As House seeks partnership
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has lamented that Nigeria was either stagnant or regressive on most of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in Goal One, which is poverty.
It added that in the last five years since SDGs started, there were more people in poverty and that had to do mainly with the increase in population.
UNDP-Nigeria Resident Representative, Mr. Mohamed Yahya, disclosed this yesterday during an advocacy and partnership visit of the House of Representatives Committee on SDGs chaired by Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye to the UN office in Abuja.
He said that Nigeria was an extremely important country, saying if Nigeria does not meet the SDGs, Africa would not meet the SDGs because this was where most Africans lived.
Yahya stated: “For us, getting Nigeria to accelerate its achievement is key for the continent to meet the SDGs. Currently, Nigeria is either stagnant or regressive on most of the 17 SDGs, especially in Goal One, which is poverty. In the last five years, since SDGs started, there have been more people in poverty and that has to do mainly with the population increase.
“So, the more your population increases without subsequent economic growth or opportunity, you tend to have more people in poverty. If you look at the other goals like Zero Hunger, Nigeria is stagnant, Good Health and in most of the goals, Nigeria is stagnant.”
Yahya noted that the area where the country made some improvement was Life on Land and climate change; adding that the country was maintaining the work on climate change because the federal government has been very aggressive and the president is very committed to pushing the agenda around climate change.
He noted that the challenge was to inspire the country to see where it was currently and where it needed to be in the next 10 years.
The Resident Representative stressed that last year Nigeria was fourth from the bottom in terms of the SDGs index of the best performing countries in the SDGs.
He said that the UNDP was willing to partner the committee and providing it with all the data to do its work as parliamentarians on SDGs.
Earlier, Agunsoye said the House would collaborate with State Houses of Assemblies to ensure the effective institutionalisation of parliamentary mechanisms on SDGs.
He said the visit of the committee was in recognition of the critical roles of UNDP as an integrator, knowledge network and a purveyor of capacity and technical support for the implementation of the SDGs.
Agunsoye noted that as a parliament and as a Committee vested with the functions of advocating, financing, monitoring and oversight, as well as partnerships and resource mobilisation, it was imperative to reach out to leading development partners to forge partnerships for the implementation of the SDGs and to ensure that no Nigerian was left behind.
The chairman stressed that the roles of parliament and indeed, parliamentarians in accelerating and sustaining people-centred development have long been established.
Agunsoye stressed that the committee has marshalled out various strategies to work with the UN and other relevant stakeholders through various programmes and interventions that bring everyone on board and make efforts to rid the world of ills of all kinds.
He noted that Nigeria today faced enormous challenges in human, social and economic development, adding that the increasing level of violence and insecurity and the deepening poverty and inequalities are demoralising but also capable of inspiring actions amongst political leaders.
The chairman said there can be no development without security and no security without development. This is our commitment as a Committee.
Agunsoye told UNDP that strengthening parliamentary capacity and engagement with the SDGs would enable the members of the committee to be equipped for the performance of their parliamentary roles of advocacy, oversight, appropriation, monitoring and partnerships.
He added: “We also intend to work with State Houses of Assemblies to ensure the effective institutionalisation of parliamentary mechanisms on the SDG.
“We will work with colleagues within parliaments and other Committees to ensure effective monitoring and reporting mechanisms to continuously assess progress and surmount challenges.
“As a parliament and representatives of the people, the Committee will engage with other Committees and external partners to develop a framework for ensuring that no Nigerian is left behind in the implementation of the SDGs, especially in our appropriation functions. We will welcome UNDP’s technical support with global best practices in this regard.”
Agunsoye said the House would work towards re-establishing the African Network of Parliamentarians on the SDGs and also engage with regional mechanisms to advocate for parliamentary inclusion and deepen collaboration and partnerships with existing bodies and platforms.