In 2015, the United Nations set a global blueprint of 17 sustainable development goals to urgently address environmental, political and economic challenges facing the world, as a replacement for the millennium development goals (MDGs) which ran its course from 2000 to 2015. So far, the project has been a crucial tool used in bringing the world closer as a global village where distance, languages, colors, and status will not be a barrier or limitation to individual and national development.

 

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

These global goals designed to promote peace, prosperity, and dignity in all its forms are as follows: No poverty; Zero Hunger; Good Health and Well-being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy.  Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; Reduced Inequalities; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Climate action: Life below water; Life on Land; Peace and Justice Strong Institutions; Partnerships for the goals.

 

Pre-SDG Background Information.

At the UN millennium summit of 2000, the ensuing millennium declaration gave birth to eight-millennium development goals(MDGs) which 189 UN member states committed to achieving by the year 2015. These eight goals had specific indicators and targets that were designed to guide governments and the world in combating poverty, hunger, diseases, environmental degradation, and discrimination etc. Although the MDGs did mark huge strides in combating child mortality, the dismal out-of-school children rates. malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS incidence, to mention a few,  the MDGs was notably unilateral in delivery, in that individuals and organizations had different ideas and action plans in executing the goals and so there was the absence of coordinated efforts.

In 2010, the UN General Assembly conducted a High-level Plenary Meeting to review the progress of the MDGs and draw up plans to advance the development agenda beyond 2015. Ban Ki-Moon, the then United Nations Secretary-General assembled a task team and facilitated initiatives to ensure inclusivity and coordinated action for global development. First, the UN engaged in 11 global thematic consultations and national consultations in 88 countries that was facilitated by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG). This was complemented by the collaborative effort of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Millennium Campaign, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the World Wide Web Foundation in launching the “MY World Global Survey”, a global campaign survey designed to collate priority perspectives, “A Million Voices: The world we want” from over 1 million people around the globe. The results of this survey contributed to the framework for the post-2015 development agenda.

This proved to be a step in the right direction for the success of the SDGs, as it provided global leaders with valuable lessons and a comprehensive view of the challenges the MDGs faced and contributed to the design of a development agenda that factored in these challenges and the innovate solution to these challenges to global development.

 

Building A Clear Vision Of The Future And Ensuring Everyone Is On Board.

Under the leadership of UNDP, the integrated SDGs was rolled out and communicated with clarity to the world at large. It also proposed practicable ways and initiatives through which challenges and difficulties that may undermine the desired future can be resolved.

To achieve this, some countries have come up with an idea of inter-ministerial commission for sustainable goals. Agencies and ministries under the government that are crucial to each goal are working together under the commission in order to bring up different policies and programmes to address a particular goal. In China, for instance, there is an inter-ministerial commission comprising 43 ministries and agencies, led by the Ministry of Finance. Mexico is another example; the country has assigned each SDG indicator to a specific ministry for follow-up after consultation with various ministries and agencies represented in its Specialized Technical Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (quote or para). The Inter-ministerial Commission for SDGs in different countries are, are among other things, working as an advisory body to the govt; developing or coordinating SDGs implementation strategies; engaging with key stakeholders; developing a national monitoring and accompanying a set of national indicators; following up and reviewing the SDGs and targets. With these functions, they are able to build a clear vision for the future that carries everyone along. The holistic approach by this commission ensures that everyone, regardless of age, gender, status, and nationality is captured in the process.

 

Coordinating Action For SDG Progress In Nigeria.

It’s been three years since world leaders including Nigeria committed to ending extreme poverty everywhere, fighting inequalities and tackling climate change through the implementation of the 17 SDGs and yet reports show that the world is not on track in the journey to fulfilling the 2030 agenda. Rather, negative indicators of these development challenges seem to be on the rise.

It has become imperative that we look introspectively into the goals; reflect on the achievement made so far, and proffer insights that can ensure the speedy realization of the goals going forward.

While we have witnessed progress in key areas of the goals, many observers are, however, of the opinion that present efforts aren’t sufficient for the full realization of the goals by 2030. For every progress made, there are lots of issues causing setbacks from different angles, due to either human or natural disasters. In the goal that deals with climate change, for instance, occurrences of hurricanes, earthquakes, flood, and other natural disasters, are biting hard on people from different places in the world, and also causing economic loss to many countries, which is surely taken its tolls on the government, and thereby causing setbacks and sometimes distraction from the SDGs focus. Contributing to this are the many unrests in different parts of the world. Conflicts, terrorisms, insurgencies, and other unrests are still also a major challenge to many people in the world. For every progress recorded, there seems to be some setback causing the 2030 agenda to lose momentum. All these problems make the goals appear very difficult to achieve in the next twelve years.

