Bangladesh should eradicate poverty, ensure quality health and education services, diversify exports, solve the Rohingya crisis and engage non-government organisations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, said a top development activist.
“Eradicating extreme poverty should be the top most priority to attain the SDGs,” Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, chairperson of Brac, told a discussion at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka.
He spoke at the session on the second day of the “National Conference on SDG Implementation Review”. The General Economics Division of the planning commission organised the three-day event.
Abed said the government was trying to eliminate extreme poverty through the “One House One farm” project and it was a good initiative.
He said the Ultra Poor Programme of Brac would also provide a good outcome in ending extreme poverty.
The Brac founder said quality health service was linked to economic development.
He suggested that the government ensure quality and need-based education and improve the quality of teachers with a view to developing human resources.
Abed said remittance was also important for the economic development of the country. He called for developing a skilled workforce before sending them aboard so that they could earn and send home more money.
He suggested that the government work to diversify export products as well as markets.
The distinguished development activist called the Rohingya issue very crucial for Bangladesh, saying that it might affect the economy.
“The issue should be solved as it is also involved with SDG achievement.”
He said NGOs were stakeholders in helping Bangladesh achieve the SDGs.
Speaking at the session, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said Bangladesh would attain the targets of the SDGs like it did in case of the Millennium Development Goals.
Ahmed said he believes the extreme poverty rate would come down to 3 percent in 2030 if the government could implement its tasks.
According to the minister, Bangladesh has completed the first phase of the SDG implementation in June this year.
The second phase will be completed by 2020 and the third and final phase by 2030, he said.
Abul Kalam Azad, principal coordinator for SDG affairs at the Prime Minister's Office, Md Mozammel Haque Khan, immediate past senior secretary to the public administration ministry, and Prof M Shamsul Alam, a member of the GED, also spoke.