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Published Date: Oct 6, 2015

Pakistan to take on sustainable development goals on its own

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Prof Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said the government had decided to take over the responsibility for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said the international community had not given any assurances about funding for the goals.
The federal minister was speaking at a seminar titled ‘Sustainable Development Goals and the way Forward’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
The SDGs, also called ‘Global Goals’ and ‘Agenda 2030’ are an inter-governmentally agreed set of goals targeting international development.
Decision made after international funding doesn’t materialise
They will follow on from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expire at the end of 2015. The SDGs are another 15-year agenda to address the 17 issues of the developing world which include poverty, hunger, quality education, clean water, sanitation and affordable energy etc.
Prof Iqbal told the seminar that the 1999 government had been addressing health and education issues and that there was surplus electricity, gas and other resources at the time. He said because of the 1999 military coup, the country was facing a shortfall of electricity and other energy resources by 2005.
He said to cut down poverty was the SDGs’ mission. “We are very clear that SDGs are very important for the country, so they will be implemented. We will take the responsibility for the fulfillment of the goals, and the mistakes because of which MDGs could not be achieved will not be repeated.”
He said one of the reasons the MDGs could not be achieved was the devolution of health and education sectors.
“We have recreated both the ministries with a different mandate. It will be ensured the ministries are transparent in their proceedings and share data with everyone concerned.”
The professor said a lot of developments had already been made.
He said, for example, funding for higher education has been almost doubled over the last two years and that it was decided to establish at least one university in every district where a total of 10,000 PhD students will be taught over the coming few years.
He said the government cannot achieve the sustainable goals without support from the private sector. He said all concerned departments should take responsibility and that the media should highlight the issues of tomorrow, instead of bringing up the past.
The minister said: “In Pakistan 42 per cent of children are malnourished. Out of this percentage, more than half are extremely malnourished. To address issues like this, continuity and stability are very important.”
Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute Dr Abid Q. Suleri said some of the millennial development goals were contradicting each other, which made achieving them all the more harder.
He said Pakistan had adopted most of the SDGs in its development vision, which made the new goals more achievable.