Everyone at every level has a role to play in achieving Agenda 2030 and 17 SDGs. Since the adoption of Agenda 2030 by Government of Sindh in 2016, and the establishment of SDGs Support Unit Sindh in 2017 in collaboration with P&D Board, and UNDP Pakistan, multiple stakeholders have been actively contributing and playing their due role in localization of this global agenda, gradually fostering an enabling environment to achieve 17 SDGs and make Agenda 2030 a local reality. The role of parliamentarians and politicians, as publicly-elected agents, representing voice of the common man, has been globally recognized as fundamental to the achievement of Agenda 2030. Because of their strategic foothold in the government, dialogue and debate led by the parliamentarians goes a long way, in mainstreaming and accelerating action plans on SDGs. In Sindh, parliamentarians and politicians have been engaged through a Provincial Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs since 2016, to lead dialogue and make strategic efforts that can aid in design and implementation of reforms, approaches, action plans, etc. addressing issues tied to Agenda 2030 in Sindh.
The Provincial Parliamentary Task Force for SDGs was first established in the Provincial Assembly in July 2016, with Mr. Pir Mujeeb-ul-Haq as the convener. The Task Force held multiple meetings and engaged 11 members of the Provincial Assembly in critical and strategic debate on key development issues that Sindh faces that SDGs can help to address. With the establishment of the new provincial government, the Provincial Parliamentary Task Force has been re-constituted in April this year, with a profound agenda and a clear focus on making SDGs a reality.
It has been mandated to review progress on implementation on SDGs, sensitize parliamentarians on Agenda 2030, ensure availability and commitment of resources for achieving the SDGs, and oversee the allocation and utilization of funds by the Federal as well as Provincial Government and international donors for SDGs to the province. In the meetings held thus far, the Task Force has refined its planned activities. It has proposed to move a resolution in the Provincial Assembly on SDG Agenda in light of the one passed in National Assembly and a separate resolution to establish district-level SDG committees. Moving forward, the Parliamentary Task Force will define roles and responsibilities of members within thematic clusters to increase focus on priority SDGs.
In the discussions held by parliamentarians, it has been realized that mapping and tracking of allocation, expenditures, and releases according to the SDGs is of crucial importance. While Government of Sindh has made concerted efforts to map ADP schemes 2016-2019 with SDGs at the Goal level, efforts are also being made to map the recurrent budget with SDGs at target and indicator level, which can help parliamentarians make informed decisions.
The convener has stressed that the successful implementation of SDGs requires establishing phase-wise priorities and setting of realistic targets. Recently, at a High-Level Policy Dialogue on SDGs held in Karachi, Pir Mujeeb stressed on the role of parliamentarians to achieve SDGs: “Parliaments must make sure that implementation is on track and can be recalibrated in light of evidence and public feedback. In the future, it is hoped that mapping will help parliamentarians to make informed decision regarding alignment and allocation of domestic resources to achieve SDGs in Sindh”.
With their active interest and strategic engagement, we can hope that Parliamentarians can bring the much-needed transformational change and accelerate progress towards localization of Agenda 2030 in Sindh, and attainment of priority goals/targets.