Pakistan needs to focus on localisation to achieve SDGs

ISLAMABAD: The policymakers and practitioners should focus on localisation to accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), set by the United Nations, at the national level in Pakistan, WealthPK reports.
According to development experts, local governments can play a vital role in the achievement and enforcement of SDGs. They said that local bodies could enforce development programmes in a befitting manner.
Romina Khursheed Alam, the Convener of the National Parliamentary Taskforce on SDGs, told WealthPK that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) must be pushed by “localising” SDGs as regional and local governments could play a vital role in that regard.
“This concept pertains to the empowerment of local governments that provide services such as food security, water supply, sanitation, drainage and waste management. The local governments can also influence the quality and accessibility of national government-provided services such as welfare, health, education and transportation,” she said.
She said that local governments should develop and implement policies and regulations that support the achievement of the SDGs. “This can include the development of local-level plans, programmes and projects that are aligned with the SDGs. The policies should be designed to address the specific challenges and opportunities that exist in the local area and ensure that the SDGs are integrated into all aspects of local government activities,” she added.
Romina Khursheed said that adequate resources were key to achieving the SDGs. She said that local governments in Pakistan needed to allocate sufficient resources in their budgets for SDG implementation.
She said that local governments should prioritise and reallocate existing resources to support the implementation of the SDGs. The local government can also explore new and innovative financing mechanisms, such as partnerships with the private sector and international organisations, to mobilise additional resources for SDGs implementation.
“Local governments need to adopt a proactive and holistic approach to achieve SDGs. Currently, no one at the local level is aware of SDGs. Comprehensive awareness and orientation campaigns and training should be launched for this purpose. The relevant people should be trained to get the knowledge and skills necessary for such planning,” said Romina Khursheed.
She said that the planning and development department should make it mandatory for local levels to do SDGs-based planning. No scheme should be approved without evidence that it contributed to priority areas as identified through SDGs planning, she added.
Mian Rajan Sultan Peerzada, the President of the Association for Development of Local Governance said that collaboration between different levels of government was essential for ensuring that the SDGs were implemented in a coordinated and consistent manner across Pakistan.
ADLG has been established as an alliance of the provincial local council associations of all four provinces of Pakistan, including Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab. Two of these associations are currently members of the United Cities and Local Governments-Asia Pacific.
“Many local government staffers and elected representatives are generally unaware of the SDGs. The knowledge and capacity to devise deliverables and implementation plans are lacking. It is needed to focus on capacity-building campaigns for the local government staff and elected representatives all over the country,” he said.
Mian Rajan said that funds were not transferred directly to local councils from the provincial government, which caused delays in implementing plans. “Funds should be transferred directly from the provincial government to the chairman of the union council to avoid the delay,” he told WealthPK.