LAHORE: Participants in a seminar on ‘Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ said on Monday there was a dire need to engage youth to achieve SDGs’ goals and sustainable future in Pakistan.

The seminar was held at the Kinnaird College on Monday regarding orientation about the SDGs, specifically in the context of Pakistan, such as on climate change, gender equality, peace building, and institutional development with Pakistan’s Vision 2025.

Khoj-Society for People’s Education founder director Nasira Habib, water scientist Dr Muhammad Arshad, Punjab Commission on the Status of Women’s Amna Ali, head of business studies Saira Farooqi, Asma Ali and Kinnaird College’s Zoya Ashraf were panelists.

Ms Habib said that Pakistan had adopted 16 targets and 41 indicators. Data on 33 of these indicators reveal that Pakistan is on track to achieve the targets on nine indicators and its progress on other 24 indicators is off track.

She said Pakistan’s performance was ranked at 122 among the SDGs index in 2017 and World Economic Forum had placed Pakistan as the second worst country on gender equality in its Global Gender Gap index released in Nov 2017.

SDGs are a universal set of 17 goals with 169 targets which all UN member states, including Pakistan are expected to use in framing their national development agendas. Federal and provincial institutions, including the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women had devised a plan to work on SDG-5 on gender equality in the province.

Ms Ali said that they were working on gender equality and women empowerment and helpline 1043 was established for women to provide free legal advice for their problems.

Ms Ashraf said role of political leaders was needed to discuss the SDG 16 for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies and social justice in Pakistan.

Dr Arshad said that all countries would require annual reporting of high-quality data through monitoring.

“A sample study showed that Rs15,000 per capita expenditure was being spent out of the provincial annual development plan on a sample district and we have yet to explain the outcomes of these expenditures on health, education and other rankings related to the SDGs in Pakistan,” he said.

He said there was need to raise awareness and knowledge on how critical the SDG goals were to uplifting the lives of the people and how to make the process sustainable and inclusive.Kinnaird College Principal Dr Rukhsana David said youth engagement was needed to fulfill SDGs and its targets in Pakistan and she ensured the support of the college for the campaign.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2018

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