Ugo Aliogo examines Nigeria’s performance in the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals
With the 2030 Agenda in its fourth year, there is a need to engage political leaders on efforts to ensure the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Though Nigeria was one of the countries involved in Voluntary National Review (VNR) two years ago, it is difficult to ascertain how well the country has gone in correcting all the anomalies of VNR of 2017.
Owing to this, experts at a recent forum, stressed the need for a review of efforts of the country in implementing the SDGs, especially the performance of government in the area of good governance, security, transparency and accountability.
At the Public Discourse on Strategy for Constructive Engagement of Political Leadership workshop, the Civil Societies Organisations (CSOs), to access Nigeria’s performance on SDGs and garner public opinion on better strategy for constructive engagement towards, ‘access to justice and promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies in Nigeria’ while exploring how the IDPS/New Deal/UNSCR 2250 can support the implementation of SDG 16 in a sustainable manner.
Speaking at the event, the Coordinator, Civil Society Coalition on Sustainable Development (CSCSD) Dr. Tola Winjobi, described The Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP) network as a broad network of CSOs that works to ensure that effective governance and peaceful societies are at the heart of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
He also stated that TAP as a network ensures that civil societies are recognised and mobilised as indispensable partners in the design, implementation of and accountability for sustainable development policies, at all levels.
Winjobi, explained that the TAP Network engages some of the foremost expert organisations on the issues around Goal 16 of the sustainable development goals to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, “for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”
He remarked that TAP’s vision for the 2030 agenda is framed by notions of rule-of-law and the TAP principles of transparency, accountability, and citizen participation, as well as respect for human rights.
He maintained that effective governance and sustained peace in a Post-2015 world requires transparent, participatory and inclusive institutions that are accountable to the very people that the 2030 agenda has committed to engage.
He said: “The 2030 Agenda must promote openness, accountability and effective public institutions, build trust between states and its citizens, lay the foundation for peaceful and just societies, and empower civil society to engage in the design, implementation and accountability of public policies, at all levels. TAP’s work also looks to reinforce the assertion that SDG16 underpins the entire 2030 Agenda and that SDG16 is linked with all other SDGs.
“TAP’s work also reflects the will and impetus of the millions of citizens from around the world who voted for ‘an honest and responsive government’ as one of their top priorities in the My World survey – a theme echoed in consultations with people around the world throughout the Post-2015 negotiation process.
“The TAP Network’s over-arching goals are to support, contribute and strengthen capacity of civil society stakeholders to work on issues of transparency, accountability and participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the global and national levels, with a particular focus on SDG 16 which underpins the entirety of the 2030 Agenda.
“Through this work, the TAP Network aims to help ensure the Transparency, Accountability and Participation around 2030 Agenda follow-up and review is strengthened at the global level, and in countries undertaking voluntary national reviews for the SDGs. It also aims to expand opportunities for civil society to harness data for SDG accountability and ensure development of robust indicators and methodologies for SDG16. It also aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society to work around SDG16 and to support monitoring and accountability for the 2030 Agenda at all levels.”
In his remarks, a representative from the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President, on Sustainable Development Goals, Dr. Yahaya Umar, remarked that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development derives its intents from this conceptualisation of sustainable development and expressed through the framing of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20-22 June 2012 (Rio+20).
He explained that in September 2015, world leaders adopted the 17 SDGs at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), adding that the 17 SDGs, also known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, safeguard the planet and ensure that all people enjoy prosperity and peace by the year 2030.
According to Umar, “At the heart of the SDGs is a promise to ‘leave no one behind. The SDGs build on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (2000 – 2015), while embracing new areas such as economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption and production, climate change and peace and justice.
“In response to President Muhammadu Buhari’s Commitment to the 2030 Agenda, Nigeria developed a transition strategy from MDGs to SDGs in 2015. The Country Transition Strategy phased SDGs implementation in Nigeria as follow, build on existing foundations between 2016 and 2020. Also, to scale up SDG implementation between 2021 and 2025; and between 2026 and 2030, arrive at place where we ‘leave no Nigerian behind.
“Data mapping across the 17 SDGs, 169 targets and 232 indicators has been completed. OSSAP-SDGs in collaboration with the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and UNDP published the Nigeria SDGs-indicators baseline report in 2017. The baseline report provides a benchmark of the statistical information required for monitoring progress in the implementation of SDGs in Nigeria. It underscores the need for timely, accessible, reliable and disaggregated data to measure progress, inform decision-making and ensure that everyone is involved.”
Integration of SDG into National Development Plan
He further stated that the federal government has integrated the three dimensions of the SDGs which are economic, social and environmental into the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020.
He maintained that core areas such as food security, agriculture, energy, infrastructural development, industry, macroeconomic stability and inclusive growth are given special attention.
Regarding the issue of Voluntary National Review, Umar added: “Nigeria was among the 44 countries of the UN that presented its Voluntary National Review (VNR) in 2017 on the implementation of the 2030 agenda and the SDGs at United Nations High-Level Political Forum (UNHLPF) in July 2017. The UN-HLPF is a follow-up mechanism established by the UN to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 agenda by galvanizing partnerships and commitments from key players to collectively speed up progress on the SDGs. The Nigeria’s VNR highlights key policy, institutional and regulatory measures put in place to create the enabling environment for mainstreaming of SDGs into national policies, plans and programmes and its coordination.”
In evaluating the SDGs in Nigeria, he stated some key strategies such as the establishment of a technical working group on SDGs evaluation (TWG-SDGE) in Nigeria.
He also noted that there is need for identification and prioritization of five SDGs based on national development priorities which are captured in the economic recovery and growth plan (2017-2020).
Umar added that there is need for joint synergy between Government and United Nation Children Education Fund (UNICEF) in leveraging partnerships of UN, development partners, and academia.
In his remarks, a representative from the Centre Against Impunity in Nigeria, Lagos State, Shina Loremikan, said corruption is perhaps, the most troubling issue and ongoing crises facing the country.
He espoused that corruption has become malignant because the right therapy has not yet been administered.
Loremikan, explained that corruption has undermined the realisation of the sustainable development goals in different ways such as quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation.
He maintained that formal education is vital to prosperity and rapid growth of the society, adding that this belief makes the rat race for certificates not only to secure employment as demanded by every employer, but also to make progress in their various places of work for those working.
According to him, “Close observation in the Education sector nationwide mainly in the urban centres reveals that parents are more willing to bribe teachers and Educational administrators to secure enrolment for their children and wards in primary and secondary schools. Same conduct is visible and obtainable at higher institutions such as College of Education, Schools of Nursing, Polytechnics and Universities.
“At the primary and junior secondary schools four of every ten parents are ready to give bribes in cash and kind to secure special class for their children and wards. These trends are more common in public schools that have huge students in take and population. Parents association are the main vehicle of seeking this illegal fees-bribe, decently called voluntary donations.
He explained that a Lagos State Special publication ( 2013) prepared by the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget said there are 1001 public primary schools, 321 public junior secondary schools (JSU’s), 310 public secondary schools. (SSS) and 9, 762 private primary schools and 4,025 private secondary schools in the state.
Loremikan further stated that it has been shown all over the world that whenever user fees are abolished, enrolment increases and therefore to sustain the free education system, budget and revenue adjustments need to be made to support the school system.