Nepal unlikely to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030

Stakeholders identify lack of proper plan of action and localized indicators along with insufficient budget allocation as major stumbling blocks to achieving the goals.

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Kathmandu: With less than 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global framework of development adopted by 193 countries in 2015, Nepal has made snail-paced progress toward achieving the goals, according to stakeholders.

In a program organized in Kathmandu on Monday, stakeholders shared that both internal and external factors are hindering the progress to reach the SDGs.

The goals have been hard to navigate due to covid crises, economic and geopolitical challenges and lack of efforts from the local levels, participants of the National Multistakeholder Forum on SDG Localization shared.

Ganesh Prasad Timilsina, chairperson of the National Assembly, the upper house, raised the issue of unfair budget distribution. “The budget distribution based on the discretion of the Ministry of Finance rather than the actual need will not help address the existing gap,” he said. He also suggested political parties include the SDG implementation in their manifesto and start resource allocation in line with the SDG goals.

Speaking at the program, member of the National Planning Commission Dr Ram Kumar Phuyal said “We tried to find out the estimated expenses to achieve SDGs, the result showed that we require to spend 2000 billion rupees every year. But our government budget is less than the required amount. So the government alone cannot achieve the SDGs. It requires coordination from private, cooperative and community sectors along with development partners.”

Local ownership is critically important as it acts as a bridge between the government and local people,” said Dhruba Prasad Deo, Senior Vice-President of the NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN).

To make SDGs 2030 success, it needs to be localized first as it is impossible to achieve the goals without implementing the agendas on the real grounds. The local government is the closest to the people. Yet, it is a pity that many newly elected local representatives are still alienated from or uninformed about the SDGs, the participants said.

The stakeholders admitted that SDGs have been limited to paper and the lack of concrete action plans to implement them at the grassroots level has hindered their progress. They admit that the SDGs 2030 mentions “What to do?” but lacks actual and factual answers to the question “who and how”.

According to Maya Timsina, member of the Policy and Planning Commission of Gandaki province, though the province is putting its efforts to achieve the goals on time, challenges galore. “The indicators of local levels are yet to be prepared. Lack of appropriate indicators in provinces and lack of fundamental and segregated data are the major challenges as of now,” she said.

Prahlad Lamichanne, member of the Policy and Planning Commision of Bagmati province, said that under SDG localization efforts, a provincial SDG baseline and roadmap has been prepared with the support of UNDP and SDG has been broadly integrated in the Provincial Periodic Plan. Yet there are some missing aspects, he said. “Lack of SDG based coding of policies and projects and lack of civil society engagement policy, among others, are two major missing aspects.”

He called for finding solutions to missing aspects which are crucial for the implementation of the SDGs.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the “2030 agenda for sustainable development” in September 2015. The SDGs set 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets including poverty eradication and guaranteeing sustainable development in nearly all sectors.

The program was organized by NGO Federation of Nepal, Nepal SDGs Forum and supported by TAP Network.