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How is Pakistan taking part in sustainable development?

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

A key aspect of its contribution strategy is strengthening existing alliances and forging new ones while leveraging technology and mobilizing finance.

A key aspect of its contribution strategy is strengthening existing alliances and forging new ones while leveraging technology and mobilizing finance.            Muhammad Mashhood Bin Shahid
Sustainable Development Goals and Pakistan

In 2015 when Millennium Development Goals were revamped into Sustainable Development Goals, and a 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was chalked out, Pakistan committed to it.

Partnerships and close collaboration with a broad array of governmental, private sector, civil society, and media stakeholders supplemented by regional and international support will continue to be significant.

In February 2016, Pakistan was the first country in the world to pass a resolution in its Lower House (National Assembly) adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of its national development.

SDG Taskforces were established at both federal and provincial levels to monitor the progress on the goals. In 2018, the 12th Five-Year Plan was aligned with the 2030 Agenda.

Effective Implementation

For effective implementation of SDGs, all stakeholders are involved from all walks of life, ranging from the public and private sector to civil society and academia. There have been several institutional reforms undertaken to support the SDGs and to complement these, several advocacy and awareness workshops have been taking place across the country.

Several policies and laws have been approved and promulgated since 2016. Most of the legislative frameworks relate to SDG 16 ('Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions'), SDG 8 ('Decent Work and Economic Growth'), and SDG 4 ('Quality Education').

Progress in Pakistan

SDG Goal # 1.

Poverty alleviation remains a key focus. Pakistan's multi-sectoral poverty reduction strategy and targeted interventions have led to a fall of 26 percentage points in poverty headcount in the past ten years. Many poverty elevation funds are also in place:

  • Benazir Income Support Programme

  • Ehsas Programme

SDG Goal # 3.

Access to Health Facilities via Lady Health Workers Programme, due to its effectiveness, reduced the child mortality rate by 10 percentage points during the last 10 years. Plus, under the health sector reforms, a centralized, integrated disease surveillance system and a robust inter-provincial information-sharing mechanism are proposed.

SDG Goal # 6.

Access to clean water and proper sanitation facilities in Pakistan are guided by the National Sanitation Policy 2006 and the National Water Policy 2018. Though low, there is progress on this goal.

SDG Goal # 4.

Access to quality education is a critical national priority for Pakistan to become a Kamyab Pakistan. To achieve this goal, improved school monitoring mechanisms and targeted interventions for out-of-school children are implemented across the country step by step. Also, a unified curriculum is developed and announced in 2020 by the PTI government.

Programs like Digiskills and Kamyab Jawaan are focused on uplifting of the youth.

SDG Goal # 5.

Low female literacy is a huge hurdle for our country in becoming a Kamyab Pakistan. Still, statistically, there is a slow and gradual rise in girls' enrollment at any educational institute. A little reflection of this effort towards women's education is evident through the increased participation of women in the national labor force and the rising percentage of women handling senior and middle management professional roles.

SDG Goal # 7.

Access to electricity in Pakistan improved by 8 percentage points in the past ten years. In addition to that, 11% of the population has shifted from fossil to clean energy in the same period. Resulting in improved health and environmental sustainability.

SDG Goal # 13.

In the fight against climate change, Pakistan is among the most vulnerable. Pakistan ranks 39th among the world carbon producing countries but is the 7th most susceptible to climate change. Therefore, climate adaptation is imperative for the country. Although climate adaptation and mitigation are vague in the country's policy and require future focus and refinement. One of the measures taken to fight climate change was Pakistan's Billion Tree planting drive across 350,000 hectares initiated by the KPK government. This initiative is now part of the Green Pakistan Program, has scaled up the initiative to the 10 Billion Tree, which will be planted over the next five years. Clean and Green Pakistan and Recharge Pakistan initiative are 'focused on ecosystem restoration,' safeguarding biodiversity and generating livelihood opportunities.

Next key aspect in the implementation of SDGs is strengthening existing alliances and forging new ones while leveraging technology and mobilizing finance.

Partnership and close collaboration among all stakeholders governmental, private sector, civil society, media, supplemented by regional and international support, is essential for future progress.

With a weak economy, financing is one of the barriers in the implementations of SDGs across Pakistan. For this, several consultation meetings with the financial sector and universities are arranged to devise an innovative solution to this financial barrier.

Despite the economic and financial challenges, Pakistan has improved in the past. It will continue to achieve the SDGs through advanced, targeted, and focused policies in life's social, economic, and environmental segments.

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