African women need empowerment too

Paul Obi in Abuja

As nations brace up to the challenge of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more than a year after they were adopted at a landmark event at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, various stakeholders in Abuja have tasked the federal government to formulate policies that will ensure the domestication of the SDGs.

This call was made known at the recent launch of two books by Director of Caritas International, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, titled ‘Localising a Global Agenda: How Priests, Pastors, Imams and Ordinary People Can Mobilise to Enhance SDGs’ and ‘Issues in Church and Society in Africa: Tackling Growth and Inclusion’, which took place in Abuja.

Speaking, the author of the books, Bassey said: “We need to domesticate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to make impact. Africa needs a framework for development. There is need for planning and not just seeing development goals as just relating with the World Bank as a framework.

“Every agency of government should focus on a particular target related to them. If government takes the SDGs as the framework for development, it will go a long way in solving our problems,” Bassey stated.

Also, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Civil Societies and Development Partners, Hon. Peter Akpatason harped on the need to ensure accountability and transparency in the implementation of SDGs.

The lawmaker identified corruption and mismanagement of resources meant for developmental projects as major obstacle to the actualisation of the SDGs.

Akpatason stated that “those vices that led to the failure of the MDGS are being addressed, and the level of corruption and impunity has reduced. We have all the resources to achieve anything we want in this country but we misappropriated and diverted the funds.”

Guest speaker at the event and Professor of University of Uyo, Prof. Anthonia Essien said there was need for civil society and government to work out modalities that will ensure that the SGDs are attainable.

Essien, who applauded the author on the two books, called for concerted efforts in harnessing natural resources to reduce poverty, adding that the SDGs are strategic roadmap in fighting poverty and under-development.

Various stakeholders have expressed apprehension over the speedy implementation of the new 17 SDGs, which have 165 targets and indicators. This is coming against the background of Nigeria’s relatively poor realisation of the previous eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were adopted in 2000, with a 15-year lifespan and deadline year of realisation of 2015.

Nigeria, analysts believe, has made half-hearted efforts in the implementation of the new goals, which contain some stand-alone goals like poverty, hunger, water, sanitation, and inequality, which are crucial for Nigeria’s development process and growth.