Day: September 26, 2017

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN NIGERIA; TWO YEARS AND COUNTING…

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN NIGERIA; TWO YEARS AND COUNTING…

On the 2nd year anniversary of the SDGs, Oyindamola Aramide shares her thoughts.

On September 25, 2015, the United Nations general assembly adopted 17 goals which form the universal, integrated and transformative 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. 193 member nations of the United Nations; Nigeria inclusive, formally took on implementation of these global goals in the year 2016 with hopes of full attainment in every country by 2030.

The 17 goals, also referred to as global goals are further broken down into 169 specific targets which fundamentally lean on three crucial domains of environment, economy and society. Each of the goals has a stake in one of these domains with the ultimate goal of ensuring inclusive development for everyone in every city of the world through the mitigation and subsequent eradication of poverty, reduction of hunger and food waste, creation of enabling environments for growth and development, protection of the planet and so on.

One major challenge to the attainment of the SDGs in many countries is the lack of awareness and inadequate sensitization of the public of the goals, what they entail and how their implantation impacts the quality of life of the average citizen. In Nigeria, studies show that more than 50% of the population is unaware of what the sustainable development goals are or how they affect their own development. How then can these goals be achieved if people do not know about them or how they fit into the implementation of the goals?

Two years into the adoption of the goals, there is still more to be done in terms of sensitizing people about each of the goals and how they fit into citizens’ daily lives . First of all, we have to ask ourselves as well as our governments if the goals are even achievable. An inquiry into the SDGs and its implementation puts many in an offensive position and government, on the defensive, where it is obvious that the government is inundated by the sheer magnitude of all that have to be accomplished in the next thirteen years. At this point in the implementation of the SDGs, it becomes imperative to question our governments’ commitment to the promises made in September 2015.  The answers we get may be bitter pills for many of us but, swallow we must, so that we are then forced to begin to demand actions.

Liu Zhenmin, Under Secretary- General of the United Nations and head of its Department of Economic and Social Affairs noted that; “Successful implementation of the SDGs is predicated on people knowing about them. If people are aware of the bold commitments their leaders made in 2015, then citizens can hold their leaders accountable.”

As much as the attainment of the SDGs is prominent in the framework of world nations and strongly backed by the United Nations, Agenda 2030 cannot simply be actualized by increasing awareness and sensitizations. It is important to note that the SDGs only stand a chance at being achieved if everyone takes a part in the implementation. National, state and local governments, the private sector, the academia, civil society as well as average everyday citizens all have a stake at achieving Agenda 2030.

When citizens are engaged in a process especially founded on issues which affect them on personal levels, they would be inclined to act. People which make up a country have high population power (in comparison with those in power) and so the contribution of everyone to issues of development in ways which they find relatable is important to foster implementation of the SDGs for the next thirteen years.

Governments have the prerogative to ensure that people understand that they play a large role in taking up actions especially regarding identifying one particular goal which speaks to them the most, connecting it all on how best the other goals can be achieved.

Education is key to engendering inclusivity and a core goal for being ahead of the curve on a lot of changes. It cannot be denied that the entry point to conversations on the SDGs is goal 4; quality education. It is through the actualization of quality education that poverty can be eradicated and then zero hunger can be achieved.

The greatest challenge to quality education in achieving sustainable development lies in the conflict between the federal, state and local governments in the management of education at these different levels. The problems range from lack of adequate funding of the sector to politicization of the system, indiscipline to general instability of the sector. According to UNESCO, 26% of national budgets are to be allocated to education in each country but it is cannot be said that this is the case in Nigeria and has not been so for many years now. The onus is on the government to revitalize the educational system in the country and provide sustainable funding for the educational sector to achieve the vision of quality education for all by 2030.

Climate change and how human activities lead up to the situation where environmental degradation causes an inability of the environment to sustain life is another area intended to be tackled by the SDGs. It is time to begin to educate people on the importance of sustainable use of nature’s resources in a way that these resources are not used up faster than they can be replenished.

