The SDP gauntlet for Bhutan from 2016-30

United Nations Development Program (UNDP)  held a meeting with different Civil Society Organization and Media houses in Bhutan on Thursday.

The meeting was focused mainly on fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals and new agendas. Bhutan has been identified as one of the priority countries in helping fulfill the SDG goals.

Nik Sekhran, Director for Sustainable Development in the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support., said UNDP is looking forward to work closely with Bhutan and other countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDGs will replace the MDGs and will cover all the dimensions of sustainable development. It is a universal goal that will apply to every nation and it will run from 2016-2030.

SDG agenda principles include universality, policy integration and no one left behind.

Universality implies goals and targets that are relevant to all governments and actors,

Policy integration would mean balancing all three dimensions such as social, economic growth and environmental protection in an integrated approach which implies managing trade-offs and maximizing synergies across targets.

The principle of ‘No one left behind’ advocates for countries to go beyond averages as the SDGs is to benefit all in eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities.

He said, “The challenges we face today is much broader and we must be ambitious for it concerns our future and so every Civil Society must come forward.”

He pointed out, that Bhutan being small country and focusing on just power projects and exporting it to a single country is a very vulnerable and so economic diversification needed.

To transit from MDGs to the SDGs, UNDP has laid down two parallel processes. The UNDP earlier put in strong focus on social dimension and now the focus is on completing the unfinished business of the MDGs like sanitation, gender, Education, Hunger and malnutrition in the post-2015 agenda.

Earlier the Sustainable Development Track focused on environmental sustainability and the post- 2015 agenda aims to revisit sustainable development with an integrated and balanced view.

In 2000, the world committed to cutting the number of people living in extreme poverty by half in 15 years and has met this goal. “However, more than 800 million people around the world still live on less than $ 1.25 a day, which is equivalent to the entire population of Europe living in extreme poverty and now it is time to build on what the world learned and end poverty altogether,” he said.

Tackling the unfinished business of the MDGs remains a major challenge and so the UNDP has put forward completing the unfinished business of the MDGs as a high priority.

The Director of SDGs highlighted the crucial role that the Civil Society and media can play in advocating the SDG agenda.

The Civil Society and media can help to socialize the SDGs, support the government at national and local levels, ensure that every single Bhutanese is able to understand about the 5Ps (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership’s) through national campaigns.

He said CSOs and the media can mobilize communities across different sectors like health, education, agriculture, different geographic areas and professions. It would also involve leveraging existing technologies through social media such as twitter, online tools, chats, facebook and traditional media.

The new sets of SDG goals aims to end poverty and hunger by 2030.

“How can we use the SDGs to keep the momentum, how to manage the transition from the MDG framework, how can we develop simple and inspiring narratives to convey such a complex and holistic agenda, what opportunities are there for multi-stakeholder partnership around development communications and how can we engage relevant groups in our society to achieve Bhutan’s 2020 vision for peace, prosperity and happiness remains the major questions,” he said.

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