Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO) on behalf of AAWAZ Voice & Accountability program organized a national conference on ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Roadmap for Pakistan’ on Thursday at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad.
Member National Assembly Uzair Ali Khan, who is also the Coordinator Standing Committee for SDGs, was the Guest of honor of the conference and the event was attended by the concerned provincial secretaries, members of the UN body, bilateral donors, international and national organizations, civil society organizations, district chairman local government and community representatives from 45 districts where the AAWAZ program is promoting and strengthening citizen forums.
Naseer Memon, the Chief Executive welcomed the guests in the inaugural session along with highlighting the pressing issues linked with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said that one of the reasons the MDGs were not met was the lack of awareness but it was a positive step that people were being informed regarding the SDGs from the beginning. He emphasized on working at grassroots’ level to achieve the targets. Harris Khalique, the Team Leader, AAWAZ Voice & Accountability program introduced AAWAZ and its linkage with the SDGs. He also spoke on the fifth goal, achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls. In the same session, Faisal Buzdar, an independent researcher presented his background paper SDGs highlighting the progress on SDGs in the country in detail along with the framework, issues and way forward. He said that by drawing lesson from the pitfalls of the MDGs, the 17 SDGs, with 169 targets and 230 indicators, to be achieved by 2030, balance the three dimensions of sustainable development; social, economic, and environmental. He furthered said that it is important to note that the sustainable development agenda demands consideration of a number of issues including the lack of data, ownership, localization of agenda, multi-stakeholder engagement, enhanced coordination, resource mobilization, and monitoring and reporting and therefore, a national SDGs strategy must take these issues and risks into account. Also, the Senior Advisor, SDG Localization UNDP, Dr. Naeem uz Zafar discussed the theory of change, national initiatives on 2030 agenda, key outputs, mechanism for coordination and oversight and prioritization.
Based on the Sustainable Development Goals spearheaded by the UNDP, two panel-discussions on Education and Health with gender as a predominant theme in the light of the SDGs were held with the representatives and secretaries of Punjab, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. The speakers in these sessions covered the two main goals “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” and “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” by highlighting the provincial perspectives and initiatives taken at the provincial level to in this regard.
In his keynote address Uzair Ali Khan, the Chief Guest congratulated SPO and other consortium partners of AAWAZ Voice & Accountability program for organizing national conference on SDGs which signify the shared vision of a better world. He said that the current government understands the importance of adhering to 17 objectives of SDGs in pursuing a path towards development and this is reflected in our Vision 2025 document.
”Pakistan is one of the first countries to pass SDGs as National Development Goals from parliament because we believe SDGs are consistent with our agenda of development in Pakistan. We want to end poverty, hunger and disease from Pakistan and we want to provide quality education to every child in Pakistan. Also, we have allocated a huge budget for the SDGs committee,” he remarked.
In the concluding session of the conference, Ms. Khawar Mumtaz, the Chairperson National Commission on the Status of Women, highlighted Goal 5 and Goal 16 in the context of Pakistan which are Gender and Peace and Governance respectively. Kaiser Bengali, the renowned Economist elaborated the Public Policy Framework and the SDGs along with enveloping the essence of development. He deliberated on the deep-rooted structural, cultural and political underpinnings of low Human Development Indicators in Pakistan and invoked the citizens especially the women to be the ambassadors of SDGs in Pakistan by demanding their rights.