Experts calls for accelerated efforts to meet SDGs for sustainable progress

Islamabad (Muhammad Yasir) In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), representatives of civil society at a consultation session
have called for accelerated efforts to meet these goals within the
stipulated timeframe as it would ensure sustainable progress.

They highlighted and discussed the bottlenecks, lacunas and challenges
in the budgets, policies and strategies towards achieving the SDGs.

Purpose of the consultation, organized jointly by Awaz CDS and UGOOD
in Islamabad, was to review the progress on government’s official
Voluntary National Review (VNR) through Peoples Scorecard and collect
input from the civil society organizations on the subject.

The event was part of the series of consultations which will be
organized countrywide to gather information from informed civil
society about the government’s performance on achieving the SDGs.

Around 35 members from civil society organizations (CSOs) participated
in the consultation, mostly from organizations led by women, youth,
transgender, people living with disabilities and minority groups. The
consultation was supported by Sightsavers Pakistan, VSO and A4SD.

In his opening remarks, CEO UGOOD Syed Ishtiaq Gilani appreciated the
participants for attending the consultation and hoped their valuable
findings would help in shaping the accurate data base on SDGs.

Participating in the consultations, Country Director Sightsavers
Munazza Gillani praised Awaz CDS-PDA and UGOOD for arranging such an
inclusive event representing all, PLWDs, trans genders, youth and men
and women.

She shared Sightsavers’ initiatives and collaborations with both CSOs
and government to make the entire SDGs process inclusive. She
emphasized on inclusion as well as availability of PLWDs disaggregated
data for all goals.

Chief Executive Awaz CDS Pakistan Zia ur Rehman gave a detailed
orientation about the event’s objectives and deliberations. He
informed the participants about AwazCDS and Pakistan Development
Alliance (PDA), on behalf of civil society, are in the process of
developing a spotlight report on SDGs parallel to government’s
official VNR report which it intends to present in the UN.

Similarly, the spotlight report which will be developed through
gathering information from people and depicting real, on ground
situation with regard to performance and progress of Pakistan on SDGs
at the same forum, he said.

Zia ur Rehman also apprised the audience that the process of data
collection was a two-pronged activity, an online survey which has been
uploaded on PDA website and a series of consultations in provincial
capitals and regions i.e. AJK and GB.

He shared that AwazCDS is engaging with civil society through people’s
scorecard to reach out to informed citizens who are unable to
contribute to national or official VNR report process. The spotlight
report will collect voices of citizens to achieving SDGs whereas the
official process relies on secondary data.

He expressed concern over the delay by the government in making the
VNR public and called for speedy completion of this process.

He gave a quick rundown of the online survey and the indicators which
would be used to assess specific goals CSOs are working on. He shared
the link and urged the audience to fill up the online survey as well.

An hour-long group work was also conducted where findings, views and
assessment of the discussants were presented. Overall they depicted
dismal picture of performance of the government on SDGs they are
working on. The information gathered in this consultation will be
combined with the findings of planned consultations and consolidated
spotlight report will be developed.