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Federal Minister Mr. Ahsan Iqbal urged all development partners to use SDGs agencies to synergize and coordinate their efforts to support Pakistan in achieving SDGs.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Mr. Ahsan Iqbal inaugurated SDG Support Unit at P-Block, Pakistan Secretariat. Mr. Neil Buhne, United Nations Resident Coordinator, representatives of federal, provincial and districts governments, representative of UN Agencies and international Development Partners, representatives of academia and civil society were also present.
Minister expressed satisfaction over the efforts made so far in regards to incorporation of SDGs in Pakistan. Minister said that Pakistan is considered as one of the early adopters of SDGs and has been cited as an early adopter in a number of UN publications. He said that it was a personal privilege that UNDP designated me SDG Champion Minister for Asia Pacific.
Ahsan Iqbal maintained that the seven pillars of Vision-2025 are fully aligned with the SDGs. The minister said that the Vision-2025 provides a comprehensive long-term strategy for achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development. This agenda is central to UN as well as Pakistan as SDGs are core of Vision 2025.
Minister said that the National Assembly of Pakistan passed a unanimous resolution to adopt the 2030 Agenda and SDGs as the national development agenda in February 2016. Minister expressed his delight on the occasion of inauguration of SDG Unit at the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform. Minister stated today's event as a testimony of Pakistan’s commitment towards SDG. He maintained that we have already established SDG units in Punjab and Sindh, and we are at an advanced stage in Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces and the regions (AJK, GB, FATA).
Minister said that growth alone does not lead to development therefore we have to be inclusive. Everyone at every level is entitled to play its part. He said that the real challenge has begun as the implementation process is starting. He further added that there is a need to strengthen coordination. He highlighted that government is spending Rs 35 billion on implementation of SDG agenda from federal budget. Local governments will be taken on the board to make them active partner, Minister said.
Minister said that the status and progress of the SDGs Units is discussed regularly at interprovincial Planning Minister Meeting. Federal and provincial government, through the SDGs Units, will be leading the process to develop the national/provincial SDGs framework, following a participatory and inclusive consultative process.
Minister said that the Government of Pakistan has demonstrated its commitment to the achievement of SDGs by setting up these Units with its own resources. He said that the Prime Minister is taking a personal interest in the SDGs and has been following up on their implementation in Pakistan. He maintained that the government has also established an SDG fund, which will finance priority activities at the community level. The SDG Units are expected to provide guidance and analysis as to how could those funds can be best targeted to the priority SDGs in each area.
Through such broad alliance, we hope to achieve SDG agenda by overcoming the problems of the past, he concluded.