Remarks by Ambassador Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, At side event to the High-Level Political Forum in 2016 “The SDGs are coming to life: stories of country implementation and UN Support” (20 July 2016)

Honorable Ministers,


Colleagues, Friends

Let me begin by thanking the distinguished speakers and participants for joining us today at this side-event, co-hosted by Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone and the UN Development Group (UNDG).

Discussions during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), mandated with follow up of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and reviewing its progress show that we are making progress. SDGs are indeed coming to life and we all are contributing towards this. But then this is just a beginning – we have many miles to go.

Pakistan has always underlined the essential role of the UN Development System (UNDS) to realize the objectives set by the new Agenda, in line with national policies, priorities and needs. UNDG’s publication on country implementation and UN support, being launched today, gives us a snapshot of this meaningful engagement.

We thank UNDP Administrator Helen Clark for her presentation on this publication’s key findings.

My remarks today are divided into four parts: our views on the publication; actions taken by Pakistan nationally to promote this ambitious new development agenda; some of our concerns and; how we would like to see the process move forward.

First then, our thoughts on this publication.

This outlines a range of actions being taken by national governments as well as efforts by UNDS to calibrate its support, including mapping the existing national plans and frameworks, formulation of long term visions and establishment of dedicated entities for coherence. This marks a good beginning.

The UNDGs MAPS (Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support) Strategy is impressive. It will ensure effective and coherent support to achieve the SDGs. We fully support it.

We are encouraged by the wide spectrum of good practices identified in the early mainstreaming of SDGs, including public awareness, stakeholder engagement, enhanced coordination within government departments and crucially, availability of resources.

On monitoring and accountability, we share the assessment that it will be a challenge. We agree with the UN Country Team’s (UNCT) approach aimed at supporting technical evaluations; assessing data gaps and national capacities; and, establishing coordination units.

We also appreciate UNCTs support for national voluntary reviews at the country level, including preparation of the national SDG reports. As the global review will be primarily based on national official data sources, strengthening of national statistics and data capacities is extremely important.

Nevertheless, monitoring and accountability at the national level is the responsibility of national governments. Engagement as well as drawing on contributions from all relevant stakeholders will have to be state-led. Agreed principles on this must be respected.


Pakistan considers UNDG as a key development partner. With UNCT support, we started preparations for implementation of 2030 agenda very early. This cooperation continues to be strengthened and further expanded.

We launched our National Development Strategy –Vision 2025 - last year. It is fully aligned with the SDGs. Inclusion of the sustainability perspective in national economic and development plans has been an overarching aspect of this strategy.

Within weeks of the adoption of 2030 Agenda, we were able to launch the SDGs in Pakistan. Our National Parliament adopted the SDGs as Pakistan's development agenda through a unanimous resolution in February this year. Parliament also established a Secretariat to serve as a resource centre for the SDGs.

Pakistan was thus among the pioneers, demonstrating and mobilizing full political support and ownership.

Our provincial governments are now aligning their strategies and annual development plans for coordinated implementation of SDGs. The line departments at federal and sub-national level are aligning their sector plans with the relevant SDGs. UN agencies are extending technical support for this coordinated delivery.

We are also establishing SDG Support Units, with technical support from UNDP at the national and provincial level. These units, co-financed by the national and the respective provincial governments, will serve as platforms for national coordination on SDGs.

The federal government and my country’s four provincial governments have committed a total of $ 15 million for localization of SDGs in Pakistan over the next 5 years.

With UNCT support, we will also finalize our national SDG framework by the end of this year. It will include a set of priority SDGs, their local targets, indicators and baselines.


Meaningful implementation demands matching resources. This, we feel is the most critical challenge. It was one of the primary reasons for the sub-optimal performance of the MDGs. Raising trillions of dollars every year to realize the SDGs would be a real test.

National ownership of the agenda demands optimization of domestic resource mobilization and prioritization. An enabling international environment that promotes and complements domestic policies and priorities, however, will remain essential

We are concerned about deteriorating core resources of the UNDS and increased reliance on non-core resources. At a time when we are setting ambitious benchmarks and time lines for achieving the SDGs, this trend does not engender confidence.

While we recognize that SDG’s indicator framework is a work in progress, data and reporting on as many as 230 global indicators, especially at the sub-national level, will be a herculean task.


Despite its contributions, which we appreciate, the range of issues covered by the SDGs and their universal nature call for recalibration of UNDS. This effort must aim at further strengthening UNDS and ensuring coherent and coordinated delivery by its entities. As we all look towards UNCT for support and compliment their efforts, this transformation is both urgent and important.

While change is critical, it is important to recognize that we are not starting from scratch. We must build on what we have; the successes we have achieved, the lessons we have learnt, and the challenges we anticipate. The QCPR resolution this year provides us with the opportunity to address these issues in a holistic manner. We look forward to a fruitful and detailed examination of these issues over the next couple of months as a part of this process.

I thank you all.