015 (20per cent). Another problem is carbon emission. As Bangladesh is actively working to become a middle-income country, there is a positive linkage between carbon emission and expansion of economic activities. On the other hand, 97.9 per cent of the population of Bangladesh is using improved drinking water source. However, the challenges are arsenic and salinity intrusion, access to safe water – challenge of inequality. These challenges are met in an innovative ways by the government, NGOs, and private sector.

The grave performance is observed in goal-eight, developing a global partnership for development. ODA disbursed as a proportion of Bangladesh’s GDP has declined from 5.59 percent from early-1990s to 1.78 per cent in 2013-14; annual average of 2.62 per cent. Despite the failure of donors, Bangladesh is doing very well in meeting MDGs. Another problem is Digital Divide. But still, Bangladesh is doing well in ICT sector as there is a target of the government to move ahead towards a Digital Bangladesh. In this aspect, the problem is inequality because if you go to remote areas then there is lack of good access to ICT sectors.

So, what are the experiences for Bangladesh? So far, the experience is comfortable for different stakeholders in Bangladesh. There is a major change that the grassroots people are really appreciating the targets and active in meeting the goals by taking different interventions like Mothers’ Club, Child Club, and Education Club etc. Ownership is also a reason for success because everybody owns the problem as well as the goals. In policy, strategy plans and programmes the government is taking MDGs in addressing different policies like PRSP, the sixth and seventh five-year plan, and ‘Vision 2021’. Now it is the time to say Good bye to MDGs but there is a question that is it the death of MDGs. Nevertheless, the successes of MDGs should be transmitted to attain the goals of SDGs.

Learning from the MDGs and Lessons for the SDGs

This is very timely to think of MDGs and SDGs. SDG is not the death of MDGs rather it is the continuum of MDGs to finish the unfinished targets of MDGs. The lessons for implementing MDGs will be very relevant in implementing the goals of SDGs. The first learning from MDGs is that the concept was North-dominated, either by Northern governments or the NGOs in the North working in the Southern part of the world. But, SDGs have been more inclusive because the governments from South have been included in the discourse. After the September 2015 Summit, the Southern think tanks and civil societies will also be included in the discourse. Between 1990-2000 and 2000-2015, there have been accelerations as well as slowdown in implementing different goals of MDGs. It means Bangladesh was not that focused in some of the areas of MDGs but there is a scope to be active in the context of SDGs.

The second learning is that SDGs will be universal and the goals will not only be met by average number but also by ethnic communities, by gender, by geographical distributions and by special distribution. Though the average in some cases sounds good but average conceals many truths. It is a good aspect that SDGs will be implemented in a way of distributive justice. In different policy documents like five-year plan, PRSP, etc. it has been seen there are many targets that were included in the policy papers as well as there were many targets that were not addressed properly. But in the context of SDGs the policy documents will have to reflect the SDG targets and goals for their successful attainment.

The strength for Bangladesh is that along with our five-year plan the country has sector-specific policy that goes more in-depth to achieve the goals. Many of our key policy documents like National Education Policy, PEDP are in line with the targets of MDGs. Another factor is investment allocation for attaining the goals. The learning here is that not only the priorities will be tuned according to SDGs but also the allocative distribution will have to be done according to these priorities.

The SDG documents speak about data revolution. It is known to all that what cannot be measured and cannot be monitored. So, there must have information and data management to measure the progress.

Education and Health: Perspectives from Income Inequality

Without addressing the concern of income inequality, Bangladesh cannot achieve the unfinished task of MDGs as well as the new challenges approached by SDGs in the area of education, health and nutrition. The BIDS report titled “Fighting Human Poverty: Bangladesh Human Development Report 2000” took a very optimistic term on meeting the social MDGs in early 2000s. In the decade of 2000, the country was aided by the additional forces of economic growth and poverty reduction which provided an additional boost meeting education, health and nutritional MDGs in the decade of 2000 and 2010.

