The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to The President On Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs) at the 2020 media retreat organized by the Office for Media Organizations & Journalists on the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria, streamlined its achievements as regard to the Implementation of the 2030 agenda in Nigeria.
The senior technical adviser to the SSAP-SDGs, Dr. Bala Yusuf Yunusa who presented the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria; achievement and challenges, gave an overview of the SDGs Nigeria.
Dr. Bala while dishing out the overview of the SDGs to the media, said; “Our overarching goal here is to constructively engage with you and in the process highlight some of the progress made, as well as the challenges, in the overall implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Nigeria. It is therefore gladdening the see the quality of participants and look forward to a robust discussion on how best we can work closely together to advance the 2030 Agenda in Nigeria.”
He said; “Indeed, it is a little over five years since President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, joined other World Leaders during the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2015 to adopt the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development envision a present and a future that is economically sustainable, social inclusive and environmentally resilient. The 17 SDGs are a universal call to end poverty, safeguard the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by the year 2030.”
The Federal Government and the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have since established institutional mechanisms to support effective implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria. The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs (OSSAP-SDGs) was established in January 2016 to provide horizontal and vertical inter-governmental coordination; multi-stakeholders’ partnership and resource mobilization; as well as robust advocacy and communications for the SDGs in Nigeria.
The challenges we face in our efforts to achieve the SDGs are numerous, complex and multi-faceted. Nevertheless, with all stakeholders working together and in synergy – as exemplified in what we are doing here, we will certainly overcome. Between 2016 to date, a number of strategic initiatives have been implemented and some still ongoing. Some of these strategic initiatives include, but not limited to;
- i) The Development of a Country Transition Strategy – From MDGs to SDGs – 2016;
- ii) SDGs Data Mapping and the Publication of Nigeria SDGs-Indicators Baseline Report -2017;
iii) Integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the SDGs into the Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020;
- iv) Domestication and Customisation of the Nigeria Integrated Sustainable Development Goals (iSDGs) Policy Simulation Model -2019;
- v) Ongoing Re-alignment of the National Statistic System (NSS) with the requirements and Indicators of the SDGs – to be completed by March 2020;
- vi) Commenced the design and implementation of the Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) for the SDGs; and
vii) Commenced the process for Independent evaluation of priority SDGs – SDGs 1; 3 and 4 in January 2019.
viii) Nigeria presented its 1st and 2nd Voluntary National Review (VNR) to the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
Nigeria’s 2020 Voluntary National Review (VNR) focused on seven priority reporting SDGs – 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 16 and 17. This prioritization was based on our national development priorities as embedded in the Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020 and the three cardinal objectives of President Buhari’s administration – economy, security and fight against corruption.
Unfortunately, just as we commenced the ‘Decade of Action’ for the SDGs in January 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic across the world has now challenged the prospects of achieving the SDGs. Indeed, beyond the health hazards and human consequences of the pandemic, the socio-economic uncertainties and disruptions come at a substantial cost to the Nigerian economy – which is largely dependent on oil and gas revenues.
However, it is gladdening that the fiscal and monetary authorities took unprecedented measures to prevent the economy from going into a turmoil. Government’s overarching objective was to restore stability to the economy by providing assistance to individuals, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and businesses that had been severely affected by the pandemic, as well as by the lockdown measures. Some of the measures the Government took include;
- Creation of N100 billion target credit facility for affected households and small and medium enterprises through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank;
- Creation of a N100 billion intervention fund in loans to pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners intending to expand and strengthen the capacity of our healthcare institutions;
iii. Creation of a research fund, which is designed to support the development of vaccines in Nigeria.
- A N1trillion facility in loans to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors;
It is therefore pertinent for the Media practitioners to work collaboratively in support of the SDGs in this ‘Decade of Action’ for the Global Goals. By your training, you have the capacity to engage actively with the public and private sectors towards the achievement of the SDGs in Nigeria. Recall that SDG-16, which aims to ‘Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’ succinctly captures the strategic roles of Journalists. Specifically, SDG-16.10 provides that countries should ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.
I am glad that we would be interacting to discuss these crucial issues today and way forward. As you deliberate, please do remember that you are part of a larger team committed to the transformative promise to lift humanity and ‘leave no one behind’. As I conclude, let me re-affirm my personal commitment to the successful implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria. You can count on my support as we navigate the ‘Decade of Action’ for the Global Goals.