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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

SDGs: Is Pakistan doing better than its neighbors?

According to Muhammad Ahmad Khan, who has served as a Junior Researcher at SDGs Pakistan, the country's SDG progress is commendable and it is all due to the current government's efforts which is working hard as compared to its predecessors.

Every nation’s dream is to have social development, technological advancement, no poverty, gender equality, good nutrition for the citizens, and basic human rights, but inequalities persist in the international world.

States’ resources are unequal due to which they somehow lack in achieving these goals and are discordant in their scores in the SDGs index. Pakistan is also among those countries that are striving hard to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but the lack of resources and several other constraints like the technological gap has caused its lagging behind.

Read more: Sustainable Development Goals: Pakistan’s peculiar challenges

However, the government of Pakistan is arduously scrambling to achieve the SDGs. The initiatives taken by the government of Pakistan are worth appreciation for because of the achievement it has gleaned. As far as its performance relative to other South Asian countries is concerned, though it’s working quite hard, juxtaposition unearths its lagging.

Pakistan’s successful efforts

Looking at the official data provided by the SDGs unit working under the Parliament, it reveals that Pakistan is the only country in the world to adopt SDGs as its National Development Goals.

National Assembly Resolution in 2016 prioritized the SDGs in Pakistan. Several political reforms are formulated, and policy actions are taken by Pakistan’s government to achieve the targets set for the SDGs accomplishment by 2030. The government of Pakistan has formulated policies for almost all the SDGs.

Read more: Telenor makes a contribution to Sustainable Development Goals- Agenda 2030

Let’s first have a look at what policy measure Pakistan has taken under the recent government for sustainable development, and how much these policies have been achieved.

Under SDG 1, the government has formulated 3 laws, under 2nd there are three laws, under 3rd four laws, under 4th two laws, under 5th four laws, under 7th one law, under 8th seven laws, under 9th two laws, under 10th three laws, under 11th two laws, under 13th two laws, under 15th three laws, under 16th three laws, and under the 17th SDG there are two laws.

These legislations have been implemented and have achieved considerable targets. The population percentage below the poverty line has decreased from 29.5% in 2014/14 to 24.3% in 2016. Prevalence of stunting and malnutrition has also decreased from 44.8% to 37.6% and 11% to 7% respectively.

Development in health and well-being has also been achieved. Women empowerment can be observed as in 2013/14 there were 2.7% women in managerial positions while in 2015 it increased to 4.8%.

Read more: Women’s empowerment- choose to challenge

The government is also trying to provide clean energy to the larger population. Annual GDP per capita has increased from 1.03% in 2014/15 to 2.82% in 2017/18. The unemployment rate has decreased from 5.94% to 5.79%.

The foreign Direct Investment for the execution of these goals has also increased from 3.2% to 4.1% proportionately to the domestic budget. Last but not the least, for climate protection different initiative like Billion Tree Tsunami is under action but the result will be observed later.

Read more: Pakistan’s exports increase in double numbers in last ten months!

Pakistan working hard

These are some policy measures Pakistan has taken but if the global index for SDGs is analyzed it reveals the South Asian countries, such as Bhutan, are at number 80 with 69.27 scores, the Maldives at 91 with 67.59 scores, Sri Lanka at 94 with 66.88 scores, Nepal at 96 with 65.93 scores, Bangladesh at 109 with 63.51 scores, India at 117 with 61.92 scores, Pakistan at 134 with 56.17 scores and Afghanistan at 139 with 54.22 scores.

Around Pakistan neighbors, only Afghanistan is lagging in SDGs accomplishment, while all others are progressing befittingly, especially the Maldives. So, according to expert analysis, Pakistan is working hard as compared to previous governments.

Read more: Pakistan’s poverty alleviation, achievement of SDGs govt’s priorities: FM

Effective policies have been formulated and acted upon, but as far as its comparison with its neighbors is concerned it will take much time to cross them on the SDGs index. As Pakistan is the only country to securitize SDGs as National Development Goals, hence the results can bring Pakistan to a much better position compared to its neighbors.

Pakistan is facing issues in achieving these goals due to the lack of resources and the technological gap with other domestic concerns, but hopefully, when the economy will be better with time, the SDGs will be much effectively accomplished.

The author is the sub-editor of Strategic Times Magazine, covering Asian affairs in particular. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.