A consultative session on SDG 16 was conducted at Sunfort Hotel on 23rd July, 2018 by Sungi Development Foundation, under Tabeer - CDIP project that is working on consolidating democracy in Pakistan. The aim of the session was to identify and map the issues and challenges related to SDG 16 and to find out ways to make a consolidated approach to make their efforts unified and more effective. The session was well attended by civil society members, lawyers, journalists, women rights workers, and NGOs specifically working on SDG's.
Project Coordinator, Zeeba Hashmi began the proceeding by giving a detailed presentation on SDG's, its work in Pakistan, SDG 16 and Sungi's efforts towards its specific goals 16.6 and 16.7 on district level. She said that SDG's have been passed by the Parliament, known as national development agenda, to be adopted as a policy on national, provincial and district level, so to say that the elected representatives don't know about development policy is not justified. She also shared with the participants that in March last year, The Ministry of Development and Planning organized a National Summit on SDG's where about 75 members from Local Government committed themselves to integrate SDGs in their policies.
Sharing Sungi’s experience at grassroots level with the participants, she said there is considerable enthusiasm from the ignored and the remote communities here where they expect the civil society to make them more aware about their rights as voters, transparency and accountability of their elected representatives and establishing contacts with line departments for better service delivery.
Mr. Salman Abid, a notable journalist and CEO of IDEA, talked about the reasons why SDG's were developed by UN to specifically address the issues which the Millennium Development Goals failed to deliver.
Among other speakers, Ms. Ume Laila briefed the participants about SDG's work on ground and about the challenges that are present in work delivery, citing the general attitude towards NGO work by the government and of the donors as reasons for it. She stressed on the coordinated efforts by civil society organizations and suggested that all forums of development should be availed by organizations working on it. Participants from National Commission of Justice Pakistan, Faces Pakistan, Homenet Pak, Search for Justice, Strengthening Partnership Organization, Working Women Development Foundation, Aurat Foundation, Nai Umeed Welfare Society, IDEA, Godh, South Asian Partnership, Punjab Union of Journalist and Lahore High Court bar council talked about the pressing need for all NGOs working on development goals to form a consolidated approach and a strategy to make their work more meaningful.
Sungi Development Foundation committed to the participants to share with them the recommendations made during this event and will work in collaboration with the civil society on SDG 16 goals in future.