The Federal Government has lamented the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”, and intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
Speaking at a Roundtable Dialogue on the Establishment of SDG Innovation Hubs in the Six Geo-Political Zones across the country on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs), Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, said the traditional budgetary sources could not be relied on if the global goals are to be attained by 2030.
Adefulire described the traditional budgetary sources as grossly inadequate to finance the SDGs.
She urged Nigerians to continue to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical measures of the COVID-19 protocol, especially with the detection of cases of the latest variant, Omicron, in the country.
She said: “I want to say once again that we have to double our efforts, we have to roll our sleeves, we have eight years to go and this is December 2021. So we have the remaining years to evaluate what we have done.
“So, eight years is around the corner, let us work together to fast track the implementation of the SDGs. Already, COVID-19 has denied us the opportunity, it has eroded what we have achieved, almost everything has been eroded.
“So there is need for us to double action in this regard to claim all what we have lost during the COVID-19.
“We should be mindful also of the Omicron variant. So all of us must keep safe and ensure that we always encourage our neighbours to keep safe.
“All hands must be on deck to ensure that we keep safe, maintain personal hygiene, our face mask must be worn all the time and ensure that we maintain social distance so that we don’t allow this Omicron to delay our progress or erode what we are trying to achieve.”
The Senior Special Assistant further commended the UNDP Nigeria and the UN System in Nigeria for initiating the ‘UN joint programme on Institutionalizing Social Protection for Accelerated SDG implementation in Nigeria’, targeted at strengthening social protection at the federal level in Nigeria.
She explained that “the proposed SDGs Innovation Hubs will be a platform through which the SDG State Offices with a good track record of SDGs implementation, will be given the leadership responsibility of coordinating SDGs advocacy and replicating global best practices on the SDGs.
“They will also be tasked with piloting innovative solutions on the most pertinent issues within their geo-political zones by aligning them with SDGs with the greatest multiplier effects to help meet these needs.
“In this regard, there is a strong need for concerted efforts through a multi-stakeholder approach to ensure that these Hubs are able to function outside the scope of this programme. They must be sustainable, inclusive, proactive and solutions-based.”
She stressed that the SDGs cannot be achieved with standalone policies and programmes, adding “they must be carefully and scientifically integrated into our national and sub-national medium and long-term development policies and plans.”
In his remarks, the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Mr Lealem Dinku, who was represented by Clare Henshaw, explained that the joint UN project on Institutionalizing Social Protection for Accelerated SDGs implementation in Nigeria is being implemented by four UN Agencies; UNICEF, ILO, WFP and UNDP.
According to him, the SDGs Innovation Hubs will proffer tailored technical solutions to each sub-region.
“In particular, the SDGs Innovation Hubs will play a key role in facilitating state level policy advocacy, including feeding to state level planning and policy implementation.
“Acting as a learning/knowledge center on SDGs; conducting dialogues on critical development challenges at the zonal level with key stakeholders and experimentation on innovative solutions to critical development challenges to achieve SDGs,”Dinku said.