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Local Government role critical to achieving SDGs

Local Government role critical to achieving SDGs

Dhaka, Dec 5 – Experts at a dialogue on Wednesday said, local governments are critical for turning Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into a reality for communities, households and individuals, particularly to those who are at risk of falling behind. They said, local communities and actors are best placed to understand the collective needs, challenges and capacities and therefore key partners to achieve this agenda.
They were speaking at a dialogue titled “Let the Grassroots speak: Localizing SDGs for inclusive development” jointly organized by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Oxfam at a city hotel.
Speaking on the occasion, Shamsul Alam, Member of the Planning Commission said, local government can be termed as the linchpin of good governance to attain political, economic and social welfare especially of the peripheral and marginal groups of people within the
“Local government promotes rural income and livelihood opportunities. The main avenue for income and livelihood generation is through local infrastructure development which provides seasonal wage employment,” he said.
Shamsul said the key role local government has to play in setting, implementing and monitoring the SDGs. The necessary enabling legal and policy framework needs to be in place.
“Strong intergovernmental relations between local and central, government (horizontal and vertical) and clarity of roles and functions, including with key sectoral ministries such as water,
education and health, are essential to successful localization of the SDGs,” he said.
The Planning Commission Member said, while the SDGs are primarily a collection of global and national targets, local level action is at the heart of them, just as in the case of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
“Local community action is essential to the achievement of the SDGs, for the simple reason that as the rung of administration that is nearest to the people, it is best placed to design & implement locally relevant policies aligned to local priorities,” he said.
Shahin Anam, Executive Director of Manusher Jonno Foundation said, women, need to be involved at all levels. The achievement of gender equality and the full participation of women in the public and private spheres is essential to accelerate local economic development, she said.
She said, in a democratic framework, a development plan of any kind should ideally match the needs & priorities of the society, and this is particularly true in the case of plans allocating use of public financial resources for local level development works.
“Traditionally, development works have been carried out in silos, in that different departments of administration, each with their own set of objectives of effectuating progress in specific sectors, run various programmes or carry out works to further that objective,” she said.
“However, development is inherently interconnected,” she said adding: “Integration of action towards development can lead to better utilization of resources for better outcomes. Achieving effective development outcomes requires synergies between various government departments, schemes and initiatives, for a holistic inter-sectoral approach in terms of planning and implementation.” – Staff Reporter