UN Resident Coordinator to Bangladesh Robert D Watkins here on Saturday laid emphasise on a solid, accountable and transparent governance system making the global efforts meaningful and thus achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“I’m not only speaking about Bangladesh or developing countries. I’m speaking about all the countries throughout the world considering universality of the goals,” he said.
Watkins said if there is not a ‘good, solid, accountable and transparent governance system’ in any country, a lot of good works will remain difficult to accomplish.
He was addressing a symposium on ‘Global Goals for Sustainable Development’ held at Washington Hotel in the city marking the 70thanniversary of the United Nations.
United Nations Association of Bangladesh (UNAB) arranged the event with UNAB President Justice Kazi Ebadul Hoque in the chair.
Secretary (Bilateral and Consular), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mizanur Rahman spoke on the occasion as the chief guest while PKSF Chairman Dr Kholiquzzaman Ahmad made the keynote presentation on SDGs and Bangladesh.
UN Resident Coordinator said SDGs are not just achieving economic indicators but solid progress on governance where people’s voices can be heard and taken into account.
He said the member countries cannot achieve the goals if they do not have resources. “We know ODA (Official Development Assistance) is going down in Bangladesh and other countries in the world which is creating very serious financial problems.”
Laying emphasis on domestic resources mobilisation to achieve the global goals, Watkins said in Bangladesh there is a great potential for resources which have not fully utilised or exploited.
He said that can be done through taxation and getting private sector involved much more in achieving these goals.
The UN official mentioned that Bangladesh has demonstrated over the years that it has a lot to offer to not only itself but also other countries particularly South Asia region. “South-South Cooperation through technology transfer and knowledge sharing can also play a fundamental role in achieving SDGs.”
He also talked about the importance of measurement on indicators to know the progress made. “This is a serious challenge for many developing countries including Bangladesh. How you’ll measure the progress if you don’t have regular, reliable and updated data.”
Having only ambitious goals are not enough rather it is important to have mechanisms to make sure reporting on progress, he added.
Watkins said Bangladesh has proven to be a model country for achieving MDGs and the UN is very actively working with Bangladesh government to make sure that the SDGs are very much anchored in the 7th five-year plan of Bangladesh.”
The UN official also said SDGs remain a ‘hugely ambitious’ agenda and the UN is here just to work hand in hand with all member states, including Bangladesh in achieving the goals.
On addressing inequalities, Watkins said he thinks most people will agree that inequality is the source of a great deal of conflicts and injustice in the world. “By addressing it we can reduce social tension, not only in Bangladesh but also in other countries. It remains one of the most challenging goals.”
Dr Kholiquzzaman said it is high time to transform commitment into actions to achieve the new set of global goals. “We’ve to move from commitments to actions nationally and globally.”
He said there has been heated debate before adopting the 17 SDGs and 169 targets and Bangladesh has been very active in finalising the agenda.
The economist, however, said all goals are not equally important for all the countries.
He said resource mobilisation for achieving the goals is extremely important as the ODA is declining. “We have to work together to make sure that global partnership is built properly.”
Dr Kholiquzzaman laid emphasis on empowering institutions and local government further and involving all stakeholders in the process.
Mizanur Rahman said collective efforts are needed to achieve the SDGs. “It’s a global call and a new journey and partnership is the key to success.”
He said it will have to make sure that no one is left from the development procress. “Let’s put our will and wealth in this collective effort to transform the world.”