Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday, acknowledged that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic had threatened to derail the progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He spoke Friday at the virtual inaugural SDGs Moment, convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during the high-level week of the 75th UN General Assembly.
President Buhari, however assured that Nigeria is addressing the threat by re-dedicating efforts towards economic diversification, focusing on agriculture and the mining sectors.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of a UN Resolution called “The 2030 Agenda”.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari told the UN audience in a video message that Nigeria will engage the services of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members across the country and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Ambassadors to champion the implementation of SDGs 2030 at the grassroots.
President Buhari provided an update on SDG progress in the country, setting out Nigeria’s vision for the next decade in fighting poverty, combating illicit financial flows and ensuring economic recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “Our National Assembly has established Committees on Sustainable Development Goals.
”The National Youth Service Corps Scheme is also ensuring that Nigerian graduates actively participate in SDGs implementation processes by serving as SDGs champions at the grassroots.
”Going forward, we will invigorate the Goal achievement process at the grassroots by engaging the services of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals Ambassadors we appointed to support our efforts at the national level.
”We will also encourage more sub-national authorities to appoint and train SDGs Champions,” he said.
Re-affirming Nigeria’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other Internationally Agreed Development Goals, President Buhari told the meeting that anti-corruption institutions have been strengthened to enable the administration effectively combat illicit financial flows and recover proceeds.
Speaking on efforts to domesticate the SGDs, Buhari said: “Nigeria has made good strides in SDGs domestication processes, as we have commenced the re-alignment of the National Statistical System with the requirements and indicators of the SDGs.
“We have developed a novel home-grown ‘Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Model, as an analytical framework for assessing how policy making can better address the indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.
”Nigeria has also set up a Model Private Sector Advisory Group and an SDGs Donors’ Forum with a view to engaging critical stakeholders towards the attainment of the SDGs.”
The President recalled that Nigeria presented its second Voluntary National Review on SDGs to the UN High-Level Political Forum in July 2020.
According to the President, ”the second Voluntary National Review highlighted our efforts to meet SDGs targets on the critical issues of poverty and an inclusive economy; health and well-being; education and gender equality; enabling environment of peace and security; and partnerships.”
He noted that these targets were based on current development priorities, as captured in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020), as well as the Medium Term National Development Plan (2020-2025).
The President also used the occasion of his address to pledge Nigeria’s commitment to mainstreaming the SDGs into subsequent development plans.
Setting out Nigeria’s vision for the Decade of Action, the President pledged that the country will implement unique initiatives such as the re-aligned National Statistical System to effectively track and monitor the implementation of the SDGs on annual basis.
”The Nigeria Integrated SDG simulation Model to support the domestication of the Planning Model across the 36 states; the Integrated National Financing Frameworks for SDGs; the scaled-up National Social Investment Programme to reach more poor and vulnerable Nigerians in line with our commitment to lift 100 Million people out of Poverty within a 10-year period; and the engaging of all segments of the society for the achievement of the SDGs,” he said.