Day: September 28, 2017

Act on SDGs, Citizens, Others Urge Govts

Act on SDGs, Citizens, Others Urge Govts

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the second year of adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), civil society organisations in Nigeria are calling on the Federal, State and Local Governments to act on the SDGs.

It has been two years since September 25, 2015, when the Nigerian Government joined other United Nations world leaders to agree to a definitive plan for the planet and its people by adopting the Agenda 2030 and the 17 Goals.

The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. In different parts of the country civil society organisations are organising events from Lagos to Benue, to Bayelsa and Abuja to mark the second anniversary.

According to the Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs, Mr. Oyebisi B. Oluseyi, “Citizens across the country are calling attention to the many forms of inequalities everywhere/

“If our governments (at all levels) don’t act in time, we stand the chance of not meeting the goals and our growing pains — disparities in the incomes of the poor and the wealthy, limited access to education, health and basic social services, increasing vulnerabilities of the poorest to human-induced climate change and disasters, and the growing repression of human rights and civic participation would have exacerbated.”

“Our celebration of the 2nd anniversary of the SDGs is with mixed feelings; we are glad that two years ago the world came together to care for people and the planet. It is however worrying that between then and now we have as a country witnessed increased social injustice with more people going hungry. With an estimated 184 million inhabitants in Nigeria, 112 million of these live below the poverty line; this is unacceptable and it calls for urgent action on the part of our government.

“Now is the time to break the cycle of poverty in our land! As President Muhammadu Buhari returns from the UN General Assembly, we want to share our concerns with him and to remind him of the urgent need to accelerate action on the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.

“We need action at all levels. First, we need to increase awareness, then public policies that create real changes to reduce inequalities in and between states. We must also change production and consumption patterns, in order to make development sustainable for the environment and for people.

“While the Federal Government is to be commended for its social protection programme and the adoption of the national social protection policy, we hope that the programme will cover all sections of the population in need of this. With the Government’s effort in raising revenue through taxes, we recommend fair and equitable tax system that is people-centered and devoid of multiple taxation.

“Women’s and girls’ rights is an important first as we move to attain the SDGs, this is the bedrock of our national development. Freedom of civil society and political participation is a critical foundation to the stakeholder partnership that is needed to attain the ambitious Agenda 2030. A shrinking civic space is bad for development”, Oluseyi added.

On his own part, Director, Justice Development and Peace Commission, Ijebu Ode, Rev. Father John Patrick, said, “We remain concerned about the growing threat to the nation’s peaceful co-existence”. He urged all “as citizens to cultivate the culture of living together in unity as there is no development without peace; there is no peace without development. Now is the time to walk the talk! Let’s act together!”

Copyright THISDAYLIVE.

The SDG is Nigerian, we must let it Work

The SDG is Nigerian, we must let it Work

Two years after the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, those goals have never been more vital to the development of the 193 countries (including Nigeria) subscribing to the 17 goals and 169 specific targets.

Many Nigerians may not be aware of the SDGs and may think it is too technical. But they know firsthand what it means to go for days without food, they ride on bad roads and have at one point or the other witnessed the lack of social services, be it in the areas of health, access to good education or lack of portable water. Up NEPA! is our second national anthem.

Two years into the 15 years lifespan of the goals, Nigeria through the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on SDGs (SSAP-SDGs) has taken national ownership of the SDGs and has worked to integrate the goals into the nations planning documents.

“The Government of Nigeria has embarked on an SDGs Needs Assessment and Policy Analysis exercise which should provide the nation with the much-needed baseline data and information to enable the forecast and planning for the subsequent public investments across sectors and regions and hence, more effective and efficient resource use as well as impact’’, we read in the opening statement of the President in the National Voluntary Report submitted by Nigeria to the “people and international community on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Federal Republic of Nigeria’’ in July 2017 in New York.

The above leaves no room for doubt or debate on whether Nigeria is taking steps to implement the SDGs. As with many of our plans and programmes, time is of essence. Nigeria has been in the development labour room for years, going through the pangs of development labour, yet its doctors have refused to send it to an emergency ward for necessary surgical operation. Overwhelming debt profile, recession, corruption and plummeting economy has greatly compounded our agony as a nation.

With the Presidential Council on the SDGs now in place, their role will be paramount in developing and implementing an urgent response in attaining the SDGs by 2030 and deflating the country’s poverty rate from the present 112 million Nigerians living below the poverty line as of 2016.

Before they are reduced to mere projects, the SDGs provide a basis for developing and implementing clear national development plans, set a good foundation for a carefully articulated political party manifesto and may even be a good agenda for discussing the much touted ‘restructuring’’.  Our technical and political elites including grassroots mobilisers must now pay attention to the SDGs and what “its spirit is telling the congregation”.

The SDGs leave a whole new level of development agenda that needs scaling. The last time I checked, no one yet has estimated the full cost, however, allocation of resources to the right sectors of the economy will be the most critical factor, in the view of development specialists. They dare to hope that with the country now out of recession, the 2018 federal, state and local government budgets will be SDGs-based providing the spark for a long overdue accelerated implementation of the goals.

All Nigerians should rally forcefully behind their fellow citizens being left behind on the island of development as the country labours to develop using the SDGs as an accountability framework for holding all stakeholders accountable — government, private and civil society.

It is up to the private and civil society sector to partner government in ensuring that by 2030, we have a Nigeria that “Nigerians want” after all the 17 issues listed in the goals have been with us since independence and they are more Nigerian than foreign.

Oyebisi B. Oluseyi, Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs writes in from Lagos, seyi@nnngo.org

Copyright PUNCH.