UNDP will fully support implementation of programmes of action for the quick roll out of the SDGs across all States - Pa Lamin Beyai

Aug 30, 2016

[Read by Mandisa Mashologu, Deputy Country Director-Programmes)

On behalf our Country Director Pa Lamin Beyai, I am pleased to be part of today’s National Stakeholders Retreat on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is particularly encouraging that all key stakeholders at the national and sub-national levels are participating in this retreat today – a clear statement that we are living up to the call of not leaving anyone behind

This multi-stakeholder engagement, with the participation of the public and private sectors, not forgetting the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), will be key to our success with the SDGs. I wish to specifically commend the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs for this initiative which we believe will certainly help to strengthen the interlinkages and build strong national consensus on the implementation approaches.

The SDGs may look too ambitious with 17 Goals, 169 targets and about 231 indicators when compared to the 8 MDGs but they hold the key to transforming people’s lives, our countries and securing the future of our planet. The good thing is that these goals seek to build on the MDGs and complete whatever was not achieved.  A good analogy of the SDGs is like a restaurant menu, which allows diners to choose according to their taste and budget. The choice and prioritization of the Goals should be tailored to national, sub-national, and local development situations and financial consideration. The popular saying is to ‘think global but act local’, without leaving anyone behind.

As a country, there were good experiences in implementing the MDGs which will be very useful as we roll out the SDGs. First, is the need to plan and commence implementation very early in the cycle. It is clear that countries who started as early as 2000 to implement the MDGs recorded more impressive results than latecomers. A good practice is to mainstream early enough the prioritized SDGs goals into the national or subnational plans and budgets. In this way, the continuous buy-in of the political class and the bureaucracy is guaranteed throughout the implementation period.

Financing may yet pose a challenge in implementing the goals especially with the current economic downturn that has affected budgetary position for both the national and sub-national governments. As at the last count of the MDGs, the yearly financing gap of over 1 trillion Naira remained and will even be much higher now with the SDGs. What will be required are innovative approaches to financing the SDGs that will certainly leverage on both public, private and development partner resources.

The mobilization of additional public and private resources as well as the prioritization and efficiency of government expenditures will be key. We recognise that States have different fiscal capacities to implement key activities related to the SDGs but a careful design and implementation of a robust financing framework can turn the table.

We need to also build on the good techniques utilised for the MDGs such as the conditional grant scheme that connected the federal, State and local government systems in the implementation and financing of the MDGs. A lot of positive stories have been told about the conditional grant scheme especially by the local people and it will be good to upscale with Agenda 2030. A strategy that extends the benefit of social investments to the rural poor people, the marginalized and vulnerable groups will ensure that no one is really left behind.

The collaboration with development partners as obtained during the MDGs will also be important especially as many of the goals relate to their intervention focus. The technical and sometimes modest financial support of the development partners and donors in Nigeria will be key to unlock several bottlenecks that may arise during implementation.

The United Nations system has taken the lead and only recently developed two main tools; ‘Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS)’ and ‘Integrated Approaches for Sustainable Development (IASD), to help governments fast-track the rolling out of the SDGs. While MAPS’ support governments at both national and sub-national levels, mainstream and implement the SDGs, the IASD helps policy-makers address the complex inter-relationships underlying sustainable development. 

The MAPS will be presented in this retreat later today and will be a useful tool going forward. UNDP Nigeria is also completing a design of ‘Public Policy Options for Financing the SDGs in Nigeria’ which will be available soon for policy makers at the national and sub-national levels. We remain ready to provide any necessary technical support to the SDGs office at the federal and State levels.

The implementation of the SDGs at the national and sub-national plans cannot be done without timely and reliable data for planning, and regular monitoring of implementation. Since the SDGs present huge data requirements at the national and sub-national levels, Statistical Bureaus at both levels will require improvements in their data collection and reporting capabilities. Recently, UNDP in partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics, and the State Statistical Agencies commenced the production of an ‘SDGs Data Bond and Supply Responsibility Framework’, which requires written commitments of MDAs at the national and State levels to regularly collect data and report on key SDGs indicators. With a strong data collection system, Nigeria will be able to regularly report progress on the implementation of the SDGs.

Your Excellences, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as the lead UN agency mandated to eradicate poverty globally, at UNDP we will continue with our central role in supporting the government to achieve its long term development aspirations. We will support the implementation of relevant strategies and programmes of action for the quick and simultaneous roll out of the SDGs across all States in the country.

The commitment of the political authorities is however key to make this happen. The years 2030, is 14 years away, and failure to attain all the SDG targets, as was the case with the MDGs in the last 15 years is not an option. Remember that, unlike the MDGs, the SDGs mainly represent the development aspirations of citizens of developing countries (including millions of Nigerians). Failure to attain them may pose its own development and political ramifications not only for this country but for developing countries in general.

I wish you all success and fruitful deliberations for these two days’ retreat.

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