Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched on Friday at National SDGs conference organiSed by Planning Commission of Pakistan.

On this occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) was also signed between Planning Commission of Pakistan and UNDP for implementation of SDGs in the country. Federal Minister Planning, Development & Reform Ahsan Iqbal and Neil Buhne signed MoU on behalf of Planning Commission and UNDP respectively.

Federal Minister Planning, Development & Reform Ahsan Iqbal accompanied by Federal Minister for Food Security Sikandar Hayat Bosan, Minister for Education Baleeghur Rahman and UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne inaugurated the launching of SDGs in Pakistan.

The Minister Planning & Development in his opening remarks said that 35 years of our history were lost under dictatorship and the biggest price nation paid is in the form of fractured social sector, which received least priority in those years. Today, Pakistan is a semi-developed country in terms of per capita income; but is bracketed in the least developed nations regarding social sector development.

He observed that launching of SDGs in Pakistan reflected the commitment of present government for implementation of SDGs and considers it as Pakistan Development Goals. We need to implement SDGs for our own sake rather to take it as an international agenda. Progress on SDGs should not be tied with foreign funding.

Ahsan Iqbal said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s vision to move forward is to make Pakistan self-reliant country by relying on its own resources. In line with this vision, he pointed out the SDGs would be accomplished in Pakistan by using mostly our own resources instead of waiting for financial assistance from abroad. He said that for reviewing the progress on SDGs, SDGs centre has been established in Planning Commission to work in partnership with federal ministries and provinces to review the progress on quarterly basis.

The minister said that SDGs are also aligned with Vision-2025 of present government, which makes SDGs as national goals of Pakistan. He recalled the failure of MDGs in Pakistan and pointed out that it was basically due to lack of political will & planning, absence of engagements with the stakeholders at different levels in the society and on federal and provincial levels and fractured socioeconomic platform. Now the political will is very much there and government is also working vigorously to repair the fractured and imbalanced socioeconomic platform.

He pointed out that Vision-2025 provides fundamental principles and a comprehensive framework for development. While devising Vision 2025, we tried to learn from our mistakes and improve what we lacked to implement MDGs. He stressed that we need pro-active approach and result-oriented strategy to achieve SDGs.

Ahsan Iqbal said that governance paradigm is now shifting towards collaborative form of government. Present government is establishing partnership with private sector, development sector and academia to improve the governance in the country. We will work very closely with corporate sector, civil society and academia for speedy implementation of SDGs.

UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne commended the government for launching SDGs in Pakistan and said that Pakistan is the first country in the world for launching SDGs locally.