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In September 2015, the United Nations will adopt Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are going to expire this year. SDGs are a universal set of goals, targets and indicators that all UN member states are expected to use to frame their development agendas and socio-economic policies during 2015-2030 so that a sustainable world is realized. After the agreement on SDGs in September 2015, a detailed work will be carried out on global and national indicators. The development of indicators will continue till March 2016 when the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDGs (IAEG-SDGs) is likely to adopt SDG indicators. The contribution from the member states and the development community will be most important and influential around these indicators.

SDGs are much broader in scope than outgoing MDGs. One of the strengths of the SDG framework is its recognition of the direct linkages among human well-being, economic development and a healthy environment. The proposed framework suggests that countries, in addition to adopting and measuring global indicators, will need to develop complementary national indicators. Since SDGs advocate a wider participation of all stakeholders in the process, the monitoring architecture at national level will require substantial work in the countries where data gaps are huge and monitoring capacities are low.

LEAD foresees that translating the ambition and the multifaceted and intertwined SDGs agenda into a workable action plan at the national level will be a huge challenge. Pakistan cannot lose time as the delay would be much costlier as it was in the case of MDGs. Therefore, LEAD Pakistan has planned to systematically track Pakistan’s progress on SDGs and inform policy making and actions at the national level through research, dialogue and public policy engagement activities. The national ownership at all levels will be ensured at all levels and the government will be facilitated in the process of developing nationally defined sets of indicators that are best suited to Pakistan’s national priorities and needs.

LEAD Pakistan has formed a specialized team to undertake analytical work on translating SDGs into a national framework and policy coherence, implementation, and monitoring of new global goals. The analytical and engagement work has been started well in advance to sensitize Government of Pakistan and other stakeholders on the ongoing international negotiations on SDGs and its potential implications for the country. A flyer on SDGs containing an analysis of the proposed framework has been prepared and disseminated using infographics. The objective is to shape an appropriate and progressive national response on the proposed SDGS before these are officially adopted.

LEAD is engaging and sensitizing law-makers on SDGs and a joint meeting of the Standing Committee on Climate Change and Prime Minister’s Task Force on SDGs was convened at the Parliament House in Islamabad on June 23, 2015. The forum was briefed on the status of international negotiations on SDGs and its linkages with the climate change negotiations and its importance for Pakistan. The participants were also apprised on the linkages between climate change and sustainable development goals and the need to go for an ambitious international treaty which could help in restricting global temperature increase by 2oC. A dedicated web-page has also been developed to present national and international developments on SDGs and also to raise awareness about them. Three events have been planned in 2015 at national and sub national levels to engage policy makers and donors for mainstreaming SDGs into development planning and governance paradigm in Pakistan. Research studies will also be commissioned during this period to support Government of Pakistan on finalizing SDG targets and indicators. The first High Level Political Forum of the SDG era will take place in July 2016 to adopt full indicator framework and baselines.

LEAD’s first initiative on SDGs is expected to last till 2018 when first national monitoring report will be due. An effective annual review of the whole set of Global Monitoring Indicators will commence after 2018.