Published in The Daily Star on Sunday, 19 June 2016

Says Citizen’s Platform comprising 28 NGOs, eminent personalities

Staff Correspondent

Without good governance, achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would be difficult, said noted development and human rights leaders in the capital yesterday.

“Mere economic growth is not development in a modern democracy,” said human rights activist Sultana Kamal, adding, “Justice and security too has to be in place.”

Lack of good governance widens scope for corruption and denial of human rights, she added.

It will be hard to achieve the SDGs with the ongoing pattern of economic deprivation and human rights violations, said Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation.

Becoming a middle income country by leaving 17 percent of the population under the poverty line will not be socially and morally correct, she stressed.

With the biggest crisis prevailing in the area of good governance, incidents of human rights violations have been recurrent, said Anam.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the launching at a media briefing in the capital’s Cirdap auditorium.

Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, said the platform, as a supporting forum of the government, will help make the SDGs’ achievement endeavor inclusive and participatory.

Rasheda K Choudhury, executive director of the Campaign for Popular Education, said Bangladesh could achieve the inclusive development goals by making use of the SDGs.

CPD Executive Director Prof Mustfizur Rahman said the platform would attempt for environment-friendly SDG implementation based on equality.

The platform will promote the slogan “Leave no one behind”, said Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, convener of the platform.

SDGs are universal and inclusive, and they integrate education, health and environment, he said, adding, the goals are designed to end overall social and institutional transformation.

The 17 SDGs that the UN adopted last September for 15 years are an ambitious development agenda, he said.

The citizen’s initiative would catalyse coordination of the SDGs with Bangladesh’s national Five Year Plan and other policy plans and ensure the efficacy, relevance and accountability of the government’s new policies and reform programmes.

Objectives of the platform include monitoring the SDGs’ achievement, identifying the challenges to implement and update the decision makers with a view to utilising the allocated fund, ensuring transparency and social accountability.

The platform would focus on the SDGs relevant for Bangladesh and help ascertain priorities, oversee the progress and give analytical options.

The upcoming events of the platform include a national dialogue on the SDG on peace, justice and good governance; town hall meetings with local people, and meetings with the international development partners and workshops for the partner organisations.

The platform would draw up its programmes primarily for five years and for implementation would establish contact with the Prime Minister’s Office, planning commission, foreign ministry and finance ministry.

Anisatul Fatema Yousuf is the coordinator of the platform.

Twenty eight non-government organisations have so far joined the platform as partners.

A core group including Shaheen Anam, Rasheda K Chowdhury, Brac Vice-Chairperson Dr Ahmed Mushtaque Raza Chowdhury, private entrepreneur Asif Ibrahim¸ Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Sultana Kamal, MCCI President Syed Nasim Manzur, and Prof Mustafizur Rahman, will lead the platform.

That apart, there will be an advisory group comprising Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Prof Anisuzzaman, Prof Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Syed Manzur Elahi, Dr Hameeda Hossain, Dr Wahiduddin Mahmud, Mostafa Monwar, Rokia Afzal Rahman, Raja Debashish Roy, Srimoti Saha, Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed, Shykh Seraj and Prof Rehman Sobhan.