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Local and regional nexus in SDG progression trend

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AKM Asaduzzaman Patwary,

Research Fellow, Head of R&D, DCCI.

sdgsSDG 2030 is the globally inclusive socioeconomic development blueprint which outlined 17 specific goals with 169 targets and 200 plus indicators and Bangladesh, likewise other member countries, is required to comply with SDG. Private sector composed of large, SME Manufacturing, Trade, and Service is the Major catalyst in the socio economic development of Bangladesh. The contribution is incremental alongside the Public sector though Private sector outpaced public sector meanwhile. As a whole, private sector contribution is around 23 percent of GDP and is on constant rise.

The contribution of Private sector in terms of industrial, trade and economic impact have got greater role in national economy. To ascertain the contribution of Private sector in national perspective of socio economic development aligning SDG, initiative of maintaining specific and focused data record system of private sector is essential. As an environmentally vulnerable but promising private sector led economy private sector of Bangladesh is working hard for SDG management strategy in no time.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reported in 2017 on growing role for the private sector as Countries are increasingly acknowledging the significant role companies can play to help meet the SDGs. In their analysis of the 43 reports, 93% of the countries had consulted the private sector in reviewing their national strategy and progress on the SDGs, 68% recognized private investment as a crucial alternative means to complement public expenditure on the SDGs, and 43% of the reported efforts made by the countries to develop more public-private partnerships on SDG implementation.

As per PWC report, 71% of the worldwide business is planning how to deal with SDG challenges, 41% will adopt strategy in five years and 13% have identified tools and adopted for SDG impact assessment. UNCTAD estimates that developing countries will need between $3.3 trillion and $4.5 trillion a year. At current level of public and private investment there will be an annual financing gap of $2.5 trillion. Government of Bangladesh mentioned that around 73 percent of total SDG financing needs to be sourced by Private sector due to large stake of Private sector.

However, key challenges like Financial resource constraint both at public and private level, inadequate energy supply, inadequate technology, financing options, Expensive compliance and preparedness measures for eco-friendly business operation, Climate change vulnerability impact, Inadequate infrastructure facility, Higher cost-of-doing business, Weak regulatory business environment and Lack of institutional frame work may overshadow the potential opportunities for Business and Industries due to prevalent crises in Bangladesh.

For easing SDG achievement, we are required to see and assess the following government initiatives and address priority of regional cooperation. The following initiatives of government are to be witnessed and measured for SDG progression status in Bangladesh.

Since the ratification of SDG by Bangladesh, Government with the legacy of MDG took several timely and crucial efforts in association with all relevant stakeholders to promote the SDG agenda. As well as the regional cooperation is inevitable to further progress the SDG agenda. The remarkable moves are:  

  • Government of Bangladesh has endorsed and embedded SDG into the economic master plan of Bangladesh 7th five year plan for the period of 2015-2020 with the spirit of SDG.
    Government has mapped and identified key Government agencies and ministries with clear responsibilities to achieve SDG.
  • To better contextualize the SDG and map the indicators of SDG, A Handbook Mapping of Ministries by Targets in the implementation of SDGs has been formulated by the Government of Bangladesh with the philosophy of a ‘Whole Society Approach’, by Planning Commission in collaboration with United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRC). The mapping initiated to ensure private sector involvement in SDGs implementation process. The Government mapped as per the indicators and targets as Lead, Co-lead ministry and support ministry of Government to work with goal wise responsibilities.
  • VNR(Voluntary national Review), a reporting tool, is being followed by Bangladesh Government in order to view the progress, challenges and allow high level political forum to sight the SDG performance and the reporting of compliance of SDG indicators. Government has made it compulsory for all relevant and responsible ministries to work and periodically report on the indicators of each goal.
  • Bangladesh Government has made monitoring and evaluation framework to oversight the progress of SDG indicators till now.
  • Government has meanwhile estimated the financial resource requirement for mobilising internal and external resources and estimated amount is $928.48 billion and introduced innovative financing options through private and public sector engagement.
  • APA- Bangladesh has introduced Annual performance Assessment instrument, a result based performance management system across the whole spectrum of public sector agencies to assess the performance of respective institution and individuals involved in SDG implementation work.
  • SDG tracker was initiated to enable tracking Bangladesh’s progress towards attainment of SDGs and other national development goals through a web-based information repository.
  • To reduce data gap analysis of SDG indicators, National Statistics organization BBS and other support organisations have been involved in data mining and crunching to meet required need of database as Government has got data of only for 70 indicators.
  • National progress and private sector always maintain a healthy nexus. According to UNDP, the private sector accounts for 78% of the development work in Bangladesh so private sector is critical in attaining SDG.

