Pakistan off to good start in implementing anti-poverty SDGs: Maleeha

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UNITED NATIONS, July 24 (APP): Pakistan has told a gathering of diplomats and experts at the United Nations that progress was being made in implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the global development agenda but will require all parts of the UN family and its partners to work together to meet all the targets set by the ambitious 15-year undertaking.

“SDGs are indeed coming to life and we all are contributing towards this,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said at a side-event to the high-level political forum taking place to review implementation of SGDs.

“But then”, the Pakistani envoy added, “this is just a beginning, we have many miles to go.”

The side-event was co-hosted by Pakistan, South Korea, Sierra Leone and the UN Development Group (UNDG).

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit” calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve the 17 SDGs aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all by 2030.

The goals address the needs of people in both developed and developing countries, emphasizing that no one should be left behind. Broad and ambitious in scope, the Agenda addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental, as well as important aspects related to peace, justice and effective institutions.

Ambassador Lodhi said Pakistan had always underlined the essential role of the UN Development System (UNDS) to realize the objectives set by the new Agenda, in line with
national policies, priorities and needs.

Pakistan regarded UNDG as a key development partner, and with the support of U.N. country teams preparations were started for implementation of 2030 agenda “very early”. That cooperation continued to be strengthened and further expanded.

“We launched our National Development Strategy, Vision 2025 – last year,” the Pakistani envoy said, adding that it was fully aligned with the SDGs. Inclusion of the sustainability perspective in national economic and development plans had been an overarching aspect of this strategy.

Within weeks of the Agenda’s adoption, Ambassdor Lodhi said Pakistan was able to launch the SDGs in Pakistan.

Parliament adopted the SDGs as Pakistan’s development
agenda, and established a secretariat to serve as a resource centre for the SDGs.

Pakistan, she said, was thus among the pioneers, demonstrating and mobilizing full political support and ownership.

“Our provincial governments are now aligning their strategies and annual development plans for coordinated implementation of SDGs”, Ambassador Lodhi said, adding that UN agencies are extending technical support for this coordinated delivery.

SDG Support Units, with technical support from UNDP, were being established at the national and provincial level. Co-financed by the national and the respective provincial governments, these units serve as platforms for national coordination on SDGs.

“The federal government and my country’s four provincial governments have committed a total of $ 15 million for localization of SDGs in Pakistan over the next 5 years,” she said.

At the same time, the Pakistani envoy said that meaningful implementation demands matching resources. “This, we feel is the most critical challenge. It was one of the primary reasons for the sub-optimal performance of the MDGs. Raising trillions of dollars every year to realize the SDGs would be a real test,” she said.

National ownership of the agenda demands optimization of domestic resource mobilization and prioritization, Lodhi said, adding that an enabling international environment that promotes and complements domestic policies and priorities, however, would remain essential.

“We are concerned about deteriorating core resources of the UNDS and increased reliance on non-core resources,” the Pakistan envoy said. “At a time when we are setting ambitious benchmarks and time lines for achieving the SDGs, this trend does not engender confidence.”