What explains the Bangladesh’s success story in health and education MDGs? The first thing is that the MDGs is a case of higher social progress at a relatively lower level of income which was predicted by Amartya Sen and Mahbubul Haq. It was shown that it is possible not to wait for economic growth to do the trade but even at a lower level of income address the avoidable health and educational inequality. Five aspects can be identified in the success story of Bangladesh. First, a low cost solution can be filled in meeting health and education MDGs by sustaining a low public expenditure. Therefore, Bangladesh’s success story was done through maintaining a fiscal realism. It was low cost because it was focused on preventive rather than curative health care, quantitative target as opposed to qualitative ones, and providing infrastructural facilities and access instead of institutional improvement. These are the pluses and minuses associated with low cost solution. The second factor of success was the strategic ownership and leadership provided at the country and the sectoral level irrespective of successive regimes. A persistent commitment is observed in family planning, education, food production, poverty reduction, and primary education. Therefore, there has been a sustained political commitment to attain the MDGs. The third factor is the visible role of economic empowerment of women through social mobilization by a long cooperative tradition and strong NGO presence. There is also an additional factor of initial social cohesion in Bangladesh can be seen in overall positive attitude towards family planning. All these contribute to female economic empowerment. The fourth ingredient of success is the supportive role of sustained and poverty reducing economic growth. There has been a focus on utilising the unskilled labor to agriculture, rural non-farm, readymade garments and international migration. The fifth and less emphasised factor is the hidden role of inclusive ideology in shaping pro-poor, pro-women and pro-MDGs activities. Several countries which did well on MDGs typically had preserved the citizen rights irrespective of the status of democracy. In Bangladesh, there is an impact of the great liberation war on economic and political aspects.

The SDGs include the second generation challenges of MDGs like quantity to quality shift, social growth ingredient, and thinking horizontal as well as vertical inequality. MDGs had eight goals whereas SDGs has 17 goals multiplied by many indicators. In the transition from MDGs to SDGs discourse, one of the crucial goals is reducing income inequality. It demands that by 2030, growth of income of the bottom 40 per cent population should be achieved progressively and sustainably which will be higher than the national level. This is very important conditionality that Bangladesh is committing to. Reducing income inequality is important to meet up health and educational needs. Income inequality affects the poverty reduction and through that channel affects the size of private investments in education and health. Once wellbeing of poor people increases, they can invest more on health and educational expenditure of their family members. This has been an important driver of human development in East Asia and this has also been a supportive driver in case of Bangladesh in the decade of 2010 and 2010. Faster improvement in mortality, nutrition and education are the additional forces of poverty reduction. If income inequality increases, poverty reduction decreases.

High income inequality often leads to lower taxation or spending capacity of the government due to superior lobbying power of the politically powerful upper income group. As a result, pro-poor public goods are under-supplied. For instance, government-provided education and health system in Bangladesh suffered from lack of access or inferior-good syndrome. Same applied to public social protection because of the lobbying power of the rich, they cannot be taxed and as a result, social protection system is underfunded and suffers from tokenism. In general, public spending ratios are higher in country with higher tax-GDP ratio and lower income inequality. Income inequality affects the health and educational outcomes through the channel of social cohesion. Countries with high income inequality are marked by sharp distributional conflicts. In Bangladesh, income inequality is explained by earned and unearned income where inequality is usually higher in the latter case. Unearned incomes affect the delivery of health and educational services and the governance of a country. Therefore, reducing income inequality is important in attaining the first five goals in SDGs.

Access to Resources, Environment and Climate Change

MDGs definitive focus on environment (and Climate Change as an associated phenomenon) has been somewhat limited and myopic. Only the goal seven of MDG constituted a starting point for a development agenda focusing on environmental sustainability. However, it did not address some of the rapidly emerging priority issues of climate change or disaster risk management which includes – ensuring universal access to sustainable energy, linking basic access to water and sanitation within a broader ‘water agenda’ including water resources management and access and equity considerations for marginalized communities.

