By Janet McDickson
In 1945, arising from the ruins that characterized the World Wars, the United Nations was born. It was consequently followed by the declaration to set October 24th every year, aside as the United Nations Day with the aims to promote the ideals of the Charter establishing the global organization.
The celebration of the day is aimed at enlightening the world on the achievements of the UN and to gain people’s supports in attaining peace, partnership and developments, to enable the world live in love and harmony amongst others.
It is in that line that on September 25, 2015 during the 70th General Assembly member states of the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for SDGs with the aim of sustaining the achievements made and to work towards attaining greater successes.
The 2017 UN Day celebration in Nigeria is organized on a tripartite arrangement with the UN, the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President (OSSAP-SDGs) and the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, focusing on a theme: “Partnership Engagement for the Effective Implementation of the SDGs”
It is imperative to drum the need for partnership if Nigeria must succeed in the global commitment of the 17 goals and 169 targets. The theme for this year’s celebration is apt and timely because individuals, societies, organizations, countries and the entire world need each other to succeed, drawing from the fact that challenges abound everywhere.
In line with the global commitment for peace, the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari during the last United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, in his speech sued for global peace, in its entire ramification through caution and dialoguing. His contribution to the attainment of SDGs can be seen in pursuing developmental programs and projects in the areas of energy, roads, construction, environment, food and agriculture, security and the fight against corruption to mention but a few.
President Muhammadu Buhari also demonstrated commitment to the SDGs by giving a boost to the drive of attaining the achievement of SDGs 2030 through support given to the Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire led Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, (OSSAP-SDGs), which is the coordinating the overall SDGs implementation efforts of the government at all levels in Nigeria.
The SSAP-SDGs and her team have been deploying various strategies to promote the achievements of SDGs including partnerships with all stakeholders. These include the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG), the Presidential Council on SDGs, the Donor Partnership Forum, which were inaugurated by vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. OSSAP-SDGs is also engaging in strategic partnership with the UN System, National Bureau of Statistics, all relevant MDAs, the National Assembly, the Academia, youth organizations, civil society organization etc.
The training of youth in various skills, ICT, energy efficiency and renewable energy technology by OSSAP-SDGs are all geared towards curtailing unemployment and youth restiveness making them employers of labour, thereby adding value to the country’s economy.
Only recently, OSSAP-SDGs and the Nigerian Bar Association consummated an enduring partnership for the attainment of SDG 16, with special focus on Targets 3, 5 and 6. The partnership aims to render free legal services to the less privilege and the vulnerable mass in the society. The effort will promote peace, access to justice, especially for the indigent vulnerable groups, respect for Rule of Law, protect human rights and dignity, fight bribery and corruption in all forms and generally help build strong and efficient legal institutions for good governance and prosperity of Nigeria.
“The objectives of the partnership is to help promote peace, access to justice, especially for the indigent vulnerable groups in Nigeria
The OSSAP-SDGs has constantly reiterated the need to integrate the SDGs into the medium and long-term National and State Development plans, with some states government integrating the SDGs in to their Medium and long term plans.
The continued implementation of the Conditional Grants Scheme (CGS) by OSSAP-SDGs a program where the Federal and state Government collaborate in counterpart contributory arrangement to implement people oriented project is acclaimed as global best practice. This is impacting positively on the lives of the people at the grassroots.
While it is commendable to note that some states have domesticated SDGs, it is also important to point out that, states that have not domesticated should endeavour to key in and facilitate the implementation of projects and programs that are SDGs related to help impact the lives of the people positively.
To achieve the objectives for this year’s celebration, the programme has been designed to call for citizens engagement to help achieve the SDGs in Nigeria, open space for partners including youths to share their narrative on the progress, challenges and opportunities of the SDGs, it is also to strengthen networking of innovative partnership between different actors that play key role in SDGs implementation.
As Nigerian celebrates the UN Day the message is for all and sundry to team up together, work for the survival of the world, shun violence, support government institutions to build a stronger nation, shun destruction of government properties and maintain them. The celebration is expected to parade the presence of members of the Diplomatic Corps top government functionaries, unveiling of SDGs Ambassadors and exhibition of SDGs related products and innovations amongst others.
Also, with the celebration focusing on creative and innovative solutions to tackle poverty, it is imperative for all development partners and stakeholders to unite and seek common approach to achieve SDGs.
Janet McDickson is the Head, Information & Communications in the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (OSSAP-SDGs)