Funds the biggest challenge for SDGs: economist

Bangladesh’s biggest challenge in implementation of the sustainable development goals lies in how the government incorporates it into budgetary allocation, a noted economist said yesterday.

The country faces a number of challenges in implementation of the SDGs such as integration in the national planning process, institutional mechanism for implementation, data for monitoring and participation and accountability.

“But budgetary allocation will be the biggest challenge with respect to SDG implementation,” said Debapriya Bhattacharya, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.

He said he is eager to see how the SDGs are reflected in the budget for fiscal 2017-18.

Bhattacharya’s comments came at a public lecture on “2030 agenda for sustainable development” organised by the Reading Club, a forum of students of Dhaka University, at the Asiatic Society. He gave a pen picture of how the ideas of SDGs were floated, formulated and approved by the United Nations last year.

Bhattacharya, who is also the chairperson of the Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals and convenor of Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, also talked on the country’s engagement in the SDG negotiation process.

There are some new areas of SDGs, such as affordable andCLEAN ENERGY and industry, innovation and infrastructure, which will require greater effort and resources at the country level for implementation.

The economist said he wants a food bill in Bangladesh like India’s National Food Security Act, 2013 to ensure that no one dies for want of food.

The Millennium Development Goals were the time-bound targets for addressing extreme poverty with a focus on education and health.

There was hardly any discussion on MDGs; but there were many at public, private and international levels before the new goals were approved in September last year.

He said how the SDGs will be integrated with a country’s development perspective and where theFINANCE will come from were discussed long before SDGs came into effect in January this year.

Bangladesh is on track to implementing the SDGs.

The Prime Minister’s Office is coordinating SDG implementation and the General Economic Division of the planning ministry is providing technical support, he said.

The economist hailed Bangladesh’s successive governments for implementation of the MDGs. He said Bangladesh ranked second after Rwanda in MDG implementation.

Bhattacharya said SDGs, which is an ambitious global development partnership, have been launched at a time of challenging international environment.

“Political will — at the global, regional and national levels — will be of the critical essence. Also, we need to have a strengthened accountability and legitimacy process in implementing SDGs.”


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