Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday emphasised the need for taking effective initiatives to make sure international commitments are appropriately met for the implementation of the 2030 global agenda of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She also called for ensuring the best use of funds and preventing its wastage as well as the continuation of providing the policy support and funding for the implementation of the SDGs.
"We will continue to provide policy support and funding for the implementation of the SDGs, but we must ensure the best use of funds, and wastage must be prevented," the premier told the opening session of the 2nd National Conference on SDGs Implementation Reviews (SIR) at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. She joined the function virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence.
She asked the government and private sectors to work in ensuring Bangladesh's overall development and thus achieving the SDGs.
She also said her government will be able to achieve the set goals before 2030 provided all work together.
"We have achieved the status of a developing nation and we will be able to attain the status of a developed country by 2041," the premier observed.
Bangladesh has not only adopted the SDGs as a global development concept, the prime minister said, adding, "Bangladesh started formulating this global target to suit its own needs, which has come to be known as SDG Localization. Under this initiative, out of 17 goals, 39 indicators have been identified as SDG priority areas for Bangladesh."
In addition, she also said considering the reality of each district, one additional indicator has been determined.
She hoped that this priority list will foster monitoring and implementation of the SDGs in all government departments at the district, upazila, and grassroots levels and will accelerate the performance of the SDGs and simultaneously hasten the country's ongoing development.
Even though SDG is a global development concept, it is also very relevant in the development discourse of Bangladesh, she said, adding that Bangladesh was actively involved in formulating the SDGs from the very beginning.
In 2013, taking the views of all relevant stakeholders of the country, Bangladesh proposed 11 goals to the United Nations, she said.
Of these, 10 were exactly adopted by the United Nations, and the remaining one was included in the other goals of Agenda 2030, she continued.
As a result, from the time of adoption of the SDGs, she said it has been possible to formulate various policies and strategies for Bangladesh in line with the SDGs.
The prime minister also said Bangladesh has already made significant progress in formulating plans and strategies to implement the global development agenda.
"The world has appreciated our steps to implement the SDGs. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) awarded us the 'SDG Progress Award' as Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in achieving SDGs in the first five years among all the UN member countries," she said.
Planning Minister MA Mannan, State Minister Shamsul Alam, and the UN Resident Coordinator (in charge) Tuomo Poutiainen spoke on the occasion, while Principal Coordinator, SDG Affairs, Zuena Aziz, gave the address of welcome.
Member (Secretary) of the General Economic Division Md Kawser Ahmed gave a brief presentation on Bangladesh's SDG progress and plan to achieve it.
A video documentary on SDG was screened on the occasion. The prime minister also unveiled the cover of a publication on SDG.
Sheikh Hasina referred to Bangladesh's success in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which has brightened the country's image in the international arena.
She said, "Our government is committed to implementing the 'Agenda 2030' or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to continue the pace of development."
The premier said all the ministries and departments have prepared an action plan to implement the SDGs.
"Considering the importance of SDG implementation, the Principal Coordinator for SDG Affairs post has been created at the Prime Minister's Office as under her leadership, a high-level 'SDG implementation and Review Committee' was formed with the concerned secretaries," she said.
In addition to the ministry-based activities for effective implementation of SDGs, she said that the Governance Innovation Unit of the Prime Minister's Office is implementing a special project for enhancing public administration skills in implementing the SDGs.
As the Awami League formed the government, it has taken special initiatives for the country's overall development and ensuring the fundamental rights of all people, the prime minister said.
Initiatives like Palli Sanchay Bank, Ashrayan Project, Digital Bangladesh, Education Assistance Programme, Women's empowerment, Electricity for all, Community Clinics and Child Development, Social Security Programmes, Environmental Protection, and Investment Development are already playing significant roles in the overall development of the country, she said.
As a Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Bangladesh has drafted the 'Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan' to achieve energy independence and set Bangladesh's trajectory to prosperity, she said.
"We have handed over 183 thousand 3 homes to the homeless across the country by April 2022. We have provided 640 climate refugee families with new homes in Cox's Bazar, and in total 4 thousand, 409 climate refugee families will get new homes by 2023," she said.
The prime minister said Bangladesh is passing seven years on the path of achieving the SDGs.
She said that in the last two years, SDG implementation has slowed down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "However, intending to achieve the goal, we are working to the best of our ability," she said.
The economy is returning to increased growth with the government providing timely stimulus packages and appropriate policy support to this end, she stated.
The prime minister said the SDG Implementation Review (SIR) Conference 2022 is very significant as the world is now going through a critical juncture due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.
Sheikh Hasina stressed initiatives keeping those already attained intact to achieve the SDGs within the stipulated time in the reality of the ongoing pandemic and the war that heavily hurt the world economy and livelihoods.
"I hope that through this conference, the organisations involved in the implementation of SDGs will be able to review their implementation progress and identify potential challenges and find solutions," she said.
Taking into view the ongoing global pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, she said the people would have to show austerity in using water, electricity, and food grains as the entire world has been rattled due to the double blow.
The premier reiterated her call to grow more food so the country would not face any crisis which many countries across the globe are now encountering, saying, "Don't put one inch of land uncultivated."
In our planned development journey, she said that development partners, NGOs, and civil society are equally involved with the government.