On 25th September, 2015, all UN member states gathered at Sustainable Development Summit to adopt the agenda for 2030. The agenda included a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. These 17 points are a universal set of goals, targets and indicators that all UN member states are expected to use to frame their development agendas, socio-economic policies, and actions towards low carbon pathways for the next 15 years, in order to achieve a sustainable world where ‘no one is left behind’ without compromising sustainability of the planet. Within these SDGs one of the important point that defines that women and girls, everywhere, must have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination. Women’s equality and empowerment is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but also integral to all dimensions of inclusive and sustainable development. In short, all the SDGs depend on the achievement of Goal 5. Pakistan is also one of the signatory and ranked on 122 on the SDG index of 157 nations compared to Bangladesh’s 120 and India’s 116 position, according to July 2017 results. Importantly, in Pakistan parliament has adopted the SDGs as a national development agenda unlike the MDGs that were generally considered an UN-driven initiative only to be complied with by four-yearly progress reports. These reports were prepared by consultants, without any implementation mechanism in place to actually deliver. However, although MDGs were not achieved throughout the world yet unfortunately in Pakistan, not a single goal of MGDs was achieved due to the failure of the state policies. More than 60 percent people claim to be marginalised due to poor electricity facilities. 82 percent people have no idea about sustainable development goals and other commitments made by government at regional and global level But in recent times, Pakistan has initiated special SDG units, which are established at the Planning Commission and provinces. At the federal level, however, three separate SDG units have been created — one at Prime Minister Office, another at parliament and at the Planning Commission. However, in province Punjab the Government has already inculcated the SDG agenda in the vision 2025 and Punjab growth strategy 2018. Furthermore, the establishment of SDG unit is also a positive move and reflects the seriousness of government for the delivery of SDGs at grass roots level. In other provinces too the SDGs have been established but are still in budding stage as compared to Punjab. As a lesson learnt from the past performance in implementation of MDGs, Pakistan government response has been very preemptive this time with regard to the SDGs. For ensuring SDGs implementation many organisations and alliances are working nationally and internationally and taking every stride for its adequate implementation, however Pakistan Development Alliance PDA is leading this campaign all across Pakistan and effectively working on the implementation of development goals from 2014 and Home Net Pakistan is assisting them in Punjab chapter. Importantly, PDA has carried out a quick mapping on the current status of SDGs implementation in the Province Punjab that identifies the accomplishments and gaps to date. According to the survey 70.4 percent women, 66.2 percent children and 62.4 percent unemployed people have claimed to be more vulnerable to experience poverty, discrimination and violence. Furthermore, age, employment type, low income, Gender based discrimination, Level of education; ethnicity, mental wellbeing and sexual orientation are some of the major factors impeding their marginalisation. More than 69 percent people do not have access to basic income including job security and protection. 74 percent people feel that they are marginalised because of the poor water & sanitation facilities. More than 60 percent people claim that they are marginalised because of poor electricity facilities. 82 percent people have no idea about sustainable development goals and other commitments made by government at regional and global level for their development & empowerment. More than 65 percent people held Government responsible to deliver the SDGs as per their commitment at United Nation. 85 percent people do not see that their say is influential for policy making/ reforms. 78 percent people do not have any engagement /involvement in local/ National level policy reforms and development. Moreover, PDA have collaborated with universities for including SDGs in the curriculum of higher education. They are regularly doing advocacy campaigns with 83 alliance members on different SDG’s points especially by enhancing strength to engage young people, women, elders, socially excluded groups meaningfully. The purpose is to open a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder platform for discussions and exchange of ideas. The primary objectives include identifying gaps in implementation, facilitating constructive dialogues, learning from local, national and international models, exploring relationship of key development contributors, devising new & improved strategies, building linkages and proposing a roadmap for improvement of Human Development Index — in the province, and the country. While talking with the Zia Ur Rehman National Convener PDA, he was on the view that, “the basic purpose of this alliance is to engage all related stakeholders at Provincial levels. This will help in developing a procedure to engage with provincial processes and coming up with a concrete action plans. Such planning can help ensure that resources would be targeted towards efforts that would make biggest impact. Moreover he said, “PDA works in partnership with civil society organisations and private sector across Pakistan. Leave No One Behind is a Nation-wide campaign to sensitise masses as well as related stakeholders for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals with a special focus to ensure the participation of marginalised communities. PDA is initiating a national campaign the purpose is to engage media, SDG’s Task forces and legislatures and to put out the demands for achieving SDGs with vision 2030.” Moreover, talking with Ume-Laila Azhar a renowned women rights activist said that, “Pakistan development indicators have to be aligned with the SDGs goals and it is a very good start to see Government taking a proactive approach with adoption of SDGs, developing indicators, setting up the SDGs units, SDGs committees, nomination focal persons in all departments. And moreover, in Punjab, the annual development schemes for the year 2018-19 preposition of Annex (03) has been made mandatory to link up the scheme with SDGs and its specific indicator. But she believes that all this would be in vein if there is no coordination among the stakeholders and the interdepartmental synergetic planning with effective and transparent monitoring. The CSO and specifically Pakistan development alliance is one initiative, which aims to take all stakeholders and players on board. This time government of Pakistan willingness to improve the standards of social indicators is clearly visible, but I am afraid that if the political situation remains unstable with weak parliamentary hold, administrative control and above all the priority of the new government after the general elections; then the future of the SGDs and their implementation would be serious challenge. A lot needs to be done even now. The parliamentarians, academia, media, executives are still not aware of the SGDs plans. And do not have a collective approach in order to make it a nations ‘priority. SGDs and its effective implementation should be the top most agenda of all the political parties so that commitment comes from day one”. I totally agree with the Pakistan Development Alliance- PDA stance that government should make SDGs part and parcel of national curriculum so as our young people have detailed information regarding global and regional commitments made by government at various levels. Moreover, the government, civil society organisations and research institutions must brainstorm and exchange ideas on the best form of action. I believe that the SDGs are perhaps the best vehicle to lift more than 50 million people out of poverty when they earn less than two dollars a day by enriching their lives and livelihood options. Delivering on these goals will also help enhance Pakistan’s ability to emerge as one of the world’s leading economies and, while doing so, strengthen national security. Last but not the least, I want to request the government to appreciate the efforts and consider civil society its development partner instead creating problems in the ways of its working. The writer is a social and political activist based in Lahore. He has done his Maters and MPhil in Communication Studies. He can be reached at [email protected], tweets @Salmani_salu Published in Daily Times, April 17th 2018.