The Government of Pakistan emphasized poverty alleviation remains a key focus for the country.
SDG Support Units have strengthened Pakistan’s institutional readiness to implement the SDGs.
The Government of Pakistan plans to scale up SDG implementation through a multi-stakeholder approach based on increasing transparency, enhancing finance and leveraging technology.
30 May 2019: Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform (PD&R) hosted a national conference to share key findings and highlights from Pakistan’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) of SDG implementation. Pakistan is one of 47 countries presenting its VNR during the July 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).
The conference convened on 30 May 2019, in Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan’s Parliamentary Secretary Kanwal Shauzab, who chaired the meeting, provided the key findings of Pakistan’s review. She emphasized interlinkages across the 17 SDGs, saying the Goals have a cross-cutting nature that requires coordinated implementation. She highlighted Pakistan’s SDG Support Unit, which she said has enhanced the country’s preparedness to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and she noted the participation of all stakeholders.
The Government’s VNR highlights its ambition to eliminate poverty, emphasizing that poverty alleviation remains a key focus for the country. As part of its efforts to achieve SDG 1 (no poverty), the Government of Pakistan has established an ‘Ehsas’ (Compassion) programme to expand social protection and safety nets and support the development of human capital throughout the country. Under this programme, the Government has announced plans to double the amount for social protection in its next budget. In addition, Pakistan is updating its National Socioeconomic Registry to more effectively target the poorest people and ensure that no one is left behind, in line with SDG 10 (reduced inequalities).
Participants discussed how seven SDG Support Units at federal and provincial government levels facilitate horizontal and vertical coordination among government and other stakeholders. To improve such coordination, the Federal SDGs Support Unit has coordinated conferences and seminars at both the national and provincial level. Speakers underscored the importance of these SDG Support Units in strengthening Pakistan’s institutional readiness to implement the SDGs. The Government plans to scale up SDG implementation through a multi-stakeholder approach based on increasing transparency, enhancing finance and leveraging technology.
Pakistan’s VNR reports that it was the first country to integrate the SDGs into its national agenda.
The key messages of its report, submitted by the Government of Pakistan to the UN’s VNR database, focus on: the country’s political commitment, institutional readiness and partnerships; plans to alleviate poverty; commitment to eliminating hunger and improving health; action on environmental protection and climate change; and monitoring and evaluation. The document reports that in February 2016, Pakistan integrated the SDGs into its national agenda, making it the first country to take such action. To address stunting and malnutrition, Pakistan is increasing its allocation of resources and focusing on eliminating hunger. Pakistan also launched a universal health coverage (UHC) initiative, the ‘Sehat Sahulat Program,’ to provide health insurance coverage for those in need.
On the environment and climate change, the key messages describe efforts to protect the environment and tackle climate change through both adaptation and mitigation actions. Pakistan surpassed its commitment under the Bonn Challenge through its Billion Tree plantation, which is over 350,000 hectares, and has scaled up the commitment to a five-year, country-wide tree plantation drive, known as the ’10 Billion Tree Tsunami,’ to restore forests and mitigate climate change. Pakistan launched the Clean and Green Pakistan and the Recharge Pakistan program as part of its efforts to improve biodiversity, take climate action and support livelihoods.
Pakistan’s VNR will be one of 16 from the Asia-Pacific region, which are summarized here. In addition, four countries from the Eastern European Group (EEG), six from the Western European and Other States Group (WEOG), 17 from Africa and four from Latin America and the Caribbean will present VNRs in July 2019. Nine of the presenting countries in 2019 are SIDS. [Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform Website] [Twitter feed of PD&R ministry]