Senator Farhatullah Babar presented 17-point Action Plan for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while addressing Task Forces on SDGs in the Provincial parliaments at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS) held recently in Islamabad.
Addresing the Parliament, he informed that the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted unanimously by the UN member states is critical to transform the country from a security state to a welfare state as in Article 38 of the Constitution. Sustainable development is all about placing the human being at the centre of national discourse. All issues therefore whether population, environment, water scarcity, child and maternity deaths, stunted children, broken criminal justice system , right to information and freedom of expression are issues of sustainable development. The Parliamentary Task Forces have a historic opportunity to help transform Pakistan into a welfare state instead of driven by security paranoid, he said. The 17-point Action Plan envisages that provinces should set up SDG centres, launch mass awareness campaigns, adopt legislation to rationalize use of scarce water and incentivize local governments to implement the SDGs by increased allocations from provincial financial awards, he added.
He said that achievement of SDG targets may be made a criteria in the NFC Award and ministries of population and climate change be established in provinces besides adopting Climate Change Legislation to provide for strong Environmental Protection Councils. About prioritization he said that child health, stunted growth of almost half of children, reproductive health and millions of out of school children deserved the highest attention. The subject of population welfare and climate change be included in the curriculum of schools and colleges, he said adding also the overwhelming weight given to population in the NFC. Distribution of resources on the basis of population is a political statement to reward population explosion that runs counter to the spirit of sustainable development, he said. FATA, GB and AJK should also be included in the Award.
Pakistan he said was the 7 most affected countries due to climate change although it was at 135th in terms of contributing to global warming. A 100 billion dollars fund had been earmarked by the Paris Conference for climate impacted countries he said and called upon the provincial governments to develop appropriate projects to benefit from this fund. Issues in climate change, water scarcity and recurring floods are a shared challenge for India and Pakistan and called for including it in the composite dialogue. This might also help in breaking the stalemate and pave way for progress in other contentious areas between the two countries, he said.
A poor score card on 17 SDGs is a serious non-traditional threat to the security of the country he said. Nuclear and strategic weapons will not protect Pakistan from the threat posed by rampant poverty, widening disparity between rich and the poor, stunted children, exploding population, unemployed frustrated youth and a broken justice system, he said.