In evaluating the progress report of action on SDGs in the country, its important to acknowledge the fact that as opposed to the preceding millennium development goals(MDGs), the SDGs has relatively enjoyed mainstreaming for adoption in Nigeria, not just the primary agencies involved but across the private, public sectors, governments, non-profit organizations etc. The question is, how do we increase the mainstreaming of SDGs conversations beyond the civil society, NGO and government worlds?

In Nigeria, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant To The President On SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs) has the mandate to provide leadership and guidance in the adoption of the SDGs through strategic direction and planning, monitoring and evaluation, resource mobilization and management, advocacy and partnership development. They also work at integrating the SDGs into Nigeria’s national development plans and priorities and develop an actionable framework for implementation at national, state & local government levels. In addition, an Inter-Ministerial Committee on the SDGs was established to serve as the nucleus and focal point for ensuring inter-agency cohesion and coordination as well as to develop operational guidelines that coordinate engagement with Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).

The OSSAP-SDGs has highlighted the introduction of program delivery mechanisms and institutional frameworks to foster multi-sectoral collaboration and achievement of the SDGs in its voluntary review report to the UN on the SDGs. It also draws a supporting benefit of the government’s medium-term development plan- Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) for 2017-2020 aimed at managing the country’s economic growth for inclusive, sustainable and a more assured trajectory of universal prosperity and development.

The report also outlines challenges in the implementation pace of the goals. It posits that Nigeria will most certainly need support even as it races to the implementation and realization of the SDGs. The first arises from the reality of the current economic recession which implies that the country will need all the support it requires in mobilizing adequate financial and other resources; including from domestic sources and through the traditional (North-South, South-South, and triangular cooperation) partnerships.

The second area relates to the matter of Technology Transfer and Capacity Building in, among others, data, information and performance management, all which are urgently needed so as to support both the SDGs implementation agenda as well as the attendant process of accountability and tracking of performance.

 

Effective ways people and agencies can key in to take coordinated action on the SDGs

  • Understanding of the goals: There’s an all too important need for everyone to actually understand the goals in order to effectively contribute to the achievement of these sustainable development goals (SDGs).

How do we get people to care and actually drive sustainable development if there is a disconnect between these goals and the people you intend to run with them? Understanding is therefore instrumental for adoption. The UN has made it very easy for everyone to understand the goals, the goals have also been translated into several languages.

Strategic orientation and mobilization exercises can also be conducted across communities and echelons of society to bridge gaps and facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the goals of all people for ultimate action..

 

  • Resource sharing: The purpose of setting up SDGs cannot be achieved if countries and organizations are using the individualistic approach. Knowledge sharing is the best way to carry everyone along in the global goals. To this end, different stakeholders are usually brought together on various platforms to share expertise that will be useful to the world at large. One of the organizations championing this cause is the Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation’s NGO called The Goalkeepers. The project has made tremendous progress in its bid to ensure that the goals are achieved leaving no stone unturned. The Goalkeepers, which was started in 2017 has recorded outstanding achievements. It has served as a catalyst for action in bringing world leaders to share what is working and what is not, and to forge new partnerships for progress.

 

  • Partnership for the goals: In considering the 17th sustainable development goal- Partnership For The Goals, it is clear that the success of the SDGs lies in a working partnership of all the actors. Its necessary to build formidable partnerships of organizations, individuals and stakeholders in the plan to ensure

Howard Zinn says, “Small acts when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world”

  • Role of influencers and advocacy in coordinating the adoption of SDGs for social change: There are always key drivers or actors for every event in history. Beyond the government, CSOs, public and private sector, the role of influencers is gaining traction in driving action for development. As such, it would be doubly beneficial to leverage the tremendous power of these influencers to amplify conversations and unify voices around issue awareness, advocacy and widespread adoption of the SDGs.

In conclusion, the SDGs is an agenda for everyone. We must ensure that we leave no one behind. No one regardless of gender, age, or race, can afford to fold his arms or sit on the fence. There is work to be done to make the world a better place to live in. All forms of poverty must be eradicated; illiteracy must become a thing of the past world over; sustainable energy must be achieved, and the world must experience peace.

All these and many more can be achieved if we all work together to coordinate action and ensure continuity, especially by driving inclusivity. Every man, woman, and every child should have an elementary understanding of the SDGs and how they can contribute in little ways in their communities in taking action towards achieving sustainable development goals. Mainstream conversations around the SDGs should happen through the schools, media, community forums, religious places of worship, government etc.

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