16-18 March 2019 I Islamabad, Pakistan – UCLG ASPAC and partner institutions in Pakistan are gearing up the preparatory work for a flagship initiative that will significantly accelerate the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country.

“Localisation of SDGs” refers to a robust process of involving sub-national and local stakeholders in all SDGs-related work, ranging from setting priorities to developing plans, determining means of implementation, allocating resources as well as tracking progress. SDGs consist of 17 thematic Goals under the Global Agenda 2030, which serves as an overarching framework for countries to work towards long-lasting benefits of their citizens and global community as a whole. It is acknowledged that more than 65% of its targets must be implemented at local level. Without meaningful engagement with local governments, most if not all of SDGs will unlikely be achieved.

Realising this essential requirement, UCLG ASPAC will soon launch “LEAD for SDGs,” a long-term project to strengthen Local Empowerment, Advocacy and Development for SDGs Localisation in Pakistan. While Pakistan was among the very first countries to adopt the Agenda 2030 and establish national mechanisms including the Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs, to institutionalise the SDGs implementation, significant support is needed to speed up the progress on SDGs at local level.

With the funding from the European Union (EU), and in partnership with the Association for Development Local Governance (ADLG), the project will assist local governments and other stakeholders in Balochistan and Sindh provinces in translating the national policies and plans to localise SDGs into concrete actions. The project’s cooperation with the Local Council Association of Balochistan (LCAB) and the Local Association of Sindh (LCAS) will ensure effective impacts of the project’s activities in the two provinces.

During her mission in Islamabad, UCLG ASPAC Secretary General Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi met with ADLG President Rajan Sultan to take stock of the progress made during the project’s preparatory phase, which includes the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pakistan’s Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs on 18 March 2019. Commenting on the importance of this partnership, Secretary General Bernadia expressed that “We are proud to welcome the Parliamentary Task Force on SDGs as our key partner in LEAD project. Through the Task Force’s strategic guidance and political support, our project’s activities will fit into the national plans and actions. As importantly, our work with various stakeholders at the forefront of local level will provide important contribution to Pakistan’s SDGs implementation, including in evaluating its progress.”

LEAD for SDGs is a four-year project, starting from March 2019 which aims to tackle some of the strategic challenges, in order to foster enabling environment for SDGs localisation in two geographical areas: Balochistan Province and Sindh Province. The project’s design and activities took into account UCLG ASPAC’s prior work in the country and consultations with its members. A wide-range of activities will be rolled out to strengthen local-level advocacy work, empower local governments with technical expertise, build local leadership in the SDGs implementation, and mobilise support from other sectors in the society. An online knowledge hub will also be set up to share information on SDGs, disseminate knowledge acquired from the project’s activities, as well as facilitate communications among all stakeholders.