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26 August 2020

On August 26, 2020, Bangladesh Planning Commission’s General Economics Division (GED) launched the country’s SDG progress report at the Planning Commission. The report was prepared with the technical and financial support of ‘Strengthening Institutional Capacity for SDGs Achievement in Bangladesh (SC4SDG)’ project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme - Poverty-Environment Action. 
The report shows that under-five mortality and neonatal mortality have already reached the target set for 2020, while the prevalence of tobacco use and family planning needs are on track.

The reduction rate of poverty and hunger is also on-track. The government’s commitment to social protection, enhancing both in budgetary allocation and in coverage, is evident and gender parity in primary and secondary education has been achieved. The growth rate of real GDP per employed person and share of manufacturing value-added in GDP has crossed the target set for 2020. Access to electricity is 96 per cent in line with the commitment to providing electricity to all by 2021.

At the report’s launch, Planning Minister, MA Mannan said in his speech as the chief guest, “Coordination of data and information has been a challenge, which we hope to mitigate as we continue tracking the SDGs in the future years. This report provides direction for the future, pointing out the areas that need more attention, such as child marriage and incidents of violence against children.”

UNDP Resident Representative Sudipto Mukerjee, who was the Guest of Honour at the report’s launch, said, “UNDP feels privileged to have been a part of this progress report. This is the decade of action. The pandemic, and its impact underscore the need for serious implementation of the SDGs. There are issues such as urban poverty, gender-based violence and rural supply chain disruption that need attention. Most importantly, social safety and security must be ensured as citizens should feel protected during and after the pandemic.” 

Moderated by GED Senior Secretary Dr Shamsul Alam, the launch event was also attended by special guests Zuena Aziz, SDG Affairs Chief at PMO and Md Asadul Islam, Senior Secretary at Planning Commission. 

Like the previous progress report, this year’s report highlights the need for closing the data gap to capture real progress, or lack of it, in certain goals. The report mentions that existing weakness in data generation involving timeliness, frequency, quality and disaggregation need urgent action.

The report also mentioned the challenges in ensuring universal health coverage and quality education at all levels. It cites meeting urban demands as a serious constraint, and also acknowledges the severe threat posed by climate change on the highly vulnerable country. The process identifies resource mobilization, stakeholder engagement, data availability and management, and implementing the ‘leave no one behind’ agenda as major structural challenges. The suggested approach is to strengthen inclusive dialogues with all stakeholders to identify appropriate pathways.

The report suggests an outcome-based approach for the future, emphasizing on the need to empower local governments and institutional reforms to introduce changes in regulations, institutional culture, markets and mindsets.

This progress report can be a rich source of knowledge for any government body, development organization, private enterprise or even a conscious citizen working to realize the goals within the given time frame.

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