The government will soon set up a separate entity for coordinating the activities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), principal secretary Abul Kalam Azad said Wednesday.
"Our plan is to set up a separate office for coordinating these activities in the future," he told a consultation meeting on the role of private sector in achieving the SDGs.
Currently, General Economics Division (GED) of the planning ministry is the main focal point for SDGs.
United Nations System and GED jointly organised the meeting in the capital to discuss with the leaders of private sector and reach a common understanding for facilitating implementation of the activities.
"The SDGs are said to be ambitious, but they are certainly achievable," said the principal secretary. "With the support of development partners and, at the same time, through South-South and Triangular Cooperation, we are hopeful about achieving it."
Focusing on the progress made by the government, Azad said, "We have already done the mapping of resources for achieving the SDG targets while identifying the lead ministries for each of these goals."
He also observed that technical support and transfer of knowledge is more important for countries like Bangladesh than monetary assistance for achieving the global goals.
Speakers at the meeting discussed about various dynamisms that could be applied in ensuring private sector participation in the process of achieving the SDGs.
Planning Commission member Professor Shamsul Alam gave an overview of the roles the private sector could play in each of the 17 SDGs.
For example, he said, with regard to SDG-2 that deals with ensuring food security, the private sector could play a big role in mechanisation of agriculture and as such, making the growth in agriculture sustainable.
He also observed that the private sector could play a very active role in bringing new innovation in solar technology to spread the use of Solar Home Systems while playing its part in the development of infrastructure under the public private partnership scheme.
UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh Robert D. Watkins said that although financial resources are important for the SDGs, it is even more important to have the knowledge, capacity and partnerships to develop appropriate policies and strategies that enable the achievement of the goals.
Taking part in the discussion, Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) president Syed Nasim Manzur said there is a significant mind shift within the private sector that they have a shared responsibility in achieving the development goals like SDGs.
"Until now, development dialogues with the development partners have followed a G2G pattern," Mr Manzur said. "However, the time has come to expand that conversation to a G2G2P pattern."
Mr. Manzur also observed that the achievement of SDGs requires not only infrastructure and physical capital, but also the transfer of soft knowledge, which is usually lacking in Bangladesh.
"For example, if we want to acquire technology in this country, it is very expensive as there is almost a 30 percent effective tax on technology," he said, adding: "This cost of acquiring technology is a deterrent to adapting green eco-friendly technology in the private sector."
Pointing out the issues of social and business environment are becoming increasingly important in the context of SDGs, Mr. Manzur said that these standards needed to be looked at from the context of Bangladesh.
"Yes, we want to be compliant but not at the cost of competitiveness at this level of development in Bangladesh," he said.
International Labour Organisation (ILO) country director Srinivas Reddy in his keynote presentation highlighted the concept of 'SDG Compass' which has developed certain tools for private sector engagement and provides guidance on how the private sector could participate in achieving the SDGs.