November 3, 2015

From MDGs to SDGs: meeting the new target

FOR a decade and a half, since 2000, Nigeria’s response towards the attainment of the eight international goals and 21 individual targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) has been the focal point of social and developmental agenda at local, state, and national levels.

The primary aim of the MDG’s is to encourage overall human development by improving social and economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries on a set 15-year timeline. An enthusiastic signatory to the MDG’s, Nigeria pursued the targets vigorously with emphasis on improving the social and economic conditions of the poorest Nigerians.

By utilising the principle of the right of every individual to dignity, freedom, equality, a basic standard of living that includes freedom from hunger and violence, Nigeria, like many of the other 188 signatory countries, produced moderate results. Nigeria’s achievement of the MDG targets is a mixed bag: while progress has been above average in some areas, it is less satisfactory in others.

Nigeria utilised the MDG framework to improve its relatively poor health indices such as reduction of maternal and child mortality, eradicating polio, reducing the spread of malaria and HIV/ AIDS, among others.

We are faced with the challenge of tackling a new development framework: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), which were set at this year’s UN General Assembly to mobilise the world towards confronting the many problems facing the people. These new 17 goals for sustainable development are to be met by the year 2030.

The MDG’s were meant to start a universal partnership towards tackling developmental challenges in the world’s least developed countries to achieve a global baseline by 2015. The SDG’s are meant to finish the work in 2030 by widening the scope of work needed to be done to promote conditions for sustainable human development such as peace building and overall improvement of the environment.

As Nigeria transits from the MDGs to the SDGs, government should provide political support and policy guidance. We must pay quality attention to measures that will promote peace and stability, bearing in mind that countries that are embroiled in conflicts always lag behind in sustainable development.

We must work harder to improve our education and health sectors. We are still far from attaining the MDG’s in these areas, with many of our well-to-do countrymen and women still streaming abroad for quality education and challenging healthcare issues.

It is also crucial that we pay more attention to issues of environmental protection because of issues of flooding, coastal erosion, desertification, gully erosion and massive deforestation, which threaten present and future of our country.

Meeting the targets of the MDG’s and SDG’s Agenda is panacea towards securing a better future for posterity.