Nepal seeks international support to achieve SDGs

Published On: September 25, 2019 06:55 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

NEW YORK, Sept 25: As Nepal struggles to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from internal resources, officials have sought support from the international community for achieving SDGs at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Seeking international support for Nepal and other least developed countries is among various priorities of Nepal to achieve the 2030 target of the SDGs on various 17 sectors including health, education, economic prosperity, clean water and environment, and gender equality among other targets, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali told Republica.

Gyawali, the head of the Nepali delegation to the UN 74th General Assembly, said that Nepal will insist on cooperation, multilateralism and international investments in the country to achieve the SDGs during the general assembly.

“Achieving all targets of the SDGs is really a tough task for the countries like Nepal given the demographic topography,” Gyawali told Republica. “We will insist on multilateral efforts to achieve the goals based on the UN member states’ commitment to ‘leaving no one behind’ while adopting the 2030 agenda.”

To achieve the SDGs, Nepal will need to make an average investment of Rs 2,024.8 billion per year until 2030, according to the latest report by the National Planning Commission (NPC) ‘Needs Assessment, Costing and Financing Strategy for Nepal’s Sustainable Development Goals. NPC has said that the country will have to spend a total of Rs 30,384 billion to attain the SDGs, and the financing gaps for SDGs in public and private sectors is estimated to be Rs 218 billion and Rs 367 billion, respectively.

The UN has organized a High-Level Political Forum on SDGs for Tuesday and Wednesday to review the progress and challenges four years after adopting the 2030 agenda from 70th session of the UNGA in 2015.

A high-level political event, known as general debate in the UNGA, is scheduled to kickstart tonight (Tuesday) at the UN Headquarters in New York. However, the 74th session of the general assembly begun from September 17 with the climate youth summit. 

Foreign Minister Gyawali is scheduled to address the general assembly on September 30, as Prime Minister KP Oli abstained from attending the mega event.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Upendra Yadav also solicited support for the countries like Nepal to achieve the health-related targets on SDGs while addressing the High-Level Political Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the UN Headquarters on Monday.

“Considering political and socio-economic circumstances, geographical location and religious beliefs, UHC must be tailored to a specific country’s needs,” Yadav said. “The LDCs in particular are hit hard by inequalities, inadequacies and lack of resources and knowledge. But many have demonstrated progressive realization toward Universal Health Coverage despite challenges. The sustainability of the progress and its acceleration require an enhanced international support.”

Stating that Nepal successfully reduced child mortality and maternal mortality to 39 per 1,000 live births and 239 per 100,000 live births respectively, and controlled a number of communicable diseases posing threat to public health, Yadav said international support will be crucial for the efforts of countries like Nepal.

“I am confident that our efforts will be complemented with enhanced level of international cooperation. Only a genuine partnership could complement capacity, technology and other constraints facing us. Only a genuine partnership leads the world toward achieving UHC,” he added. 

Last year, Nepal had deferred its plan of graduation from the LDC to Developing Countries status fearing cuts in foreign aid. UN Department of Economic and Social had in 2015 considered Nepal as eligible for graduation to developing country status.

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