The first sustainable development goals’ rankings are in, and out of 188 countries, Pakistan is a whopping 149th. In what has become a matter of public humiliation, Pakistan has failed every target relating to improving education, women’s rights, healthcare and the environment.

There has been a documented increase in focus exemplified by the present government, especially Mr Ahsan Iqbal at the Planning Commission, who became the man with the plan. He did what his job tells him to do; he planned for the SDGs, for a semi-systemic approach to annual targets and expanded health coverage, improved access to family planning. Pakistan now has a decreased infant mortality rate at roughly 40 deaths per 1000 children born. However, Hepatitis B, childhood obesity, violence and rates of alcohol consumption amongst many others have gone up.

The government’s planning warranted some research into recent history. It was only in September 2015 that Pakistan missed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by a depressingly wide margin. Yet, the very same year Pakistan signed on the SDGs without a progress report on the 23 indicators out of 34 that it had missed for the MDGs. At the time, a lack of political oversight, awareness, education and lack of funding for research and development were generally cited as the main reasons for the failure. No in-depth report was ever written. This begs a rather simple question: Why sign a new treaty the same year to achieve the very same goals?

The efficacy of treaties like the MDGs and SDGs is only potent when mistakes are analysed and systematically rectified by the good folks at the planning commission. The scale of systemic procedures must widen. Without it, Pakistan is caught in a masochistic cycle of signing treaties to ultimately fail on international platforms, solidifying our place at the very bottom of global indices.