Bangladesh has gradual improvement in the target 7.1 of MDGs which is proportion of land areas covered by forest from 9 per cent in 1991 to 13 per cent in 2014. However, the country is still lagging behind the target in forest cover situation. In case of CO2 emission, the country has a gradual increase from 0.14 per capita US$1 GDP to 0.21. This reflects the intense period of development intervention activity and degree of industrialization that the country had over the period. The country has also made some progress in case of protected areas (terrestrial and marine) but still lags behind from the target. In case of proportion of population using an improved drinking water source and improved sanitation facility, the country’s performance is gradually improving over the years and it has almost achieved the target. However, in calculation of population using an improved drinking water source, two risk factors namely – arsenic contamination and salinity intrusion has not taken into account. So, when the country will set its target to meet the SDGs, this cavity must be well addressed. One area, where, the Asia pacific Region as a whole should be aware that is fossil fuel combustion, which has increased by 161% from 1990 to 2008 compared to global rise of 44 per cent.

Building of SDGs conceptual framework, people, partnership, planet, peace and prosperity will work as five basic pillars under three thematic areas namely – equity, human rights and sustainability. Some crucial factors of SDGs where the country has to strongly negotiate are Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience, water access and efficiency, sustainable energy, food security, sustainable agriculture, etc.

SDGs negotiation process

Formulation of SDGs included several UN processes:

  • United Nations Task Team on Post-2015
  • High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP)
  • UN Office of the Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Post-2015
  • Development Planning
  • UN Regional Commission s
  • Intergovernmental Committee on Sustainable Development Financing
  • High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)

Non-official inputs also contributed shaping SDGs; e.g.:

  • UN Global Compact (UNGC)
  • Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals (SV)
  • Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
  • Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

The SDGs declaration has recognized the following guiding principles

1. Charter of the United Nations (1945)

2. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

3. Declaration on the Right to Development (1986)

4. Millennium Declaration (2000)

5. World Summit (2005)

The SDGs declaration has also acknowledged

1. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992)

2. International Conference on Population and Development (1994)

3. World Summit for Social Development (1995)

4. Beijing Platform for Action (1995)

5. World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002)

6. United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+ 20”)

7. Rome Declaration on Nutrition (2014)

8. New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) (2015)

9. African Union’s Agenda 2063 (2013)

Fig: Three pillars of Sustainable Transformation

The SDGs declaration has included commitments from

1. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992)

2. Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (2011)

3. Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries (2014)

4. Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (2014)

5. Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (2015)

6. Third International Conference on Financing for Development (2015)

The declaration also looked forward to

1. COP21 (December 2015)

2. COP13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2016)

3. United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (2016).

Bangladesh in SDGs negotiation process

1st round of National Post-2015 consultation process between November 2012-May 2013 led by GED. Bangladesh submitted its report in 2013, proposing 11 goals. 2nd round of post-2015 consultations, led by the UN Development Group (UNDG) took place in 2014on the ‘means of implementation’ -Bangladesh investigated ‘participatory monitoring for accountability’. Bangladesh is currently formulating its ­­­Seventh Five Year Plan (7FYP) for the period of 2016-2020.While formulating the plan document, SDGs were supposed to be taken into consideration so that the global development agenda can be illustrated in the national plan. Till date, Bangladesh has prepared eight MDG monitoring reports. According to the recent Bangladesh MDG Report (2015), the country wants to be an ‘early starter’ in the implementation process of the SDGs.

Since 2000 Millennium Development Goals generally known by their acronym MDGs have served as global framework for development. They indeed guided the efforts of the international community, particularly in the developing countries, to intensify the fight against disenabling factors, which stood in the way of realizing and harnessing the full human potential. During these years, progress has been achieved in many of the targets identified under the MDGs, while other areas deserve further attention.

