The Financial Express

SDG agenda progress may come up for review in April

Rezaul Karim | Published: February 13, 2020 11:38:37 | Updated: February 15, 2020 10:56:19

SDG agenda progress may come up for review in April

The government is set to review the progress in attainment of sustainable development goals (SDGs) this April, officials said.

The progress in the development agenda implementation is likely to come up for review at a three-day national conference scheduled for April next, they added.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the conference, the second of its kind, at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city, a high official of the Planning Ministry told the FE.

"We have planned to organise the conference in April," he added.

The move has been taken to expedite the implementation activities. Some 43 lead ministries and divisions will take part in the conference.

The first SDG implementation review (SIR) was done in July 2018.

A source concerned said some major challenges still remain in implementing the 13-year global development agenda in Bangladesh.

Prof Dr Shamsul Alam, Member of the Planning Commission, said the main aim of the conference is to review the ministry-wise attainment of the SDGs.

"We will try to know about the progress made by the ministries concerned so far in achieving the goals."

He, however, said there are 232 indicators. Of them, the data on 118 indicators is readily available. "We are preparing for the second Bangladesh Voluntary National Review (VNR) now."

According to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) document, the country will present the second VNR in the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on SDGs implementation progress in July next.

Bangladesh would require around US$928.48 billion in additional funding for full attainment of the SDGs. Of the total, US$796.09 billion would come from domestic sources while US$132.39 billion from external sources for the whole period (2017-2030), according to the Voluntary National Review, 2017.

The government is committed to implementing the global development agenda.

The country has made a significant progress in preparing plans for implementation of the agenda, according to documents.

The ministries and divisions have prepared detailed work plans against 169 targets, under 17 goals on the success of attaining the millennium development goals (MDGs), the documents showed.

The SDGs are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a 'blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.' The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

Different steps have been taken from divisional to ward level for implementation of the agenda, the documents said.

Besides, necessary steps have been taken to involve people of different classes and occupations in the implementation process properly.

Bangladesh and 42 other countries, as part of their commitment to implementing the SDG agenda, submitted their VNRs to the United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the two-year progress in it.

The goals are interconnected and cover different new areas including sustainable consumption, climate change, economic inequality, innovation, and peace and justice, among other priorities, a source said.

Apart from financing, the Bangladesh VNR 2017 report identified a number of challenges in the areas of infrastructure, noting that proper implementation of the proposed infrastructure strategies will require significant institutional and regulatory reforms.

"A case in point can be urban transport sector reform initiatives," the report said.

"In reforming the urban transport sector, we need to consider many other factors including synchronization of the initiatives with overall urban management and development strategy," it added.

"Obviously, this is a tough task because of cross-cutting issues and multi-stakeholders' involvement," the report said.

The VNR report also said there are multiple challenges in the areas of power generation capacity, transmission, distribution, and diversification of production, particularly moving towards renewable energy sources.

"Similarly, all other infrastructure investment areas have different levels of structural constraints which require to be addressed," it added.

When it comes to implementation of big projects, the challenges primarily come in the forms of land availability, relocation, protecting and maintaining environmental standards and ensuring local level participation, the report noted.

Apart from financing, the prevailing data gap has been a major headache for Bangladesh in chalking out its SDG implementation path which was also pointed out in the VNR report.


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