Kathmandu, September 13
Come 2030 and only five per cent of the population will be living on less than $1.25 a day; 99.5 per cent of kids will be attending schools; only 70 out of every 100,000 mothers will be dying while delivering babies; and a mere 10 per cent of youths will be facing problems of underemployment.
What’s more, 99 per cent of the population will be having access to electricity by 2030; water will be flowing from taps of 95 per cent households; only five per cent of the houses will be having thatched or straw-made roofs; and each person on average will be emitting only 0.05 metric tonne of carbon dioxide.
These are some of the projections made by the final draft of a report based on which a national strategy on implementation of post-2015 global development agenda, called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), will be framed.
The draft report, prepared by the National Planning Commission (NPC), the apex body that formulates the country’s development plans, will undergo minor changes before it is finalised, said NPC.
SDGs — a follow-up on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which will expire at the end of 2015 — are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets, which will be adopted by the United Nations Summit scheduled for September 25-27 in the US.
SDGs primarily aim to end all forms of poverty and hunger from the world. They also aim to promote the well-being of all at all ages, lifelong learning¸ sustainable industrialisation, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all.
Some other goals include reducing inequality within and among countries, making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, and taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
These goals, which have to be achieved by 2030, have the potential to change the face of the country as they focus on bridging inequality of all forms, raising access to
basic public services, ensuring access to justice and sustainable economic development.
“But the achievement of SDGs would require unprecedented efforts at national level and international cooperation. And this calls for action rather than rhetoric,” says the final draft of the report.
So, the first thing the government must to do is prepare periodic plans, coupled with other policies and programmes, in line with SDGs, suggests the report. This will ensure allocation of adequate budget for implementation of SDGs.
Also, these goals need to be localised, because the past experience has shown that localisation of national development goals is critical to address the needs of targeted groups and geographical location.
“Hence, a framework to implement SDGs at the sub-national and local levels is necessary,” the report says.
Also, SDGs are not standalone goals. In other words, achievement or underachievement of one goal has implication on other goals, adds the report.
For instance, achievement of target on poverty eradication will depend on accomplishment of other goals on hunger, education, health and environment.
Similarly, the goal on environment may never be met if targets on water, sanitation, energy, transport, and sustainable production and consumption are not achieved.
“So, it is essential to specify cross-cutting interventions in a proper manner,” says report, adding, “Capacity of various institutions and individuals should also be raised to ensure full achievement of SDGs.”
Then there is the issue of funding. “A large portion of SDG-related projects and programmes will have to be funded by government using domestic resources,” says the report.
Currently, government mobilises domestic resources through tax and non-tax revenue, and borrowing.
“But scaling up tax and non-tax revenue or borrowing may have serious macroeconomic implications,” says report, adding, “Raising tax rates may affect the poor because of the nature of tax itself, while excessive reliance on domestic borrowing may crowd out private sector investment, which is crucial to achieving SDGs.”
This implies attaining SDGs should be the joint responsibility of the government and the international community, report further says.
A version of this article appears in print on September 14, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.