Bangladesh has integrated Millennium Development Goals (the MDGs) within the economic and social targets of its Sixth Five Year Plan (2011-15). General Economics Division (GED), Planning Commission has been monitoring and reporting the MDG status through the ‘Millennium Development Goals: Bangladesh Progress Report’. The latest report on MDGs (2012) revels that Bangladesh has already met some targets of MDGs like reducing poverty gap ratio, attaining gender parity at primary and secondary levels education, increasing immunization coverage, under-five mortality rate reduction, containing HIV infection with access to antiretroviral drugs, children under five sleeping under insecticide treated bed nets, detection and cure rate of TB under DOTS etc. Bangladesh has been convincingly moving towards achieving most of the goals, while some of the goals can be attained with enhanced efforts.

In addition, some members of the international community took a lackluster view of their role in the process and failed to respect their initial commitment under the MDG framework. Perhaps that explains why in the end the struggle for achieving MDGs has been mostly driven and led by the developing nations themselves through their own national means and resources without practically any tangible support from their partners.

Guidance from Rio+ 20 Conference

Against this backdrop, UN Conference on Sustainable Development, popularly known as Rio + 20 Conference, which took place in Brazil in June 2012, rearticulated the three dimensions of sustainable development, namely social, economic and environmental dimensions. The outcome document of Rio+20 entitled, “The future we want for all” also recognized that the development of goals could also be useful for pursuing focused and coherent actions on sustainable development. It also acknowledged the importance and utility of a set of goals for Post 2015 Development Agenda (P2015DA). It recommended that these goals should be coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015.

United Nations in action

Based on this guidance, the United Nations has embarked on a process of conducting series of global consultations in 2012 with a view to identifying new global priorities and ensuring that all stakeholders are included in this process of consultation to make the process inclusive and transparent. Accordingly, the UN Secretary General set up a High Level Panel (HLP) to coordinate the process and to provide its own recommendations on P2015DA. At the same time, UN member states, UN system and other stakeholders, including the civil society and global networks have been requested to send their ideas, inputs and recommendations to the UN by June 2013. The UN General Assembly will discuss this matter in September 2013.

Organizing principles

A few organizing principles have been kept in mind during the preparation of the draft on Post 2015 Development Agenda. First, goals have been kept limited in number, so that they could be measured against targets and indicators. Second, goals and targets have been articulated in such a way so that they could act as a bridge between the unfinished agenda of MDGs and the potential Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as suggested in Rio+20 conference. Third, the proposed framework would be based on the principles of inclusiveness, sustainability, equity, rule of law, human rights, governance, justice, opportunity and participation of all stakeholders. Fourth, P2015DA have been proposed to address the new challenges, which may define the world during the next 15 years. Fifth, the issues of accountability and transparency, both domestically and globally, have also been incorporated. Sixth, our national priorities as articulated in various vision documents, including Vision 2021, Sixth Five Year Plan, Seventh Five Year Plan and Perspective Plan.

Political Commitment

The Core Committee and the GED gratefully acknowledge the guidance and blessings received from the Hon’ble Prime Minister to the efforts on the proposed Post 2015 Development Agenda. Her guidance and specific inputs received from national consultations on the goals and targets greatly helped to give a final shape to this national document. The GED formally forwarded it to the Foreign Ministry to forward it to United Nations through the formal diplomatic channel for their consideration.

Challenges for Bangladesh in implementing the SDG:

Integration in the national planning process

We encourage all member states to develop as soon as practicable ambitious national responses to the overall implementation of this Agenda. These can support the transition to the SDGs and build on existing planning instruments, such as national development and sustainable development strategies, as appropriate. We also encourage member states to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels which are country-led and country-driven. Such reviews should draw on contributions from indigenous peoples, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in line with national circumstances, policies and priorities. National parliaments as well as other institutions can also support these processes.

