One of the main outcomes from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012 was international agreement to negotiate a new set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the path of sustainable development in the world after 2015.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are intended to be universal in the sense of embodying a universally shared common global vision of progress towards a safe, just, egalitarian and sustainable space for all human beings to thrive on the planet.
The different goals and targets will however represent different degrees of challenge and ambition for different countries depending on their present state of development and other national circumstances.
Social problems of poverty, health, education and gender issues are still prevalent in developing countries as are all the other issues covered by the SDGs. And the universal applicability of the SDGs stresses the need to continue to confront all of these issues comprehensively in all countries.
Situation reports suggests that these are areas to which developing countries will need to give particular attention as they come up with country specific strategies and plans for implementing the SDGs within their own countries, and where business and policy-making as usual is most likely to fall short of what is needed. The elaboration of these goals and their targets, indicators and a strong implementation program for them should be seen as a central challenge for the developing world embodied in the SDG framework.
Data from the United Nations shows that 836 million people live in extreme poverty and suffer from hunger, which translates to about 70% the world population and 80% of the Nigerian population. A good number of Nigerian populations live on less than $1.25 a day. Committing policy and action towards tackling and eradicating this menace will go a long way in eradicating extreme poverty which will have an exponential multiplier effect in the attainment of the other goals.
Hunger is prevalent in developing countries. Developing countries are synonymous with hunger and deprivation and these are stereotypes which have to be tackled. Developing countries tend to have malnourished children due to lack of responsible and impact focused planning for the well being of children. Purchasing power of the populace ought to be increased to ensure that every one can afford the basic necessities of life.
Clean water and sanitation is another transformational challenge for developing countries. The fact that it is a physiological need, a structural amenity which the teeming populaces in rural and urban communities of developing countries do not benefit from. This has led to emergence of avoidable and morbid diseases as cholera, typhoid, malaria among other sanitation based diseases. Policy and action ought to be geared towards the attainment of this lofty goal.
Peace and justice is also fundamental and transformative given the precarious nature of the socio-political polity in developing countries. For any development to happen or occur, peace and justices are a presupposed given. In Nigeria for instance political insurgency –kidnapping, militancy among others are threats to the establishment and enthronement to positive and sustainable development. The fast eroding trust in the judiciary- the hope of the common man is equally a cause for worry.
The other goals such as gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, inclusive and equitable education, economic growth, affordable and sustainable energy, resilient infrastructure, reduction of inequality, responsible production and consumption, safe and sustainable human settlements, climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and enduring partnerships are equally important for developing countries.
The SDGs has a conceptual framework such that progress can be monitored in real time through its 230 indicators and 169 targets. Governments the world over are obliged to duly monitor and mark progress at base-line, mid-line and at end-line. This will help to identify and understand the areas of strength, weakness, opportunities and threats within the time frame of this lofty goal project. Be that as it may, the Nigerian government is obliged to come up with adaptive and proactive mechanisms to ensure the attainment of these goals across the country with a participatory and inclusive culture that ultimately aims at leaving no one behind.
Tackling all these goals in Nigeria, especially extreme poverty eradication, provision of clean water and environmental sanitation and peace and justice are fundamental given that their exponential transformative and multiplier effect is sine qua non to the attainment and achievement of the other goals.
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