Ministries to identify nationally appropriate SDG targets | Daily News

Ministries to identify nationally appropriate SDG targets

As the apex body created by law to ensure Sri Lanka’s achievement of the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Council (SDC) of Sri Lanka recently called on all ministries to identify nationally appropriate SDG targets. A letter under the signature of its Chairman, Secretary to the Treasury Mahinda Siriwardhane was sent to all ministries requesting them to place urgent attention to this matter.

With the endorsement of the 2030 Agenda on SDGs at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, Sri Lanka has taken several progressive measures to achieve the SDGs. However, the current economic downturn is likely to have far-reaching impacts on Sri Lanka’s ability to achieve the SDGs and there is a real threat of reversal of Sri Lanka’s SDG progress made so far, a release issued by the Sustainable Development Council said.

According to the 2019 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) carried out by the Department of Census and Statistics (the latest official data available), the proportion of population living below the national poverty line has increased to 14.3% in 2019 from that of 4.1% in 2016. The country has also seen rising levels of malnutrition, particularly among children.

The Inter-ministerial Steering Committee on SDGs under the leadership of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunwardena that met in October last year observed that national SDG targets would be critical to direct planning and resources towards the SDGs, identify strategies and partnerships as well as to monitor and evaluate progress in order to ensure that Sri Lanka remains on track to achieving the SDGs by the target year 2030.

The Sustainable Development Council has prepared a Framework for SDG target setting that could guide the ministries in this exercise using a methodology proposed by the United Nations ESCAP that adopts a “standard and evidence-based approach” for setting realistic and challenging targets, based on official statistics on past trends and current achievement levels, future perspectives on existing budgets and financing constraints, operational challenges and political realities. The process of national SDG target setting across several sectors has been made easier given the considerable progress made by the Sustainable Development Council in mapping and validating baseline data for nearly 115 SDG indicators since 2020.

It is believed that this initiative will strategically align Government development programmes with SDGs priorities to be on par with regional top-performing countries in SDGs implementation.



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