Resource mobilisation biggest challenge

Govt report on SDG financing


Mehdi Musharraf Bhuiyan | Published: September 23, 2018 09:51:46 | Updated: September 23, 2018 17:48:09


Resource mobilisation remains the "biggest challenge" for the implementation of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in Bangladesh, a forthcoming government report has cautioned.

Traditional sources of funding are insufficient and the government needs to find innovative ways for SDG financing, according to the country's first SDG progress report, which is at the final stage of publication.

Apart from resource mobilisation, the report has identified at least seven other challenges that can hamper the attainment of SDGs in the country.

Notable among these are-rapid population growth, unplanned urbanisation, natural disaster and climate change, utilisation of resources, skill development, quality education, competitiveness and governance challenges.

"This is the first SDG progress report being prepared by the government and it is crucial for us in evaluating where we are in terms of SDG implementation," member of the Planning Commission Professor Shamsul Alam told the FE.

"The report will provide details about what progress has been made while identifying areas for further reforms and progress," said Alam, whose General Economics Division is preparing the document.

The report comes ahead of the United Nations General Assembly scheduled to be held in New York this week.

The UNGA, among other issues, would also focus extensively on the financing of SDGs globally. Earlier, Bangladesh also prepared a SDG financing strategy, according to which, the country would require an additional $ 928.48 billion during the year 2017 and 2030 to fully implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Out of this total amount, US$ 796.09 billion has to come from domestic sources, while US$ 132 billion from external sources, the financing strategy said.

In this context, the report has repeatedly pointed out that traditional sources of funding are insufficient to implement the SDGs by 2030 and innovative funding modes are necessary for fulfilling the global goals. Apart from financing, the report has identified 'population momentum' as one of the major challenges of SDG implementation.

Bangladesh's population, which grew from 108 million in 1990 to 160 million, is projected to grow to over 200 million by 2050, according to government estimates.

In this context, it has been observed that a large population along with high population growth would require increased agricultural production, which will ultimately put pressure on the environment and may take place at the expense of resource availability for human development.

In addition, the report has also identified unplanned urbanisation as a major hurdle for SDG implementation. It is notable that back in 1990s, 20 per cent of the country's population used to lived in urban areas.

This segment has increased to 35 per cent by 2016 while it is expected to surpass the share of rural population by 2040, the government estimates show. In this context, the report has warned that that rapid migration to urban areas and inadequate infrastructure would be a serious problem for the country in the near future.

Much emphasis has also been put on the issue of governance, noting that there are scopes for further improvement in a number of governance-related indicators.

Governance issue is particularly critical in the use of public resources, service delivery of institutions, transport, law enforcement, judiciary, land administration, tax and customs, the report noted.

Besides, effective utilisation of resources has also been identified as one major prerequisite, noting that public investment should be targeted not only for creating infrastructure to encourage private investment but also to ensure trickledown effect to reduce inequalities. "It is important to assess what resources are needed, how resources are used and for whom the resources should be used," Professor Alam said.

Noting that a large number of young population remains out of employment, the report has also identified skill development and ensuring quality education as a major challenge.

This is in line with the Labor Force Survey of 2016, which found that around 13 million population aged 15 to 29 in the country is not in education, employment and training.

"However, if these young portion of the population can be trained up and provided with technical education and employment, this will have a long term consequence in terms of per capita income, growth, poverty and health outcome," Professor Alam said. When it comes to increasing the competitiveness, the report has noted some improvement in recent years.

However, the country has to keep up the momentum of ongoing reforms to make smooth business climate, reducing the transaction cost substantially, the report has observed.

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