After the election, new PTI lead government is gearing up for some good work. Power corridors though seem politically unstable for the time being. But, this situation can be turned into pleasant environment by delivering good governance to masses. Pakistan ranked 150th out of 189 countries and territories on the human development index, working towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is more than a matter of policy – it is one of necessity, which pushed its stumbling pursuit further away from achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2016-2030) as it scored 55.6 under SDGs’ global index in the results released in July 2017.
“Pakistan’s low human development indicators means too many peoples’ capabilities are not being realized with consequences on economic growth,” Neil Buhne quoted Mahbub-ul-Haq, former finance minister of Pakistan and Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize for Economics, as he unraveled even bleak picture, for other development statistics indicated why the country was unsuccessful in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs 2000-2015). Neil Buhne’s while presentation during a seminar, revealed alarming indicators where Pakistan ranks low on the social development index of child and maternal health, which reflects the level of nutrition.With a population of 9.8 million stunted children, Pakistan is ranked third in the world.”
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been replaced with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2015 to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs are a global set of 17 goals, aimed at addressing all the three important dimensions of development — the social, economic and environmental. Developing countries lag behind the developed countries because of immaturity and short-sightedness in the policy formulation regarding development. The development policies, unfortunately, revolve around myopic thinking of re-election to stay in power, and the development manifesto is lost in the process. This is the dilemma of the countries like ours where development is confined to developing physical infrastructures and that too at the cost of the well-being of the people. Other provinces can learn from Sindh, where Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah’s last government had taken the lead in working on these development goals.
“Access to education remains low and completion rate for primary education is among the lowest in the world. One in 10 of the world’s primary age children who are not in school, live in Pakistan, which is second in the global ranking of out-of-school children.
“Pakistan ranks 148 out of 149 countries in the gender inequality index. These figures suggest there is still a long way to go to end gender disparity in education, as the male literacy percentage stood at 70% like in previous years. Presently one billion people, according to the World Bank, still live on less than $1.25 a day, and more than 800 million people do not have enough food to eat. The majority of these people live in Africa and Asia.”
To add, Pakistan is needlessly struck with an archaic method of budgetary planning. Over the years, the state has developed a notoriously weak reputation when developing, implementing or monitoring social sector projects, resulting in globally dismal and embarrassingly poor indicators.
While carrying out a mapping study of stakeholders to promote the health-related SDGs in Pakistan, It is found the country’s efforts towards achieving the goals to still be in their infancy e.g. 14000 women still die during childbirth in Pakistan. And while numerous stakeholders are working towards the 2030 agenda, the type of coordinated efforts we desperately need among all actors – NGOS, think thanks, academia, the media, and government – appear to be lacking. The SDGs require not only a multi-sectoral approach, but also a multi-stakeholder approach to be adopted in true spirit.
“Compounding these development indicators and according to the Global Climate Risk Index, is the alarming fact that Pakistan already ranks at 7th position in the world most affected by climate change continuously suffering from monsoon flooding, along with the recession of glacial and snow reserves, heat waves in urban centers and droughts,” revealed Neil Buhne’s, the UN Resident related to the job, eye-opening presentation.
Although, human development approach was about improving the lives of the people and giving them the freedom of choice to live the lives they value.
As a first step towards the development of this actionable roadmap, the federal unit could organize a national forum that would bring together all relevant actors to discuss their current roles, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, agree on responsibilities, and identify ways to track progress and convert it into an actionable roadmap as a collective national vision, instead of working on silos. Only by having an integrated and inclusive approach will the country stand a chance of achieving the SDGs.
However, there are examples of Pakistanis realizing their capabilities through innovative ways to educate, children’s health, nutrition put in place with safety nets and move towards ending poverty.
Additionally, new models of public-private partnership need to be tested. Policymakers should begin by proactively engaging the private sector, research universities, think-tanks and civil society, including professional associations. The SDGs are perhaps the best vehicle to lift more than 50 million people out of poverty when they earn less than two dollars a day by enriching their lives and livelihood options. Delivering on these goals will also help enhance Pakistan’s ability to emerge as one of the world’s leading economies and, while doing so, strengthen national security.
Therefore, government must pull up the socks and not hesitate to join hands with the private sector, especially in areas where the private sector is well placed to come up with a meaningful contribution. What is needed more that the leading political parties should also respond positively to the SDGs? Political parties should incorporate the global development goals in their manifestos. This exercise would also sensitize political workers and the public about the importance of the SDGs. More or less Pakistan has amped up benefits to exercise these UNO funded Sustainable Development Goals as these goals coincide with the vision 2025 policy of Pakistan.