From RPGs to SDGs and Beyond

Sultan Hajiyev, UNDP Country Director in Libya.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim at resolving the social, economic and environment problems troubling the world.

The value and importance of the SDGs for the UNDP is self-evident for those familiar with who we are and what we do. Everything we do should contribute to the SDGs. With this underlined, reaching the SDGs in crises requires realistic understanding of what ‘possible’ is.

The SDGs remain ‘terra incognita’ to many people we work with, and work for – particularly in complex emergencies. Any attempt to promote the SDGs ‘one size fits all’ will backfire. That may be not just a figure of speech. You push it too far, and in return to your appeals and recommendations on the SDGs you will hear RPGs.

If you struggle to feed your child and do not know what your family will eat tomorrow, generic invitations to support ‘zero hunger’ and ‘no poverty’ will not just fall on deaf ears, they anger people. Promoting ‘sustainable cities and communities’ in a town levelled by aerial bombardment will likely cause fury.

Many Libyans are painfully aware of some of the above challenges. So, are the SDGs less relevant for Libya? Should we revise or perhaps drop the SDGs, or wait for better times to come? No, no and no again. In fact, it is the other way around – progress on the SDGs is among the top preconditions for resolving many of problems Libya is facing these days.

It is not a question of whether we promote the SDGs or not, but how we position and present them. Crises warrant the strongest possible practical flavour of working on the SDGs: better education, better healthcare, better quality of water, better business opportunities, better judicial system. The strength and power of the SDG is that they embody very specific practical content dear to each and every person, including those who do not really know what sustainability is, what development is and whose goal is to get something to eat before they go to bed. We need to customize messaging.

While the SDGs are in a way both our point of departure, and our destination, we must remain pragmatic. There is an expression about ‘losing the forest for the trees’ but do not forget that the forest consists of trees. The SDGs are not some extra-terrestrial substance from the outer world. They are what Libyan people need daily, what can improve their lives, what they live – with many unfortunately living the bitter absence of the values the SDGs promote. Our best way to advance the SDGs, and of ensuring progress towards the 2030 Goals, is through making sure there is genuine ownership and understanding of what is really behind these three letters.

One of the preconditions for success of the SDGs Agenda is partnership. It is so much more complex to ensure it in fragmented, and frequently antagonized societies with weakened Government institutions and private sector, and disillusioned and disempowered citizens, many of them alienated. Under certain circumstances, the SDGs should be disguised as a Trojan horse with the huge difference of being aimed at building and constructing, not capturing and demolishing.

For our Government partners, one of many reasons for embracing the SDGs is the strongest possible message of self-confidence they send by considering this issue among their top priorities. It takes political courage, and a lot of healthy optimism, to talk about the 17 in a country with many burning needs. It is their opportunity to make a bold statement of belief in their people – and also in themselves. I am therefore really pleased to see strong interest and commitment of a number of our Libyan counterparts to take the SDGs agenda forward.

There is a long road ahead to 2030. It consists of many steps, by many partners and players. To those who are already walking – well done, and keep going. We are with you. Libya is yet to start the journey, so – safe trip, and if looking for a reliable travel companion who knows why you travel, shares the goal and wants to see you reaching your destination – UNDP is ready.

(Source: UNDP)

4 Responses to From RPGs to SDGs and Beyond

  1. Ali Elseid June 22, 2018 at 1:59 pm #

    I think this post is so idealistic. it seems that the writer do not know about the reality of Libya sitiuation. We still so far to think about the SDGs. We need first to rebuild the distructed state and to set security and justice.
    really we need the help of the international community (UN) this help should be a military force.
    or just we may need to go for fight and continue till some one can size the whole country and then starts to build
    a state governed by a unique force.

    • Dr Satya P. Bindra June 29, 2018 at 4:00 pm #

      OKYD Ambassador team on Global Goal 16 Peace Justice and Strong Institution & UNDESA Focal Point Libya are engaged to serve for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels in Libya. We follow Mahatma Gandhi & Nobel Laureate Martin Luther King “hate the sin and not the sinner” Our targets are:
      16.1 significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates in Libya
      Proposed Indicators
      38. Prevalence of girls and women 15-49 who have experienced physical or sexual violence [by an intimate partner] in the last 12 months
      88. Violent injuries and deaths per 100,000 population
      89. Number of refugees
      Target
      16.2 end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children
      Proposed Indicators
      57. Ratification and implementation of fundamental ILO labor standards and compliance in law and practice
      88. Violent injuries and deaths per 100,000 population
      Target
      16.3 promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and ensure equal access to justice for all
      Proposed Indicators
      39. Percentage of referred cases of sexual and gender-based violence against women and children that are investigated and sentenced
      Target
      16.4 by 2030 significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen recovery and return of stolen assets, and combat all forms of organized crime
      Proposed Indicators
      90. Proportion of legal persons and arrangements for which beneficial ownership information is publicly available
      Target
      16.5 substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all its forms
      Proposed Indicators
      91. Revenues, expenditures, and financing of all central government entities are presented on a gross basis in public budget documentation and authorized by the legislature
      94. Perception of public sector corruption
      Target
      16.6 develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
      Proposed Indicators
      91. Revenues, expenditures, and financing of all central government entities are presented on a gross basis in public budget documentation and authorized by the legislature
      94. Perception of public sector corruption
      Target
      16.7 ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
      Proposed Indicators
      43. Percentage of seats held by women and minorities in national parliament and/or sub-national elected office according to their respective share of the population (modified MDG Indicator)
      Target
      16.8 broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance
      Proposed Indicators
      98. Annual report by Bank for International Settlements (BIS), International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and World Trade Organization (WTO)on the relationship between international rules and the SDGs and the implementation of relevant SDG targets
      Target
      16.9 by 2030 provide legal identity for all including free birth registrations
      Proposed Indicators
      92. Percentage of children under age 5 whose birth is registered with a civil authority
      Target
      16.10 ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
      Proposed Indicators
      93. Existence and implementation of a national law and/or constitutional guarantee on the right to information
      Target
      16.a strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacities at all levels, in particular in Libya, for preventing violence and combating terrorism and crime
      Target
      16.b promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

  2. Dr Satya P.Bindra June 28, 2018 at 1:01 pm #

    OKYD Ambassador team Libya Charity Foundation Aurinko SE LifeCare, Dihya UN Regional Focal Point for Women & Children,& UNDESA Focal Point for SDGs Libya are grateful and express our gratitude to UNDP for supporting our humble voluntary efforts right from establishment of UNCSD Focal Point (2012-22) & its follow up by I quote ” really pleased to see strong interest and commitment of a number of our Libyan counterparts to take the SDGs agenda forward” unquote..

  3. Dr Satya P. Bindra June 30, 2018 at 10:15 am #

    OKYD Ambassador team & UNDESA Focal Point recent meetings with stakeholders discussion on progress report on the SDGs saluted UNDP for clearly stating & extending all out supporting the way forward “that among the top preconditions for resolving many of problems Libya facing these days requires SDGs both our point of departure, and our destination.

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