UNDP calls on legislators to take the lead in ensuring successful implementation of SDGs

Dec 10, 2015

Acting UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Pa Lamin Beyai, has called for the leadership of Nigeria's legislators for successful implementation of Agenda 2030. Legislators have a representational role to play as they advocate interest of their constituents. They also have an oversight role, ensuring that the country gets value for money and remains on the SDGs path. They are also responsible for ensuring that policy formulation, planning and importantly, budget making processes respond to the SDGs. (Below is the statement made during the inuagural retreat and ceremony organised for the Committee on SDGs of the House of Representatives).

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It is my honour and privilege to be here at the inaugural retreat organised for the members of the Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the House of Representatives. I am very glad to learn that the goal of this initiative is to share information and enhance our knowledge on the newly adopted international development agenda, the SDGs.

Allow me to convey sincere greetings from the Acting Resident Coordinator of the UN System, Ms. Jean Gough, who could not be here due to equally important engagements on the work of the UN in this country.

As you may be aware, following the adoption of the SDGs in September, a number of activities have been carried out by different stakeholders aimed at sensitizing different constituencies on the SDGs. As partners of the government, we welcome and support this proactive approach you have taken because we know that getting everyone on board will be key in the successful implementation of the SDGs.

With the leadership of the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on the Millennium Development Goals (OSSAP-MDGs), Nigeria made significant progress in meeting the MDGs targets. Some goals were met while others were not.

As reported in the recently unveiled MDGs End-Point Report 2015, there was a mixed picture on the overall status of the country: For example, while poverty declined from 65.6% in 1996 to 45.5% in 2010 and hunger was reduced by 66% by 2012 (three years advance), net enrolment in basic education declined from 60% in 1995 to 54% in 2013- largely due to insecurity.

You may already know that currently, only about 5% of the seats in the in National Parliament are held by women against the target of 35%. While close to 70% of households now have access to safe drinking water - an increase from only 40% in 1990, Nigeria was unable to meet the target on infant mortality which only decreased from 91 (in 1990) to 58 deaths per 1000 live births in 2014 - the target was 30.

 

These are but few examples of how the country performed in the MDGs. The reasons for this performance are numerous: the country faced challenges along the way. However, one important reason was because there was a delay in getting people on board. Different reports state that there was a delay of close to five years before people started talking about and calling for speedy efforts for Nigeria to meet her MDG targets.

However, it seems we have an early start on SDGs. SDGs were adopted on only over 60 days ago; and we are gathered here at the inaugural retreat of the committee on SDGs. On behalf of the UN System, allow me to congratulate you for taking this proactive step. This is clear evidence that the country has drawn lessons from the MDGs era.

Less than 10 days ago, UNDP organised this year’s Social Good Summit at which different stakeholders across the country deliberated on the country’s opportunities and challenges for realising the SDGs.

With the momentum being shown already by various sections of society, the government and yourselves, I am very hopeful, Nigeria will demonstrate her leadership and be among the many African countries to meet the SDG targets by 2030.

However, for this to happen, you the Honourable Members of this House have a very important role to play. As we enter this new development era, it will be your role to oversee and scrutinize whether the country is on course to reaching the targets and to raise issues of concern relating to SDGs on behalf of your constituents. While Civil Society Organisations will be on the ground engaging on SDG, we will also depend on the structures in your constituencies to localise and own the SDGs.

The more you will remain engaged on issues around SDGs, the more you will help the people of this country to own the agenda. You are also one of the most effective platforms to lead the national discourse on SDGs. Through debates in the house, we will count on your leadership in building consensus and stimulating further engagement across the entire national governance spectrum on issues around SDGs. As representatives of the millions of Nigerians who are looking for your leadership in bettering their lives, you will have a critical role to play in providing oversight and tracking progress towards meeting the SDG targets.

 

The people out there will be expecting you to ask the hard questions on how resources allocated for development are being spent by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies. As their representatives, they will count on you for defending programmes that will result in a better Nigeria by 2030.   

Successful implementing of the SDGs will require adequate resources and unwavering political will. It will be your responsibility the Honourable Members of this house, to ensure both are available. From planning to budgeting through to spending, us your development partners will rely on you to ensure that SDGs are mainstreamed in all these processes and that robust resource tracking mechanisms are put in place for efficient and effective delivery on the country’s SDGs promise.   

OSSAP-MDGs with our support and other development partners have developed a roadmap for the country to follow as it transitions from MDGs to SDGs. This strategy identifies the institutional, legal and policy frameworks necessary for the realisation of SDGs. It also makes reference to the partnerships needed along the way. As the UN System in Nigeria, we reaffirm our commitment to continuing with our support during this new development era.

Together, without leaving anyone behind, we can be sure of a better Nigeria, come 2030.

I thank you for your attention and wish you fruitful deliberations at the retreat.

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