HYDERABAD: The Sindh Community Foundation (SCF), a nonprofit organisation, on Thursday conducted an interactive session in Hyderabad under TABEER programme for Sustainable Development Goals 16 (SDGs) that commits the community to work together to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. A number of representatives of youth groups, students, professional women and minority rights organisations participated in the discussion. “The state institutions have neglected the needs of women, youth and minorities while formulating budgets,” the participants remarked while praising efforts of government to devise a long-awaited youth policy, but expressed deep concerns that if concrete actions and budget is not allocated effectively then the policy would be a mere document. They emphasised to implement youth policy in its true spirit and essence and urged to increase budget allocation for women, youth and minorities for their welfare and protection. SCF Head Javed Hussain, in his presentation, outlined the aims and objectives of SDGs and updates by the government. “The implementation SDG’s at provincial and local level is very slow, however, SDG 16- access to justice and peace relates to the accountability and transparency for strong institutions,” he said. He said that although a SDG unit has been established at the provincial level, but there is lack of genuine political will to implement SDGs at local levels which identifies targets accordingly with the requirement of every district that is in distinct nature compare to each other. Key participants in the session included Minority Rights representatives M Parkash and Pushpa Kumari, Women Action Forum (WAF) Haseen Musrat, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Dr Ashothama, senior journalists Mahaish Kumar and Jay Moryani, advocate Amjad Paleejpo, women rights activists Shahnaz Sheedi and writer Nazeer Naz. The discussion also involved the budgeting process, accountability and social audit regarding the public development schemes. Young participants highlighted the issues of women and girls including lack of public toilets and unavailability of the waiting sheds in the scorching heat of summer. They demanded adequate transportation plans to be part of budget formulated by the government. Speakers also urged ‘Right to Information Act’, that has been promulgated but citizens are unaware about their fundamental right. They further demanded accountability, transparency and an effective participation by citizens while the budget is being formulated. Published in Daily Times, June 1st 2018.