Category Archives: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

UNIC Engages Councillors, Calls For Bye-Laws That Support SDGs

In its quest to leaving no one behind in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, on Wednesday 23 May 2018, engaged with the leaders of the various Local Governments legislature in Lagos State, to discuss the SDGs framework and the role of Councillors.

Addressing the Councillors from about 35 Local Governments (LGs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Lagos State, the Director of UNIC, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, called on them to enact laws that would support the implementation and the achievement of the SDGs in the various Councils. He noted that the Local Government administration, including its legislative arm, has an important role to play in achieving the Agenda 2030.

Mr Kayanja demanded of the Councillors, to be champions of SDGs and social mobilisers in their communities; to be strong advocate for policies, both existing and new, that would enhance the implementation of the SDGs; to identify projects that align with SDGs; and to help identify which of the 17 SDGs are their priorities.

Declaring the event open, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Abayomi Kadiri, highlighted the stride of the Lagos Government in the implementation of the SDGs framework. He noted the collaboration with the United Nations in Nigeria as exemplified by support for SDGs sensitisation of the State and Local Government civil servants by UNIC; the mainstreaming of SDGs into Lagos State Development Plan with the support of UNDP; among others.

He assured that Lagos State would maintain the momentum towards achieving the goals and tartget of SDGs by 2030, through stronger collaboration with the UN.

Three presentations were made: ‘Understanding SDGs’ by the UNIC National Information Officer, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun; ‘Lagos State: From MDGs to SDGs’ by the Chief Statistician, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Ms. B. R. Ogbenusi; and ‘SDGs: The Lagos State Plan’ by an Assistant Director, Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, Mr. S. O. Olowonisaye.

The presentations were succeeded by an interactive session which highlighted the concerns of the Councillors in the implementation of the SDGs; the importance of partnerships; the need to move above daunting challenges to make things happen to the benefit of the constituents.

The councillors were decorated with “SDGs Wheel” pins as Champions of SDGs.

New pilot initiative in Kaduna will boost inclusive growth in African food industry

UNSustainableDevelopmentGoals_Brand-02United Nations SDG Fund, FG, Kaduna Government, chefs Roca Brothers and Sahara Group launch a joint platform to create jobs, promote gender equality and reduce food waste

Jere, Kaduna (Nigeria), 14 July 2016. As Nigeria embraces a challenging economic diversification process, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F) is working in Kaduna to pilot an innovative approach aimed at revamping the food sector to creating new jobs for young people, increase farmers’ revenues, improve productivity, enhance nutrition and reduce food loss through more sustainable production practices. Continue reading

Reduced inequalities possible with individual action & comprehensive government policies

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own” – Cesar ChavezGoal - 10

The world as a whole is becoming richer. According to the Pew Research Centre analysis of data from the World Bank database (2015), the share of the population defined as poor has actually fallen by nearly half since 2001, dropping to around 15%, and income inequality between countries is in fact diminishing. However, whilst income inequality between countries is declining, inequality within countries is on the rise. UNDP report, 2013, ‘Humanity Divided: Confronting Inequality in Developing Countries’ notes that on average, income inequality increased by 11% in developing countries between 1990 and 2010. Continue reading

Promoting decent work and economic growth, a task for all.

decent workPoverty eradication is enhanced through stable and well-paid jobs. Nearly 2.2 billion people live below the US$2 poverty line. Global unemployment increased from 170 million in 2007 to nearly 202 million in 2012, of which about 75 million are young women and men.470 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030. Continue reading

Clean water and Sanitation for all, a 2030 agenda

Wclean waterater is a major component of not just the earth but every form of living. According to various statistics, it makes up for about 70% of the earth. There are various uses of water; it is used for feeding, bathing, drinking, transportation etc. Water is useful across all works of life and is an essential resource for living and for survival. The whole earth is filled with abundance of water but despite the availability, it’s been a big issue of concern as such a vital resource is not being well managed as it should be and the lack of proper protection of its various forms cannot be overlooked. Continue reading

Achieving gender equality by 2030 – Don’t be left behind

Gender EqualityIn 1985, Nigeria ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Optional Protocol in 2004. In 2005, the country ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. In September 2015, Nigeria was also one of the 193 countries that signed off to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These give an indication of commitment of the government of Nigeria to achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

