Experts organized a dialogue to address SDGs challenges and opportunities

“Growth is important, but it must be sustainable and inclusive” says Ali Kemal, Chief SDGs, Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiative. He expressed his views during his speech at the National People’s Assembly that was organized by Awaz Foundation Pakistan, GCAP and Pakistan Development Alliance. He further expressed that this assembly provides a platform for diverse voices to unite and address the challenges and opportunities presented by the SDGs, fostering not just growth, but sustainable and equitable growth for Pakistan.”

This event aimed at fostering dialogue and engagement surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was also attended by reps of Ujala Network, Child Rights Movement (CRM), and many more, including a diverse range of stakeholders. These include civil society organizations (CSOs), NGOs, CBOs, political party representatives, media, academia, students, and advocates for marginalized groups, including women’s rights, sexual minorities, and human rights defenders.

“In the National People’s Assembly, civil society will unite from every corner of the world to address the pressing needs of SDGs. SDGs 16+ are all interconnected goals, from poverty alleviation to education, underscore the importance of inclusivity.” Says Mohammad Zia ur Rehman, CEO, Awaz Foundation.

Representatives of PWDs, Women, TGs, Children, and Young People expressed that “our diversity is our strength, and our unity is our progress. We advocate for a world where every voice matters, regardless of age, gender, or ability.”

The assembly not only emphasizes the importance of meaningful civil society engagement but also underscores the indispensable role of these organizations as defenders and promoters of human rights across Pakistan. It recognizes the government’s efforts in implementing SDGs, such as establishing Parliamentary Task Forces, SDGs Secretariats, and approving national and sub-national priority frameworks.

However, amidst these acknowledgments lies a sense of concern about the challenges, data gaps, and the pressing need for localization of SDGs, given the absence of functional local government bodies. The statement highlights the shrinking civic spaces, democracy and human rights risks, and socioeconomic challenges in Pakistan, emphasizing the urgency of an enabling policy environment and proper allocation of resources to achieve priority SDGs. In essence, the National People’s Assembly at the SDGs Mid-Point represents a collective effort to propel Pakistan towards a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive society, with diverse voices uniting to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the SDGs.

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