Bangladesh: Comprehensive strategy needed for implementation of SDGs

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Experts and the civil society usually stress the need for formulating a comprehensive home grown strategy for successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the coordinated efforts of policymakers, civil society and common members of the society. They also identify some challenges like ensuring good governance, building democratic institutions, enhancing institutional capacity, strengthening local government bodies and checking corruption both moral and financial  and creating employment for the implementation of the SDGs by 2030.

The analysts and experts mainly focus on Goal 16 as it was included in the SDGs to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. They generally assert that it is necessary for both the government and common citizens to take coordinated efforts to implement the SDGs. They emphasize that cooperation between civil society and common people for implementation of SDGs will help the government implement the SDGs with their views and participation. Though there are differences of opinions about the perception of good governance, the analysts say democratic institutions must be built properly by strengthening the local government bodies for implementation of the SDGs.

The need for building a corruption free-society is imperative because many good initiatives fail only because of large-scale corruption. We should also take proper steps to ensure human rights, justice and rule of law. It would not be possible to reach the desired goal without eradicating poverty and generating sufficient employment opportunities. It is very encouraging that both the government and the civil society members are serious about implementing the SDGs from the very beginning. Rule of law, enhancement of institutional capacity and availability of information are the vital elements for timely implementation of the SDGs.

To ensure the rule of law the government should give the opposition and those hold alternative views a space to express their opinions. It is also necessary to evaluate the merits and skills instead of political affiliation in government jobs for enhancing institutional capability. The political parties and common people will have to make united efforts to solve critical problems that the country faces.

At present the main challenges before the country to implement the SDGs are to create jobs and enhance skills of human resources and increase investment along with maintaining peace in the country. Around 1.4 million people, including 90 per cent of unskilled ones, join the job market every year.

The government claims that it is taking all-out steps to implement the SDGs before the stipulated timeline with constructive involvement of citizens and well-conceived plans. The country received eight awards by successfully implementing the MDGs. The government is confident that it will be able to implement the SDGs before 2030, even if it does not get foreign assistance.

The government has a target to build a knowledge-based society in Bangladesh by 2030. As regards the youths' involvement in extremism, the government holds the view that the country must enhance the quality of its education and motivate the students to engage in constructive works and create employment opportunities to overcome this serious problem. It is also necessary to bring the youths to the right track with love and proper action plan for ensuring peace and prosperity. We have to find out the way to win their hearts and close the gap with them.

Moreover, people-friendly public services and innovative efforts could be an effective way to attain SDGs besides full-length reflection of the hopes and aspirations of the masses. Freeing all field level public services from corruptions of all sorts and anomalies is very important to win  people's confidence in all tiers of the field administration. So, all of them should be committed towards people's welfare as the present government is pledge bound to do the same. Instead of the conventional approach, services of field level administrative officials should be pro-people and need-oriented for welfare of the public in general.

Besides, emphasis should be given to reach public services at the doorsteps of the people so that they could derive total benefit of the services delivered. Emphasis should also be given on the best use of the ICT to this end. Time has come to transform all the analogue activities into digital ones as this technology is the only driving force towards building a knowledge and information-based society. The need for ensuring good governance everywhere in the public service delivery system and activities should be geared up.

The present government is committed to build a transparent, accountable, people-oriented, knowledge-based and dynamic public administration and all concerned need to change their attitude and mindset and work together to supplement the government endeavour. The government also needs to acknowledge the fact that it cannot succeed in its mission without letting the people have the right to exercise their free democratic will in the affairs of the state.

Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre