The success of SDGs implementation will largely depend on its effective execution at local stage and in a coordinated way, Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh said on Thursday.
“The supreme sacrifice of the people of this country was intended for an economically prosperous, socially inclusive and an environment-friendly Bangladesh,” Prof Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said.“It is said that all development are local and SDGs should also be implemented from local level,” he stressed at a community-based organisation (CBO) conference held in the city on Thursday.
Achieving at least 12 out of 17 SDGs will require coordinated localised action plan tailored to the local needs to send public services more effectively to the marginal people, the citizen’s platform listed.
It called for a “social contract” between citizens, local government and people representatives to ensure governance and accountability for effective SDGs implementation.
“Effectiveness of SDG-related service delivery at local level will depend on an institutionalized structure,” Prof Mustafizur Rahman said.
Citizen’s Platform for SDGs, in association with OXFAM and the EU,
orgainsed the conference at city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).The platform’s convener Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said local citizen’s social rights and voice should be strengthened for successful SDGs achievement.
“The people lagging most should be linked to LDG graduation,” he believes.
“The core objective of our independence was to build an equitable country free of disparity. Despite development in many social sectors, still inequality exists at many levels in the country,” Dr Fahmida Khatun, CPD’s executive director noted.
“The inequality has to be removed, if we want a sustainable development because GDP growth only gives an average concept,” she added.
The GDP growth can’t be sustainable if it can’t create jobs or lower inequality between regions, gender and other levels, he pointed out.
The inequality has been exposed during pandemic as general people struggled to get health services, she added.
Noted economist Prof Rahman Sobhan thinks that people should be more educated to be aware of their rights as well as responsibility, while their elected representatives should be elected through a competitive process to make them more responsible for better public service delivery.
He also suggested delinking public services from existing centralised control and transfer them to elected local representatives.
Addressing the event, LGED and Cooperatives Minister Tajul Islam said: “If union parishads can perform duly or deliver services rightly, the picture of Bangladesh will change totally.”
He also put stress on accountability of local institutions alongside their empowerment. “What is the use of empowerment without accountability?,” he questioned.
He added that some 142 services are already transferred to UPs but its output is very poor.
Rensje Teerink, Ambassador of the EU to Bangladesh, said Bangladesh is on the right track to achieving SDGs as it has been successfully running Covid-19 vaccination programme, even ahead of many developed countries.
She also put emphasis on strong democratic institution, governance, people’s active participation in development process, social inclusiveness and sustainable development for further development of the country.
OXFAM’s Country Director Dipankar Datta called for more engagement of CBOs in SDGs implementation process, saying that their role has now been changed drastically from what was 20 years ago.