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Progress on SDGs termed unsatisfactory

KARACHI: Federal and provincial governments will have to share the responsibility of taking the development agenda forward for enhancing the wellbeing of people.

These views were expressed by experts in a webinar hosted by the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC) to share the findings of their recent research study entitled ‘Social Dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals; A Localized Indicator Framework for Measuring Progress.

They said Pakistan’s progress on Sustainable Goals (SDGs) has not been impressive so far. They said the main focus of their study was to evaluate the social dimensions of SDGs in terms of data gaps and propose a set of preliminary national indicators for tracking the status of selected SDGs, including no poverty, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality and reduced inequalities.

The report also discusses some key policy issues that are considered crucial for achieving sustainable social development including population growth, financing for SDGs, and the role of local governments.

Speaking on the occasion, Muhammad Asif Iqbal, Managing Director SPDC, stated that in Pakistan lack of data for global indicators related to social dimensions indicates an overwhelming challenge for monitoring the progress. Data is available for only 33 out of 81 indicators for social SDGs, which makes the monitoring task difficult and incomplete.

The analysis based on the proposed framework of selected SDGs indicates that the overall progress of the country is only 48.8 percent. Moreover, considerable inter-provincial differences are also observed.

The highest value of the index is estimated for Punjab (51 percent) followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (45 percent), Sindh (43 percent) and Balochistan (33 percent). Given this situation, achieving these goals appears to be a daunting task at this point.

While appreciating the analysis carried out by SPDC, Dr Pervez Tahir, Former Chief Economist at Government of Pakistan, endorsed the idea of statistical selectivity of the SDGs for the analysis. He also expressed his disappointment with the role of Federal and Provincial Governments when it comes to their role in the implementation of SDGs.

He added that multidimensional poverty cannot decline until health and education indicators improve. Pakistan scored poorly in these sectors under the MDGs and a similar worrying trend is observed in case of SDGs, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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