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SDGs: UNDP advises Nigeria to prioritise poverty reduction, 4 others

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Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016
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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has urged Nigeria to select and implement five priority areas out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to fast-track development in the country.

The Country Director of Programme in Nigeria, Dr Pa-Lamin Beyai, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Beyai identified the five priority areas as poverty reduction, gender equality, education, health, and climate change.

“I think number one on Nigeria’s agenda should be poverty. How do we take along those people, who have been left behind by the growth process.

“Number two, I will look at gender equality for Nigeria. We have seen it even from the last election that the proportion of females within the National Assembly has gone down.

“Out of 36 or 37 (states), we should have a female governor, we don’t have.

“The third and fourth for me will be education and health (respectively).

“Education in the sense that good education can drive better health since you are more aware of your situation, you can better take health information as and when they come.

“Also, for mothers, you can plan better not to miss your anti-natal visits.’’

The country director, who stated that no country has all the resources needed to realise the 17 goals, stressed the need for Nigeria to focus on specific areas to speed-up development.

“SDGs in totality is a menu, which caters for the needs of every country – developed and developing.

“The menu is there for choosing so you choose what is relevant to your development situation, your aspirations and work on them.

“You cannot take all the 17 goals.

“Even if you take all of them, you will not have the resources to implement them, hence you prioritise and focus on those that are relevant.’’

Beyai emphasised the need to continuously monitor the progress of SDGs using reliable data.

He said that UNDP had been supporting the National Bureau of Statistics to build the capacity of statisticians across the country to provide reliable data for the measurement of the progress of SDGs.

“This is one of the lessons learnt from the MDGs that statistics is a necessity for monitoring.

“We are working with NBS by the time implementation starts fully; we should have statistics to monitor progress at Federal and State levels.

“These are people responsible for providing statistics and we need to sensitise them and put in place mechanism to get reliable statistics for ease of monitoring.’’

NAN reports that SDGs menu, which implementation began on Jan. 1, 2016, was anchored on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that ended on Dec. 31, 2015.

The SDGs menu, consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets, is expected to wipe out poverty, address inequality, and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.

The menu is also expected to address the three issues of sustainable development, namely: social dimension, economic dimension, and the environmental dimension.

It is also designed to tackle issues of peace, justice, and effectiveness of relevant institutions as well as wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.

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