Urbanization and rapid expansion of cities which results in destruction of vegetation and farmlands, release of hazardous chemicals into the atmosphere; another result of massive industrialization, engaging in actions which further jeopardizes the ozone layer; causing a ripple effect on land and sea temperature leading to recent occurrence of massive flooding of many cities around the world, hurricanes and the environment essentially lashing back at the unsustainable use of its resources. These are some of the issues that need to be addressed but cannot simply be achieved solely by government.

Government has to educate people on these errors and while actions have to be taken by all which including everyone making better choices on how best to engage the use of environment resources to forestall irreversible danger.

With partnership and the support of stakeholders on all levels in the society as well as the commitment of all citizens to the attainment of the goals, the government has to brace up to the challenge of delivering on its promise to lead the movement.

Policies which engender peaceful living and create a society which absorbs and spreads development must be enacted, a society which is ideal for global partnership and inclusive development must be created; one devoid of mutual distrust, chaos and violence in order for Nigeria to stand a chance at sustainable development in the long-term.

ATTAINING SDGs: A CALL TO GOVERNMENT AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS

ATTAINING SDGs: A CALL TO GOVERNMENT AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS

With the SDGs now 2 years, Ms. Oluwatosin Sulaimon our Project Officer shares her thoughts on what needs to be done to attain the SDGs.

It’s been two years since the adoption of the sustainable development goals by 193 member states of the United Nations. September 25 – 27, 2015, world leaders gathered for a three-day summit at the United Nations to unanimously adopt a global agenda of 17 goals that aim to end poverty in all forms, protect the planet and ensure people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

Promises to achieve all these goals by 2030 were made and each country is expected to nationalize strategies, policies and processes.

Presently, more than 60% of the population still lives in poverty, we have the Boko Haram in the North destroying lives and property, the IPOB in the East agitating for sovereign state of Biafra, yearly increase of youth unemployment, kidnapping across the nation and climate issues amongst others. All of these issues and more spell doom for national development.

It is worthy to note, however, that successful implementation and achievement requires a collective effort of every Nigerian including those in the diaspora. An inclusive approach where every Nigerian everywhere is supporting the government either locally or nationally is the best technique that can be adopted. The government, media, academics, civil society, youths and private individuals should all get involved and ensure no one is left behind.

Every actor should build on the experience gained during the MDGs. Lessons learnt should serve as basis for better implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.

The academics should plug into existing networks such as the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, critique the government at all levels and importantly intensify their research on how best to implement the goals.

More media practitioners are needed to create platforms where further awareness can be created for these goals as well as proper monitoring of progress made.

The private sector can come in by creating more employment opportunities, producing sustainably and consequently ensuring a friendly and resilient climate. The sector should also get involved in corporate social responsibility initiatives which can go a long way in addressing social issues in the country.

The civil society as a driver of development, has been known to support the efforts of the government at all levels in ensuring national development. From mobilization of people and resources to wide dissemination of essential information, advocacy, monitoring and collaborating with other stakeholders. Civil society organisations should ensure they are at every point of their activities accountable and transparent to foster their contributions to SDGs attainment and national development. They should also use their various platforms to increase the level of awareness of the SDGs amongst Nigerians especially the grassroots who are expected to feel the impacts of development the most because the higher the level of awareness, the greater the possibilities of informing the government what we desire as citizens.

Youths are important actors in the development process and are generally perceived to be the drivers of social change. It is of great essence that they start taking responsibilities for the Nigeria they want. Youths have to relentlessly and with utmost belief fight for their future. No youth is too young to make a difference.

Nigerian government at all levels should in conjunction with their main responsibilities of ensuring national development create enabling environments for other stakeholders to carry out their activities, ensure inclusiveness, build and strengthen partnership with relevant organisations and agencies and most importantly, be receptive.

Not discountenancing the fact that some of these actors have since the adoption of these goals started creditable activities, the importance of intensifying all efforts cannot be overemphasized.

Attaining all 17 sustainable development goals by 2030 in Nigeria, I believe will be one of the greatest achievements of the country. Let us come together and work as one.

Together we can!!!