ECA to mainstream Sustainable Development Goals in national development

Prof Sylvain Boko, Head, Development Planning and Statistics Cluster, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said mainstreaming all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into a country’ s national development plan is a challenge.

Boko said  that SDGs were usually mainstreamed within the specific context of each country.

He spoke on the sideline of the 5th Session of the High Level Policy Dialogue on Development Planning in Africa held in Abuja.

According to Boko, each country has to be able to align the SDGs to its own national priorities and for them to do so, it is a challenge.

This is because you cannot take all the 17 goals , 169 targets of SDGs and i think abut 230 indicators of the SDGs and put into your national planning.”

“And so because you cannot take all of that wholesale and just input into your planning, you have to be able to go through a process of prioritisation and even contextualisation.”

“For example, if you are a land lock country, there is an SDG that has to do with ocean but that may not be your first priority.”

“You may not be concerned with that right away, as there may be some indirect impact you will want to find solutions to immediately.”

“If you are just coming out of conflict or you have just gone through natural disaster, or Ebola, like the case of Liberia which has known both actually.’

Then your priority probably will be to first ensure that people are in peace, there is security, they are having education and health as well as growth.”

“So each country needs to prioritise and that is a challenge.’’

Boko said another challenge of mainstreaming the SDGs had to do with the capacity of the various countries to actually be able to mainstream.

He said some countries like Nigeria for instance obviously had abundance of educated and capable people and may not find it difficult unlike countries which do not have the capacity.

According to him, another challenge that is common is the availability of reliable data.

That is, a data that is reliable, that is robust, that can actually be used to measure progress and that is a recurrent issue.”

“The last one I will talk about is financing.”

“Many countries are complaining that yes we signed up to this, but the first of the SDG says, eradicate poverty, and the second says no hunger and you cannot do that cheaply”.

“You have to find the resources, the means to be able to afford the type of programmes and the type of activities that would contribute to achieving those type of goals,’’ he said.