SDGs-Bangladesh: Bangladesh needs to widely focus four areas in SDGs era

Dhaka, Dec 27 — Bangladesh needs widely focuses on eradicating poverty and hunger, reducing inequalities and taking climate action properly in the era of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to the experts.

Among the 17 goals of the global agenda, the four goals — no poverty, zero hunger, reduced inequalities and climate action — are very important for Bangladesh to implement the SDGs by 2030, they said.

Noting that the four goals have strong correlation with other goals, they said Bangladesh needs to address the four areas properly to get successes in implementation of SDGs like it got in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

But the experts said reducing inequalities, taking climate action and ensuring good governance will be the most challenging areas for Bangladesh to implement the SDGs.

“Four among 17 SDGs are very important for Bangladesh. If the four goals are attained, it’ll help reach some other goals of the global agenda,” said Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad at a recent workshop held in the city’s Cirdap auditorium.

“Those four are no poverty (Goal-1), zero hunger (Goal-2), reduced inequalities (Goal-10) and climate action (Goal-3),” he said at the two-day media training workshop titled ‘Reporting on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on December 18 last.

He also said if the inequalities are reduced, another goal— gender equalities (Goal-5) of the agenda—will be achieved.

Alongside the poverty eradication, Bangladesh should address hunger particularly malnutrition problem as even many children of the well-off families are suffering from malnutrition, the PKSF Chairman said.

Talking about inequalities, Dr Ahmad said it needs to address all sorts of inequalities among the people and inequality between the men and women.

About climate change, the PKSF Chairman said Bangladesh should strengthen the climate policies, strategies and projects to mitigate and adopt with the impact of the climate change.

"“Four among 17 SDGs are very important for Bangladesh. If the four goals are attained, it’ll help reach some other goals of the global agenda"
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad,
Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF)

“We’ll have to work in the country and raise voice at international forums over the climate actions,” he noted.

Lead economist of World Bank Dhaka office Dr Zahid Hussain said though Bangladesh has been posting robust economic growth consistently, income inequalities at individual-level steady goes up unlikely consumption inequalities.

Noting that the rate of inequalities in Bangladesh is neither high nor low, he said the annual average gain in income share for the top-class 20 percent population (the highest quintile) is 0.46 percent, according to a study conducted in 2010.

Though rise of inequalities is a global problem, Bangladesh needs to reduce inequalities particularly income inequalities to gain sustainable development, he added.

The economist said inequalities at national-level (among the nations) reduced significantly after 1980s, but inequality among the individuals is still high.

He said sustainable reduction in inequalities will be difficult without increasing intergenerational mobility. “Increasing intergenerational mobility is no more challenging than accelerating environment-friendly growth and no less important than it,” he said.

Dr Hussain, however, said making a difference to intergenerational mobility can not be possible overnight and it will take a very long time.

Noted climate expert Dr Atiq Rahman, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) Executive Director, said impacts of climate change in Bangladesh are now visible as it causes multi-faceted problem.

The climate change leads many problems, including frequent and intensified cyclones and floods, deeper penetration of saline water, erratic rainfall, drought, riverbank erosion, climate refugees, health disease, food insecurity, water insecurity, landslide in Chittagong Hill Tracks and migration, he said.

Dr Rahman, also Chairman of Climate Action Network-South Asia (CANSA), said climate change will dominate human lifestyle in many societies and communities. “It already dominating human lifestyle and will it tomorrow. People who are in Alaska are losing their dream and hope.”

About Bangladesh, he said one meter rise of sea level will inundated 17 percent lands of Bangladesh. Some 20 million coastal people somehow will be affected and many of will be displaced, he added.

“It is possible for Bangladesh to adapt climate changes, but adaptation has limits. Due to climate change, salinity intrudes the coastal areas, which will lead migration from there,” Dr Rahman, also a visiting professor at Harvard University said.

As per the Paris agreement of COP21 held in 2015, developed countries committed to jointly raising $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries cope with climate change, but contributions have not been guaranteed yet.

Noting that negotiation is very complex to get the fund or compensation for climate change, he said, “If you have enough capacity to fight me, you’ll be able to negotiate equally. You need to have more information to negotiate. So capacity-building is very important.”

Dr Rahman said Bangladesh needs to build capacity to negotiate to get climate compensation from the developed nations, who are mainly responsible for climate change, and the use the climate fund in adaptation measures.

He also stressed the need for ensuring good governance in the use of climate fund.

Following a series of two-day media training workshops on the UN's post-2015 global development agenda, we will be running feature articles and oped pieces written by some of the young journalists who participated in them. Sponsored by Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, the media workshops are supported by the UN Foundation.

The series of articles will focus on the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), approved by world leaders during the UN General Assembly session in September 2015, and the Climate Change Agreement which came into force in November 2016.

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