Government can engage Private sector using some effective means such as:

  • In all mainstream policy level areas private sector can be involved as private sector have stake and incidence of all economic operations.
  • A Private Sector Task Force can be established to put forward integrated opinion to the government.
  • Utilization of PPD Platform to put forward right and appropriate mass views.
  • Private sector led Sustainable local and regional financing mechanism can be launched including new bond, regional fund accumulation. To secure 70% of SDG financing by private sector, all upcoming fiscal and non-fiscal policies especially Income tax, Vat and Export, Import, FDI Investment and Monetary policies are to be aligned with SDG.

 Regional Cooperation for accelerating SDG: 

  • Regional cooperation is a pertinent theme now and is assuming renewed significance. Regional cooperations agree to co-operate with each other to promote a set of well defined common causes, viz., to accelerate regional economic growth and development, remove barriers to cross-border trade and investment, reduce economic disparity, ensure political stability and peace in the region.
  • Regional blocs aims at creating synergy through better utilisation and redistribution of income, i.e. diverting resources from resource-surplus countries to resource-scarce countries through liberalisation of trade and investment and building infrastructure.

These initiatives are in progress regionally in line with SDG mobilization:

  • Regional transport connectivity like BBIN, BCIM economic corridor and OBOR silk Route, Bangladesh -ASEAN rail connectivity, Trans Asian highway initiatives are shaping up as these are critical enablers of boosting regional and sub-regional multilateral trade and Industrial growth resulting into massive employment generation, resource mobilization, new investment marking zero poverty and zero hunger.
  • Efforts are pursued to connectivity so that economic dividend and leverage are created regionally to benefit us and neighbouring countries considering infrastructure critical in achieving SDG goal 9 and facilitating other goals as well.
  • Bangladesh is also working to well function the regional cooperation of SAARC and trade cooperation SAFTA for building regional free trade hub benefiting and enabling eight member nations.
  • Bangladesh pursues, liaison BIMSTEC, SASEC and APTA to mobilise the regional leaders and members to explore the challenges and potentials to deal the SDG agenda at both Government and Business levels.
  • Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD) has been established by the governments of the region as the main forum to follow up and review at the regional level under the auspice of UNESCAP on a Regional Road Map for Implementing Sustainable Development Agenda in Asia and the Pacific for implementation through sharing of experiences and perspectives of multiple stakeholders and create opportunities for regional cooperation.
  • FTA,PTA agreements are influential vehicles negotiated and discussed with many friendly neighbours in Asia and other region by Bangladesh for export oriented industrialization, trade liberalization and business expansion which will tremendously help sustained economic growth and open up opportunities for new skill and industry innovation development and technology transfer across this region and expected to pave the way of inclusive SDG development with multiplier impacts.
  • Goal 7 of SDG-sustainable energy security for all spells out the access to electricity network for people across the world as 1 billion people are out of the electricity network and 2 billion have no access to reliable and substantial energy source. The regional energy and power hub across the energy and power intensive country can be linked to energy scarce countries to mitigate their crisis including Bangladesh. Regional cross border electricity power trade in South Asia progresses to meet the indigenous and regional demand of energy.
  • Regionally joint economic and business forums are formed between Bangladesh and neighboring countries that allow more regional integration, fraternity facilitating more shared economic attachment, enhance regional value chain and strengthen the regional market. Countries can easily share and overcome the resource shortage and utilise the maximum comparative and competitive economic advantages through B2B and G2G economic forums.

Bangladesh is lagging behind ranking 120 out of 157 countries in SDG performance having ‘red’ threshold on 10 of the 17 SDGs many countries, shown in a progress report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Its overall performance on the index was 56.2, lower than the regional South Asian average score of 63.3.

Since SDG is a shared and inclusive global socioeconomic prosperity agenda, countries are required to remain unified and engaged to share and retain mutual interests. With this spirit, Bangladesh is keen to pursue the regional trade, economic, cultural and people to people connectivity to accelerate the SDG.

We believe that the current course of actions and endeavors in terms of policy formulation, reform and structural change initiatives from our Government and innovative diplomatic and Business to business  efforts for regional cooperation can pursue some positive changes in entire socio economic context, solidify the base for regional acceleration momentum easing SDG achievement.

We know due to complex geopolitical and geo-economic interest, prolonged territorial crisis, regional harmony is severely harmed however for the SDG translation, countries in Asia  must keep differences aside upholding the greater interest of result oriented SDG and firmly way forward the SDG with spirit of–“Leaving no one behind”.