There has been no progress in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals although three years have passed since its adoption, said a top development planner of the government yesterday.
“Rather, there have been only talks,” said Shamsul Alam, a member of the General Economic Division of the planning commission.
Although the global goals were adopted in 2015, the non-governmental organisations who are interested in working to achieve the targets of the SDGs have not forward with action plans.
“They should have prepared the action plans to help achieve the SDGs.”
Alam's comments came at discussion styled 'Enhancing the participation of community-based organisations and civil society organisations in democratic governance in Bangladesh', jointly organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue, Oxfam and the EU at the capital's Lakeshore hotel.
Information on 70 indicators of the SDGs is readily available in the existing system, while data related to 171 indicators is not available, according to Alam.
“This is a severe bottleneck to implementing the goals.”
The GED fixed the activities of the line ministries to implement the action plans and provided trainings to all government officials, officials of the Islamic Foundation and imams of all mosques in Dhaka city. “The local government bodies are important to achieving the SDGs,” he said, while calling for enlisting them to perform specific duties and make them accountable and transparent.
Raising awareness among all the people in the country is a tough job as Bangladesh is a small country with a huge population, said Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation.
“It is the government's responsibility to create awareness among the mass population regarding the SDGs.”
The main barrier to development is the lack of coordination among government organisations, NGOs and donors.
A participatory role is very important for development as well as accountability and transparency at every level, she added.
Mario Ronconi, head of cooperation of the EU delegation to Bangladesh, suggested localisation of the activities of the SDGs.But that would be a challenge for Bangladesh as the local government bodies do not have the capacity and aptitude for it.
Ronconi suggested preparing sector-based action plan in coordination with line ministries.
“Local government bodies should play a strong role,” said Fahmida Khatun, executive director of the CPD. She also emphasised on participation of stakeholders in development planning and implementation to achieving the SDGs.
Towfiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow of the CPD, in his keynote presentation, echoed the same as Ronconi.
“The ownership of SDGs does not lie with the central government only but also with the sub-national and local authorities.”
The NGOs, the media and other stakeholders are committed to working closely with the government to follow up the progress on implementing the global goals at the local level.
“Without a strong decentralised local government system, successful localisation of the SDGs will be difficult,” he added.
Akram H Chowdhury, a former lawmaker; Sharmeen Murshid, chief executive officer of Brotee; Masuda Farouk Ratna, executive director of Gram Bikash Shohayak Shangstha; and Mafuza Akhter Mala, senior programme officer of Oxfam, also spoke.