ISLAMABAD: To honour the commitments made with the international community on the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), priorities at federal, provincial and local levels should be revisited with more focus on achieving the development goals in line with these pledges. This was stated by speakers at a seminar titled: ‘Implementation of SDGs in Pakistan – Where We Stand after Two Years?’ organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), in collaboration with AWAZCDS and Pakistan Development Alliance (PDA). “Civil society and corporate sector could play pivotal role in materialising the intended goals and hence, it the approach of the government towards the development partners should be changed in positive manner,” they said. MNA Romina Khurshid Alam, while presenting the overall picture of implementation on SDGs related commitment in Pakistan, suggested that a civil society collation should be formed to prioritise the areas of expertise and to work on SDGs under a shared vision and planning. She said that there were a number of areas that required immediate attention to improve the pace on implementation of SDGS. She said that the federal government was taking SDGs-related affairs seriously and the issues and priorities were being discussed at the parliament level on regular basis. “However, since most targets, including those related to health and education, are now a provincial subject, better coordination at federal to provincial and then at local government level should be strengthened,” she said. She added further that the members of the parliament received the funds to design and implement projects in line with the DGS. However, she said, we will not able to achieve encouraging results without involving local communities in the development agenda. Ziaur Rehman, the AWAZCDS Pakistan chief executive, was of the view that it was a matter of grave concern that our failure in achieving MDGs, was the result of a lack of interest and awareness at every level, including among the ministries, parliament and other departments. “The funding for the social sector at present is dismally low. For any meaningful impact at ground level, it should be enhanced up to 10 to 12 % of budgetary allocation,” he said. Dr Shahryar Khan Toru, Head SDGs Unit SDPI, while highlighting various lacuna that existed regarding implementation on SDGs, said that the political government must respond to SDGs by ensuring that institutions delivered social services. He said that the government, civil society organisations and research institutions must barnstorm and exchange ideas on best action plans. “SDGs require examining global knowledge and success stories for crafting evidence based actions and strategies,” he concluded. Shafqat Munir, the SDPI senior policy adviser, also shared his views with the participants and said that government should appreciate the efforts and consider civil society its development partner instead creating problems in the ways of its working. Published in Daily Times, September 26th 2017.