Report on SDG progress underlines innovative ways of financing

Dhaka,  Wed,  26 July 2017
Published : 15 Jul 2017, 00:32:41 | Updated : 15 Jul 2017, 11:52:15
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Report on SDG progress underlines innovative ways of financing

Country needs $1.5t more to implement dev agenda
Mehdi Musharraf Bhuiyan
Bangladesh needs to find innovative ways of financing for achieving the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals as traditional funding is 'insufficient' to attain the 'all encompassing' SDGs, a recent government report has found.

"The major obstacle for attainment of SDGs for Bangladesh happens to be in the areas of finance, mainly in mobilising domestic resource, scaling up official development assistance and attracting FDI", said the report.

The report is the first of its kind in reviewing Bangladesh's SDG progress at the national level while also dissecting some major challenges.

"We have considerable challenges in the areas of mobilising domestic resources, efficiency gain in public expenditure, scaling up official development assistance, and attracting FDI", it stated.

The UN-prescribed Voluntary National Review (VNR) report, which has been prepared by the Planning Commission with support from the UNDP, is set to be presented before the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) of the United Nations currently being held in New York.

A high level government delegation, led by Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, is currently in the US for attending the event.

Bangladesh is among the 44 countries to present such a VNR report on the two-year progress in SDG attainment.

The report, its latest edition, has highlighted the progress the country achieved in areas of seven SDGs (goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14 and 17).

The report analysed that resource generation from domestic and international sources would be one of the most crucial challenges for Bangladesh in achieving the goals.

"We need to find innovative ways of financing from both the public and private sectors, development partners and ensure effective and efficient ways for utilisation", it said.

The VNR report comes at a time when the government is at the final stage of publishing the 'SDGs Needs Assessment and Financing Strategy' which would estimate the resources needed for achieving the Agenda 2030.

The study has found that Bangladesh would require around US$ 1.5 trillion additional resources for full attainment of SDGs from 2017 to 2030, according to Planning Commission sources.

Asked for comments, Member of the Planning Commission Professor Dr. Shamsul Alam said the government was aiming to explore innovative financing mode espoused in the report through intense bilateral and multilateral engagements while putting additional focus on domestic resource mobilisation.

"We will seek enhanced support from global partners including through South-South, North-South and Triangular Cooperation as well as financing windows like Green Climate fund", said Mr Alam, whose General Economics Division has taken the lead role in preparing the report.

Apart from financing, the report also identified a number of challenges in the areas of infrastructure, noting that the proper implementation of the proposed infrastructure strategies will require significant institutional and regulatory reforms.

"A case in point can be urban transport sector reform initiatives", the report said.

"In reforming urban transport sector, we need to consider many other factors including synchronisation of the initiatives in transport sector with the overall urban management and development strategy".

"Obviously, this is a tough task because of cross-cutting issues and multi stakeholders' involvements", it added.

When it comes to the power sector, the VNR report said that there are multiple challenges in power generation capacity, transmission, distribution, and diversification of production particularly moving towards renewable energy sources.

"Similarly, all other infrastructure investment areas have different levels of structural constraints which require to be addressed", it added.

When it comes to the implementation of mega projects, the challenges primarily come in the form of land availability, relocation, protecting and maintaining environmental standard and ensuring local level participation, the report noted.

Apart from financing, the prevailing data gap has been a major headache for Bangladesh in chalking out its SDG implementation path, which was also pointed out in the VNR report.

The government earlier conducted a data gap analysis. It found that data for only 70 indicators out of a total of 232 is available in existing data generating system of Bangladesh while further 108 can be generated by modifying existing census, survey, etc.

To address this prevailing data gap, the VNR report has called for strengthening the capacity of the Bureau of Statistics to spearhead the process of coordination with other data generating agencies so that it can contribute more as the national repository for all kinds of disaggregated data including gender, age, income, and geographic location.

"The BBS will also establish an integrated framework for ensuring availability, authenticity and reliability of administrative data collected by different ministries/agencies", the report said.

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