Adopted by all UN member states in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 indicators are a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure a better quality of life and prospects for all. All 17 goals interconnect, meaning success in one affects success for others.
The SDGs also known as the Global Goals build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) but they do go farther – they are an urgent call to shift the world onto a more sustainable path. But what does sustainable development mean?
Sustainable development is a holistic framework that puts together three basic pillars: economic development, including ending poverty; social inclusion, meaning bringing everybody along, gender equality, the rights of minority groups, reducing inequalities in society; and environmental sustainability. And while the MDGs were directed to the world’s poorest countries and to the poorest people in middle-income countries, the Sustainable Development Goals are universal. Every country in the world, rich or poor, has a challenge of putting together in a holistic manner, the economic, social, and environmental objectives of society.
Pakistan: Achieving the SDGs
Pakistan secured a score of 55.6 under the SDGs’ global index and ranked 130 on an index of 157 nations, according to the 2019 results. After committing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, Pakistan became the first country in the world to adopt the SDGs as its own national development goals through a National Assembly Resolution in February 2016. At the same time, Pakistan’s Parliament became the first to establish an SDG Unit dedicated solely to the 17 goals. Moreover, in terms of institutional arrangement, task forces in the National and Provincial Parliaments have been established to review progress and facilitate legislative support for implementation.
Based on the priorities highlighted by the public during consultations on the post-2015 agenda, and the debates undertaken during the Local Government Summit in 2017, an objective criterion – encompassing seven dimensions – was developed to prioritize national requirements. This seven-dimensional criterion guided inter-provincial discussions on identifying national priorities. Based on the outcomes of these discussions, a framework was devised to prioritize the SDGs in the Pakistani context.
In 2018, the National Economic Council approved the National SDGs Framework. The framework prioritizes the global goals into three categories. While all goals will be worked on simultaneously, Category 1 goals are those that require immediate attention to achieve rapid results which will pave the way for achieving the remaining goals.