A number of national plans (at least 14), strategies and policies are already in place

  • 7th Five Year Plan (Draft)
  • National Social Security Strategy (NSSS) 2015 (Draft)
  • National Food Policy Plan of Action (2008-2015)
  • National Health Policy 2011
  • Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Development Program (HPNSDP) 2011-2016.
  • National Education Policy 2010; Primary Education Development Program (PEDP III)2011-16 (extended to June 2017)
  • National Women’s Development Policy (NWDP) 2011
  • Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (From 7FYP)
  • Power System Master Plan (PSMP) 2010
  • National Skills Development Policy (NSDP 2011)
  • National Industrial Policy 2015 (draft)
  • National Sustainable Development Strategy 2010-21
  • Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (BCCSAP) 2009

An ongoing CPD study has found that among the 17 SDGs –8 Goals are better integrated in the existing national prioritization processes. About 20% targets are not currently reflected in national priorities

Challenges for prioritization–

Methodology yet to be fully developed, but few things should be done

  • emphasis should be on weaker areas of MDG achievement
  • no bias for stronger areas of MDG achievement
  • must integrate Goal 10 (Reduced inequality) and Goal 16

(Peace, justice and strong institutions)

  • should not opt for the lowest possible measure.

Financial and non-financial resources

Finance is a key component if the coming process is to successfully deliver the SDGs. According to the estimates in the final report by the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing (ICESDF), achieving the SDGs in all countries will require additional global investments in the range of $5 trillion to $7 trillion per year up to 2030. UNCTAD estimates that out of this, developing countries will need between $3.3 trillion and $4.5 trillion a year in financing for basic infrastructure (roads, rail and ports; power stations; water and sanitation), food security (agriculture and rural development), and climate change mitigation and adaptation, health and education. But, at current levels of public and private investment, there will be an annual financing gap of $2.5 trillion for aforesaid five areas (about 3.2% of world GDP).The Economic and Social Survey of the Asia and the Pacific 2013 estimates the public investment needs to deliver a package of policies to promote inclusive and sustainable development:  Benefits to all persons with disabilities between the ages of 15 and 65 equivalent to the national poverty line would require public expenditure of 0.9% of GDP for Bangladesh by 2030. Three energy goals to be achieved by 2030:

  • universal access to modern energy services,
  • doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and
  • doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix-the average annual additional investment requirement is about 3% of GDP in Bangladesh.

Budgetary allocation on social security is hovering around 2% of GDP in FY2010-2015 period which is even lower than the 6FYP target of 3%. Average share of health in total public expenditure stagnated at 0.7% of GDP during FY2003-2014. WHO stipulates that the allocation should be 5% of GDP. Education budget (both allocation and expenditure) has been hovering around 2% of GDP during FY2003-2014.UNESCO stipulates that the allocation should be 6% of GDP.

Budgetary allocation on gender is increasing steadily over the years. From 2.6% of GDP in 2007 to 4.4% of GDP in 2015.Spending on agriculture and food security has been declining consistently both as a share of GDP and total budget in last 5-6 years. Average share of agriculture and food security in total budget was 10.3% while it was around 1.3% of GDP during FY2010-2015.

Institutional mechanism for implementation

One of the weaknesses of MDGs implementation was absence of dedicated institutional mechanism for implementation. GED was involved in producing monitoring reports with the help of other government agencies. Attainment of SDGs will require a strong and effective institutional mechanism involving all stakeholders including public representatives (central and local), government (executive and bureaucracy), private sector, civil society, knowledge community, and development partners.

Who should lead the process?

Under the leadership of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) an inter ministerial body may be formed

  • Involve national parliament and local government institutions
  • The government may form a set of task forces involving both government and non-government experts
  • The national budgetary process should also be informed by the SDGs

Already the Governance Innovation Unit (GIU) of PMO has been started work on SDG through Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), Ashrayan Project, Board of Investment (BOI), Public Private Partnership (PPP) department, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) and PMO itself. GIU has conducted three workshop on March 4, 2016, 22-23 March, 2016 and 29-30 March, 2016 regarding to make policy, rules and regulation for implementing the 17 goals of SDG with social, environmental and economic aspects.