However, despite the above acceptance of the conventions and protocols, gender equality is still a major issue in Nigeria today. Cases of gender discrimination are still abound in the country. The United Nations, therefore sees the entrenchment of gender equality in the SDGs as a call to duty by all. Occupying Goal 5 among the 17 goals of the SDGs, gender equality as a sustainable development goal, seeks to put an end to all forms of discrimination against women and ensure that women as well as men are given full and equal rights as to how they live. The goal notes that “all humans are equals and therefore should and must be treated as such.” It also calls for reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

Goal 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, particularly seeks to enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women; as well as to adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

The SDG 5, is not just about empowerment of women, it also targets “Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life; as well as “Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.”

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 has therefore provided an opportunity for everyone to put an end to every form of gender discrimination so the country as well as the world can be a much better place to live. Do not be left behind in this race towards achieving gender equality by 2030!

Written by Ezinne Eke (An intern). Graphics by Daniel Olufemi Macaulay (An intern)

Decent work – A sine qua non for economic growth

Work placeThe concept “decent work”, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration coupled with active participation in decisions that affect lives. The capacity of an economy to produce goods and services which will in turn aid the achievement of fair globalization and reduction in poverty levels can only be made possible through productive employment and decent work.

In many parts of the globe, merely having a job does not guarantee the ability to escape poverty. This is founded on UN findings that nearly 2.2 billion people live below the US$2 poverty line despite the fact that only about 202 million of the world`s population are unemployed. The lack of decent jobs lead people to turn to informal employment which is characterized by low production, low pay and no social protection. This however raises the concern on availability of quality jobs which in turn should translate to decent work.

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 which is geared towards promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; is meant to set a new path to economic growth and development for a country like Nigeria with 112.519 million people living in poverty conditions and over 20 million people without jobs.

The 17 sustainable goals and 169 targets adopted by the United Nations member States are to be met by 2030. The targets for goal 8 includes among others: sustaining per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances; achieving higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation; promoting development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation; achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men including for young people and persons with disabilities; substantially reducing the proportion of youths not in employment, education or training; eradication of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking; devising and implementing policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promote local cultures and products etc. are to achieved over the next 15 years.

For a timely achievement of the targets of the goal 8, there is a need for well-functioning and transparent institutions that effectively protect properties rights, reduce red-tape, combat corruption and keep nepotism in check are essential. Putting this in place will help create stable and predictable business environment that would encourage investment, create jobs and encourage the production of higher value goods and services in the country.

Both the government and the private sector should provide decent work and a decent work environment for optimal productivity that will stimulate economic growth. No doubt, decent work is a sine qua non for economic growth.                                                                                 Written by Solomon Oduneye (An intern)

Redirecting focus to affordable and clean energy

Goal 7 - English“Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” is the 7th of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people with access to electricity has increased by 1.7billion and as the population continue to rise so would the demand for cheap energy rise.

In 2007, lack of rainfall resulted in low level rivers and lakes in Alberia, severely hampering hydro power generation and resulting in frequent power outage of 3.7 hours per day and the Alberia ministry of finance estimated that this costs the country as much as one per cent of the growth.

Most of the countries that are facing the issue of clean energy are regarded as third world countries, that is, the less developed countries, small island and under-developed countries. No country should be exempted from clean energy because everyone needs energy for their daily activities and without the use of energy, activities cannot be done and industries would be at a loss.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the government agency responsible for regulating operations in the electricity sector, reported that as of 29 May 2016, energy generated was MWh 56,155 and energy sent out being MWh 47,480 as against 05 June 2016 energy generated (62,617) while 61,506 MWh was sent out. Total Constrained Generation MW as of 29 May 2016 stood at 3,958 MW which rose to 4,183 as of 05 June 2016.

The above is still a far cry from the ideal given the size of Nigeria and the strategic importance of electricity to sustainable economic development. There is need to make clean energy affordable to the majority of the population. Nigeria has the resources and the human capital to develop and deploy clean and affordable energy: The wind vane technology will thrive in the northern part of the country; and Solar technology can be deployed anywhere in the country.

