The dialogue jointly organized by the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Oxfam was held at a city hotel on Wednesday.
The dialogue titled “Let the grassroots speak- localizing SDGs for inclusive development", was arranged as part of a joint endeavor of enhancing the participation of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in democratic governance in Bangladesh funded by the European Union.
Oxfam Country Director Dipankar Dutta in his welcome speech lauded significant progress of government towards reaching SDGs while mentioning that those cannot be achieved with the efforts of one institution alone.
“We cannot think about attaining the goals without involving global as well as local stakeholders. Localisation requires everyone to include in the journey towards SDGs,” he added.
Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director, CPD, said formerly, Bangladesh performed well to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) while it is yet to gain momentum to achieve SDGs.
Pointing out the core difference of MDGs and SDGs, she said "SDGs focus on the participation of everybody. If those for whom SDGs will materialize disapprove, all our efforts will be in vain."
Later, two research papers were put forward to the audience.
Mahfuza Akter Mala, Oxfam Senior Programme Officer said that SDGs can truly be achieved only after localizing those.
“Many of the local stakeholders do not have any idea about how to connect with SDGs planning process and local government representatives are not too keen on informing them properly,” she said.
Later, Towfiqul Islam Khan, Senior Research Fellow, CPD took the stage with results and findings from another project regarding the lagging regions.
He pointed out the necessity of sub-national and local involvement alongside the central government in order to achieve SDGs while comparing different Asian countries' example of implementing them.
Towfiqul said that without proper utilization of limited resources and strong decentralized local governance, SDGs localization will be difficult.
Executive Director of ManusherJonno Foundation (MJF) Shaheen Anam stressed the accountability of the whole implementation process saying, “Among development goals, increasing employment need to be focused. Issues like bribery, nepotism must be resolved.”
“Meaningful decentralization in planning, design and decision making need to be emphasized more to achieve SDGs,” Shaheen said.
Sharmeen Murshid, Chief Executive Officer of Brotee urged the government to form a local government commission saying “We need the installation of community government where poor and unreached communities should involve as frontrunners in achieving SDGs.”
An open discussion session was held later where several government officials and NGO workers expressed their views and suggestions regarding the projects and SDGs localization.
EU Delegation to Bangladesh Mario Ronconi expressed his hope of inclusion of all the parties related having a common goal of successfully attaining SDGs.
Senior Secretary of General Economics Division Planning Commission Professor Shamsul Alam, who was present as the chief guest, said that SDGs localization is indeed an important issue for the government as they are working for the implementation from the national level.
“We are doing everything necessary to strive towards SDGs which has been a prime focus for the government. Different sections of SDGs have been assigned to different ministries already,” he added.