Parliament is the most instrumental institution for effective implementation of SDGs Agenda 2030 said Mr. Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique, Executive Director Parliamentarians Commission for Human Rights on the Post High Level Political Forum (HLPF) National Conference on Voluntary National Review (VNR) of Sustainable Development Goals held on 25th July, 2019. The conference was jointly organized by PCHR, Awaz /CDS, Parliamentary Taskforce on SDGs and VSO and attended by the representatives of civil society from across Pakistan. They gathered at Islamabad for a post HLPF national conference on VNR and SDGs, to congratulate the Government of Pakistan, for presenting VNR report during the High Level Political Forum held under the aegis of United Nations from July 9-18, 2019.
He further said that Parliamentarians have critical role to play in order to oversight the implementation of SDGs in Pakistan. He added while acknowledging the Government’s efforts in setting up institutional structures for the implementation of the SDGs, we also note widening inequalities in the country. He further highlighted that the official VNR report discusses only three of the six HLPF review themes and excludes Goals 4, 10 and 16, which are pivotal to the 2030 Agenda, he urged Government to take these goals seriously.
The Post HLPF National Conference was attended by Parliamentarians, representatives from SDGs Unit Planning Commission of Pakistan, CSOs, media, academia, economists, People Living with Disabilities (PWDs), child protection institutions, young people organizations, religious minorities, transgender communities and private sector.
Talking to the participants Ms. Ghazala Saifi , member National Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs, shared that we will have quarterly review of SDGs as we think it requires strict review by the Parliamentarians. This may be shocking for you to know that even Parliamentary Task Force members were not shared the official VNR report. Ms. Nafeesa Khattack, another member of National Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs said that we would like to focus on SDGs 4 (education) and we will focus on girls right to quality secondary education. There is a dire need to build the capacity of Parliamentarians to understand SDGs and VNR processes.
Mr. Shakeel Ahmed from UNDP emphasized upon the need of a collective platform of the related stakeholders for the realization of SDGs in Pakistan.
Mr. Ali Kemal from SDGs Unit Planning Commission of Pakistan said that we did engage with CSOs for the preparation of VNR however we appreciate Pakistan Development Alliance has pivotal role in accessing to the district level stakeholders during this whole process. He further said that we have a major challenge of data availability against several of Pakistan’s national priority indicators.
Mr. Zia ur Rehman, Chief Executive AwazCDS-Pakistan and National Convener, Pakistan Development Alliance said that government need to revisit the national priority indicators considering the emerging needs of the nation. He further stressed for creation of Pakistan SDGs Support Fund for localization of SDGs. He demanded that local governments should be empowered and facilitated for the appropriate realization of SDGs in Pakistan.
Mr. Hashim Bilal, Country Director VSO Pakistan, Ms. Munazza Gillani Country Director Sightsavers, Mr. Khalid Naeem Executive Director, SEDA also spoke at the occasion.