Achieving Agenda 2030 - linking the goals to policies, plans and budgets

Mar 26, 2018

Meeting the targets under the 17 goals requires smart investments so that no one is left behind (Photo, UNDP Nigeria/Lucky Musonda)

Since signing up to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda in September 2015, the Government of Nigeria has taken several steps aimed at ensuring that the country commences implementation in time, but also has a good foundation for planning, partnerships, and reporting. Like most countries, Nigeria faced the challenge of turning the aspirations embedded in Agenda 2030 into actual development plans. Meeting the targets under the 17 goals requires, among other things, employing strategies that ensures that resource allocation to priority areas is smart and efficient.

To achieve this, Nigeria is in the process of customizing the integrated Sustainable Development Goals (iSDGs) policy simulation model, as an addition to the existing family planning tools. The iSDG model has been developed in order to enable policy makers and planning officials at all levels of governance to understand the interconnectedness of policies designed to achieve the SDGs and test their likely impacts before adopting them. The model simulates the fundamental trends for SDGs until 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario, and supports the analysis of relevant alternative scenarios.

During the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially between 2006 and 2015, the application of the Paris Club Debt Relief Funds (DRF) in financing the Conditional Grant Scheme (CGS) between the Federal and State Government provided a good opportunity for a paradigm shift in the country’s policy formulation and development planning, as well its budgeting processes, notes Bartholomew T. Feese, who is the national coordinator for Nigeria's SDGs needs assessment and costing exercise. "The introduction of rigorous Needs Assessment and Costing of projects and programmes as a basic requirement for preparing a local development plan led to improved budget performance, averaging 98% over this period, against the usual less than 50%," Feese added.

This approach ensured a closer budget-plan link and stimulated better collaboration between the national and sub-national levels of government. The modest gains of the CGS point to a good model that should be implemented at scale during the implementation of an even more ambitious agenda with far-reaching goals, the SDGs.   

Through a partnership the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs), the Ministry of Budget and National Planning (MBNP) and UNDP in Nigeria, the iSDGs model is being customized for use in long term planning and scenario analysis in the country.

As iSDG is structured to analyze medium-long term development issues at the nationwide level, its successful application will help in achieving policy coherence by aligning national plans and budgets, and strengthen collaboration between the various tiers of government (Federal, State and Local Government) towards improved budget implementation for better delivery of public services.

The iSDGs model is being used in Nigeria to construct scenarios for;

  1. Doing business as usual (no change in policy implementation);
  2. Implementing the government’s on-going Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, and
  3. Reaching the SDG targets by 2030.

The analysis of the cost implications and the impacts/benefits of implementing these policy options will give policy makers and development practitioners a good insight into Nigeria’s best strategic policy choices and development pathways. It will also provide a good basis and the required milestones for tracking the progress of the implementation of these policies at all tiers of government.

The iSDG model will be used alongside the static costing model like the Excel-based intervention models (also used in MDGs Needs Assessment). Although static costing models miss out on these inter-sectoral synergies, invariably leading to double, they provide a good tool for programming of expenditures in the budget, and are useful for short and medium-term planning - in budgets and mid-term sector strategies. The iSDGs model is better used for long term planning.

Efforts are underway to train officials from government and policy analysts who will drive the process and ultimately conduct regular updates of the model in response to changing circumstances. They will also support efforts aimed at rolling out the process to the sub-national level.


Head, Communication

Lucky Musonda

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