It is well recognised that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are all inter-connected in a system. We cannot aim to achieve just one Goal. Rather we have to achieve all of them, which are called the characteristics of 'integration'. However, interconnection and interrelationships of goals and targets are not simple.Some goals and targets interact with others more strongly than others. Some targets reinforce each other (synergies). Others may conflict with one another (trade-offs). Some may be necessary for others to be achieved (enablers).
An improvement of Poverty Goal (SDG 1) will lead to an improvement in performance for Hunger Goal (SDG 2), Health Goal (SDG 3), Education Goal (SGD 4), Water and Sanitation Goal (SDG 6) and Inequality Goal (SDG 10). Attainment of SDG 1 will bring benefits across all SDGs. The improvement of Hunger Goal will positively affect Health Goal. Education Goal (SDG 4) will help attain decent employment and Growth Goal 8. The improvement of healthy lives will impact positively on Education Goal growth and Employment Goal.
The development of education (SDG 4) will certainly affect health (SDG 3), women empowerment (SDG 5), productive employment (SDG 8), and reduce inequality (SDG 10).
The advancement of gender equality (SDG 5) will definitely lead to positive improvement of inclusive economic growth (SDG 8).Betterment of water and sanitation (SDG 6) will lead to improvement of health outcomes (SDG 3).With respect to SDG 7 (energy for all), its improvement will lead to healthy lives (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), sustainable economic growth (SDG 8), and combating climate change (SDG 13).
The contribution of economic growth (SDG 8) will have multifarious effects. On one end, its improvement will lead to reduction of poverty (SDG 1), improvement of food security (SDG 2), better and healthy lives (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), improved water and sanitation situation (SDG 6), access to energy (SDG 7), infrastructural development and industrialization (SDG 9). On the other hand, improvement of economic growth may lead to a deterioration in performance of Goal 11 (human settlement, if not planned), Goal 12 (sustainable consumption and production pattern), Goal 13 (climate change) and Goal 15 (terrestrial ecosystem) as trade-off effects.
Like Goal 8 (economic growth), Goal 9 (infrastructure, industrialisation and innovation) also have double effects. Its improvement will lead to quality education (SDG 4), and economic growth (SDG 8). But it will have negative effect on human settlement (SDG 11). However, whether it will positively or negatively affect healthy lives (SDG 3) will depend on policy interventions of the government of a specific country.
However, the reduction of inequality (SDG 10) will have positive effects on poverty reduction (SDG 1), hunger reduction (SDG 2), improvement of health (SDG 3), augmentation of quality education (SDG 4), betterment of water and sanitation (SDG 6), and of course in the acceleration of growth (SDG 8) along with attaining peace in the society i.e. Goal 16.
The implementation of Goal 11 (urbanisation) will have positive impacts on the implementation of health (SDG 3), and climate change (SDG 13). The implementation of Goal 12 (sustainable consumption and production) will impact positively on management of water and sanitation (SDG 6) and halting biodiversity loss (SDG 15). Combating climate change (SDG 13) will have positive impact on implementation of modern energy (SDG 7) and economic growth (SDG 8). Halting biodiversity (SDG 15) will impact positively on combating climate change (SDG 13) but whether it will impact positively or negatively on economic growth (SDG 8) will depend on appropriate policy or strategy of the government.
Peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG 16) will have positive impacts in the implementation of many goals. It will impact healthy lives (SDG 3), quality education (SDG 4), economic growth and employment (SDG 8), infrastructure, industrialisation and innovation (SDG 9), use of oceans, seas and marine resources (SDG 14) and halting biodiversity loss (SDG 15).
It is evident from the above that SDG 17 may be expected to bring more benefits across all SDGs. In this context, SDG 17 will be followed by SDG 1 (poverty), SDG 16 (peace), SDG 8 (employment) and SDG 4 (education). Though Goals are mostly reinforcing one another, yet we are to go with implementation of each Goal with planned actions. Though each Goal is important but Goals related to poverty, hunger, health, education and gender demand immediate priority attention to spur growth for resource creation.
STRATEGIES AND INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR SDGS: It is well accepted that the government's plans and policies need to address the complex and dynamic interactions for implementation of SDGs. The Prime Minister had the unique opportunity to be present in both the Millennium Summit held in 2000 and SDG Summit held in 2015 where the Millennium Declaration and SDGs were adopted respectively in the United Nations. The success of implementation of many of the MDG targets and her dynamic leadership that was instrumental for the very feat was globally acclaimed. This in turn has bestowed in her championship of SDGs. She sincerely felt that we did well in MDG era and need to do better in the SDG arena.
The flagship planning document of the government of Bangladesh at this moment is the ongoing 7th Five Year Plan (FY 2015-2020). In compliance with the request of the UN Secretary General, Bangladesh participated in the Post 2015 Development Agenda formulation process. In an inclusive and participatory manner, Bangladesh proposed 11 Goals and 10 of them were finally accepted in the General Assembly. So, while the 7th FYP was in the process of finalisation, we could incorporate our proposals into our own national development plan. Hence, analysis reveals that 82 per cent global goals are well aligned with our national plan i.e. 7th FYP.
A 16-member SDG Implementation and Monitoring Committee has been formed with Senior Secretaries/Secretaries of the most relevant Ministries as members and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister as the convenor. Recently, the National Coordinator of SDGs, a new high-level post, has been created in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to spearhead the process.
The first task of the SDG Implementation and Monitoring Committee was to approve the SDG Mapping. It reflects concerted and well-thought-out efforts by the government following a whole society approach (involving NGOs, civil society and development partners) in delineating government responsibilities by the Ministries/Divisions to each of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. The mapping (who is to do what in terms of targets) has given responsibility to 40 Ministries/Divisions as lead along with 31 Ministries/Divisions as Co-Lead, and 61 Ministries/Divisions/Independent Commissions have been earmarked as associates in the implementation of 169 targets of 17 SDGs. The mapping also highlighted actions to be taken by lead and co-lead to achieve the SDGs targets during 7th FYP. It has also captured existing policies/strategies/regulations to be instrumental for the implementation of different targets.
COORDINATING STRUCTURES: The government has a long-term Perspective Plan (2010-2021), which envisioned Bangladesh to be Middle Income Country by 2021 and it is being implemented by two successive Five Year Plans i.e. 6th and 7th FYPs. The government has also approved National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS: 2010-2021) with a view to addressing balance among economic, social and environmental requirements of development.
Table-1 charts top 15 Ministries/Divisions of the government of Bangladesh according to their responsibility of SDG indicators related activities. It is to be mentioned here that up to FY 2020, the ongoing 7th FYP will be the key instrument to guide Ministries/Divisions with a view to implementing different actions related to Agenda 2030. The SDG mapping has highlighted the actions to be taken by them according to the 7th FYP. The Ministries/Divisions have been given instruction to incorporate SDG-related activities in their Annual Performance Agreement (APA) so that they would be accountable in the implementation of SDGs. All government training institutions have been given direction to incorporate SDG issue in their training curriculum.
Professor Shamsul Alam is Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division (Focal Point for Poverty and SDGs), Bangladesh Planning Commission.