Data for monitoring

Accessibility, quality and timeliness of data will be critical. Fixing a reference year will be a challenge for this issue. Rapid technological progress should be put into effective use. Coordination among BBS and private sector for addressing the methodological gap should be addressed. Use of non-official data may be considered. Ensuring finance for data is a challenge given global support to statistics has declined in recent years. Independence of statistical office is important. According to Partner Report on Support to Statistics (PRESS 2015), in 2013, commitments to statistical development (of about USD 448 million) show a 20% decrease from the previous two years.

Participation and accountability should be ascertained in the following manner:

  1.  Mode of participation
  2.  Instrument for enforcing accountability
  3.  Role of public representatives (Parliament and local government).

Concluding remarks

Bangladesh’s MDG score card does bear the proof that it can deliver on the international communities; that the country can attain the goals through inclusive, multi-stakeholder partnerships and that investments made in Bangladesh are worth its dividends. In the last fifteen years, Bangladesh has witnessed one of the fastest reductions in poverty anywhere in the world within a limited resource base. The country has met the target in reducing the proportion of population below the national poverty line three years ahead of time, which presently stands at 22.4 per cent. It has reached the targets in reducing infant mortality rate from 92 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 46 now; and in decreasing the prevalence of underweight children less than five years of age from 66 per cent in 1990 to 32.6 per cent at present. In terms of education, the country has achieved nearly cent percent enrolment in primary schools; and attained gender parity with more girls than boys in primary and secondary schools. It has met the targets in preventing malarial deaths and in raising the share of people using an improved drinking water source.

There are, however, certain key lessons to be drawn from Bangladesh’s experience with the MDG’s as the country turns the page to the SDG chapter. It may be relevant to highlight some of them. First, there is no alternative to robust political will to pursue the development pathway defined be these time-bound internationally agreed goals. Second, the political will needs to be translated into specific action plans at the national level, ideally through integration with the national development strategy. Third, it is imperative to build national ownership through involving a cross section of actors, including the civil society and media, for implementing the internationally agreed development goals. The partnership forged among the various actors would need to be recalibrated and re-energized from time to time in response to the shifting ground realities. Fourth, there needs to be a healthy mix of domestic and external resource mobilization with a view to ensuring scaling up and sustainability of the proven interventions. Transparency and accountability in resource management would be crucial for achieving buy-in among all concerned actors. Fifth, international partnership must deliver on the relevant international commitments and go beyond the traditional official development assistance to encompass meaningful and equitable terms for international trade, investment, migration and technology transfer. The gaps in fulfilling certain critical targets under MDGs on Global Partnership would not augur well for the legitimate expectations Bangladesh has around the SDGs. And finally, there is a critical need for investing in enhanced capacity building for data collection and analysis to promote effective. An ambitious global development partnership launched at a time of challenging international environment. So political will –global, regional and national; will be of the critical essence The Government needs to have a strengthened accountability and legitimacy process.


  1. Training-Workshop organized by The Prime Minister’s Office of Bangladesh on Effective GPMS relates to SDG.
  2. Seminar organized by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS).
  3. Discussions by Dr Binayak Sen on SDG perspective in Bangladesh.
  4. The Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals: Implementation Challenges for Bangladesh; Presented At A CPD Media Briefing by Debapriya Bhattacharya.
  5. Presentation by Professor Dr Niaz Ahmed Khan.
  6. Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies
  7. Report by Planning Commission.
  8. General Economics Division, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  9. The Age of Sustainable Development by Jeffrey Sachs
  10.  Economics of climate change mitigation
  11. Post-2015 Development Agenda
  12.  Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities
  13.  Human Development Index.


  1. Post 2015 process – Intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, Declaration session, 17-20 Feb 2015
  2. Sustainable Development Goals – Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals
  3. High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development – HLPF in 2015: 26 June – 8 July 2015
  4. Global Sustainable Development Report – Contribute to the 2015 edition
  5. Rio+20 – Outcome and follow-up to United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
  6. What is Sustainable Development? Video by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  7. Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals
  8. United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network