ASG Haoliang Xu Helps Launch SDGs in AfghanistanSep 5, 2016
September 5 2016, Kabul – Yesterday, on the occasion of the visit to Kabul of UNDP Regional Director in Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Haoliang Xu, the Ministry of Economy (MoEC) of the Government of Afghanistan hosted a roundtable discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In front of press and representatives of several UN agencies, the Minister of Economy, Mr. Abdul Sattar Murad, along with senior representatives from the various government line ministries, spelled out the government’s commitment to achieving the SDG goals, and thanked UNDP for its ongoing support.
In his opening remarks, the Minister highlighted that, through UNDP support, national level coordination mechanisms around the SDGs were already established and the process of nationalization of the SDGs had been launched.
Haoliang Xu, the UNDP Regional Director, expressed his appreciation for the commitment of the Afghan Government towards the SDG agenda. Mr. Xu emphasized that the lessons learnt from efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) could help in the achieving the SDGs – for example, consulting with stakeholders early on, and allowing early mainstreaming of the SDGs within the national development plans.
Mr. Xu also emphasized the the importance of partnerships in attaining the SDGs: “National governments alone cannot be expected to attain all the SDGs. SDG attainment is a commitment that will require involvement of all actors including the civil society and the private sector."
After a presentation by the government and remarks from Mr. Xu, the meeting took questions from journalists. Asked about the progress of development in Afghanistan, Mr. Xu said that it was time to take stock of progress achieved, as well as the challenges Afghanistan was facing. “Too often people outside Afghanistan only hear the negative stories. We need to talk about the achievements as well”. Mr. Xu was also optimistic about the role of information technology in helping Afghanistan to grasp future development opportunities.
The Minister of Economy added that, in order to achieve the goals, government, private sector, and civil society all had roles to play. He stated that cooperation was key. The next step for the for the Afghan Government, according to the Minister, would be to align the SDGs with the Afghan National Peace and Development Framework, which would be initiated after the important conference on donor funding to be held in Brussels later this month.
UNDP’s SDG support project was launched in May 2016.