Goal 7: ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’ has five targets amongst which are: By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services; By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix; By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.

Are these achievable? Yes, they are. If policy makers in the developing countries of the world redirect their focus and energies towards provision of affordable and clean energy, then achieving the targets would surely fall in place. No doubt, when Goal 7 and its targets are largely met, the economy gets galvanized, the people get profitably engaged and the well-being of the generality of the population improved.                                                                               Written by Ibukun Olumuyiwa (An intern)

 

Saving 1000 children who die daily from water and sanitation-related diseases

Hand washing“Water has no enemy” goes a saying. Then, how can the world have access to this ‘water’ that is supposed to be everyone’s friend? The world we live in cannot be sustained without access to clean water for all. No doubt, there is enough water on planet earth to ensure access to clean water. According to the United Nations, “But due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.”

The global statistics are looking too good: 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990, but 663 million people are still without; At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated; Between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source has increased from 76 per cent to 91 per cent; But water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. Over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge; 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines; More than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal; and Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases.

The above challenges need to be addressed seriously and one of the ways the entire world, of course, including Nigeria, is looking at this is through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 6 seeks to ensure access to water and sanitation for all.

To achieve the above Goal 6, a number of targets have been identified. These include: By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all; By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations; By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally; By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity; By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate; and by 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes; among others.

Linked to water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation are challenges of food insecurity, livelihood and educational opportunities. Drought worsens hunger and cases of malnutrition in some of the world’s poorest countries.

The situation not beyond redemption. Something needs to be done. Someone needs to do something. The government needs to prioritise the water and sanitation sector to improve the health and wellbeing of its citizenry.

Clean water and sanitation is at the core of national development. The nation’s productivity would be strengthened if the workforce gets sick very few times due to improved access to clean water and sanitation.

To the people we say desist from open defecation; do not defecate or empty solid waste into the river which many, down the stream, use as their main source of water. Your health is the nation’s wealth.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, ‘Ensure access to water and sanitation for all’, is a call to action to save this generation and yet to come, from this unfolding tragedy where nearly 1,000 innocent children who have the fundamental right to be cared for and be protected die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoeal diseases.

 

Education is a human right, claim it!

A student of Covenant University Secondary School curating his school's works.

We live in a world where things are not balanced. We have the good and the bad, poor and the rich, small and the big, Also, there are educated ones and the non-educated. Education remains an issue in the sub-Sahara and other developing countries. Occupying the No 4 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) list, inclusive and quality education is no doubt, the foundation to improving people’s lives. For clarity, SDG 4 seeks to ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. Education needs to be taken more seriously in view of the state of education in the developing countries.

According to the United Nations, enrolment in primary education in developing countries has reached 91 per cent but 57 million children remain out of school; More than half of children that have not enrolled in school live in sub-Saharan Africa; An estimated 50 per cent of out-of-school children of primary school age live in conflict-affected areas; and 103 million youth worldwide lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 per cent of them are women.

As regards literacy, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) noted that over 757million adults worldwide still lack basic literacy skills with about two-third of them being women from Nigeria.

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has it that Primary school enrolment has increased in recent years, but net attendance is only about 70 per cent, but Nigeria still has 10.5 million out-of-school children – the world’s highest number. Sixty per cent of those children are in northern Nigeria. About 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls. Many of those who do enrol drop out early.

It is estimated that about 4.7 million of primary school age are still not in school also it was discovered that about 30% of pupils drop out of primary school and only 54% transit to junior secondary schools in 2015. UNESCO (2010) further puts the value for school enrolment Pre-primary (%gross) in Nigeria at 13.39.

To turn around the statistics presented earlier, SDG 4 has stated some targets, among which are “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes; By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education; By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university; By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.

All the ten targets under Goal 4 are achievable by 2030, provided the government strengthens its policies and management of the education sector while the people in all the regions of Nigeria seize the opportunity of free basic education offered by the government.

Basic education is free in Nigeria. Therefore, there is no reason why any parent will not send his or her child to school. Besides, education is a fundamental human right which should not be denied any child. Let everyone claim it.                                                                                           Written by Oluwatoniloba Itabiyi (An intern)