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Nigeria is currently ahead of its target in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, has said.

Orelope-Adefulire told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that Nigeria was making a lot of progress in the implementation of the global goals.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Government office organised an event at the UN General Assembly on: ‘Pathway to Localising a Global Agenda’ on the margins of the ongoing UN General Assembly.

The SDGs are a successor programme to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with a collection of 17 global goals and 169 targets set by the UN General Assembly to transform the world.

It is also referred to as ‘the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, SDGs implementation is a 15-year plan, which commenced on Jan. 1, 2016 and would end on Dec. 31, 2030.

The SDGs cover social and economic development issues namely: poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanisation, environment and social justice.

The presidential aide said: “We are making a lot of progress and we are not doing badly in the implementation of the SDGs.

“Within three years, we have bench marked ourselves as a government and know where we are.

“We are ahead of where we should be for now and we are in the process of coordination and mobilisation and advocacy and sensitisation of the Nigerian people to see SDGs as their own, to love SDGs, to dream SDGs and to promote SDGs”.

Orelope-Adefulire explained that Nigeria was not swallowing all the goals and targets hook, line and sinker but was prioritising the goals as they concerned Nigeria.

According to her, addressing some of the goals, like Goal 16, would also lead to addressing the others in some ways.

“We talk about 17 goals but there are other crucial goals among the 17 goals that would make other goals realisable – we talked about Goal 16, which is ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’.

“The strong institution that was embedded in Goal 16 is the major driver for the attainment of SDGs because if you have good laws and policies that align with SDGs, then your job is simple.

“Because if you don’t have a strong institution and you don’t align SDGs into policies and programmes both at private or government sector, then you are not going anywhere.

“If you align the policy and the frameworks to SDGs, then there would be peace because you know that if you look for trouble or create violence or promote violence, you are going to pay for it.

“There need for strong institution. Strong institution talks about formation of law, that the vulnerable and the poor of the poor would have justice and anybody that want to trample on their rights would be put to justice.”

The presidential aide explained that the Nigeria Government had set up the SDGs platform with action plan and the framework developed.

Orelope-Adefulire said government had also worked on the partners like the launch of the private sector advisory group saying it would two years in February 2019.

“We have the donor partnership forum also that has been commissioned and the civil society strategy group; we have the youth, women organisations, and the academia.

“These platforms are to work with the government maximally to be able to achieve sustainable development.

“Individual group of people, government and other stakeholders have a role to play and that’s the reason why this agenda comes as a robust and all inclusive agenda,” she said.

The former Lagos State Deputy Governor said the MDGs failed because it was government-driven, lacked ownership and commitment, and worked in silos.

Unlike the MDGs, however, she said “this time around, everybody was working together to see how quickly we can make lives more meaningful for everybody”.

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