19 October 2017

Ethiopia: How Well Positioned Is Ethiopia to Achieve SDGs?

Ethiopia has attained most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that has effectively proven its adaptability to other global development goals. The question however is, how well positioned is the country to emulate the success in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) amid global financial constraints and persistent climate change?

Generally speaking, some experts predict difficulties in successfully implementing SDGs due to its generic nature. But countries like Ethiopia, with preplanned national plans and the same expected outcomes, would find it easier to synchronize the goals with their domestic agendas and have a better chance of meeting the targets.

Most importantly, Ethiopia's five year plan, GTP II, cannot be more compatible with the grand objectives of SDGs making it a lot easier for the country to bring about the global targets.

Having huge natural and human resource, the country is very well positioned to fulfill the goals. If the nation maintains its progress made in the early stages of SDGs and manages the nexus among the different sectors efficiently, it is more likely to be among the favorites to meet the goals, says Dr. Francois Fortier, United Nations' Sustainable Development Policy and Planning Inter-Regional Adviser.

Due to the complexity and nature of the goals, countries may have to come up with additional mechanism and tools to identify progress and challenges, which Ethiopia is taking a leading initiative on.

The country is also among the leading countries in coming forward to voluntarily report its review of SDGs implementation, he underscores.

Countries may have to nationalize or contextualize SDGs but Ethiopia has already done it with its successive national plans, states Dr. Fortier.

"We need to step up international efforts to continue mobilizing global finance and climate funds. But with some challenges jeopardizing climate related agreements and funds while the world faces enormous humanitarian crises, countries may have to mobilize local capacities and promote domestic financial sources".

For Dr. Fortier, Countries should not excessively depend on global fund. There are plenty of national sources of funds. That is exactly what Ethiopia is doing by trying to exploit natural resources such as its hydro-power funds. This move provides the country with hard currency and resilient energy sources. "That is what we need to scale up. However, just like the goals, it also requires sustainability in terms of finance, capacity building and coordination."

For Ethiopia has successfully embraced GTP I and MDGs harmoniously, it could turn out to be a lot conducive for the country to repeat success in SDGs, as they are global phenomena that every nation should undergo with a stronger commitment and resources, says Dr. Semu Ayalew Lecturer at Addis Ababa University Institute of Technology.

"Achieving global development goals is all about preparing sound national policies and commitment, to which Ethiopia stands firm for. Besides collectively designing the goals, the country has shown strong commitment to voluntarily review and report its implementation of the SDGs."

This would help the country to draw significant experience to adjust its efforts. In fact, though much remains ahead, the nation is making early progress in achieving the goals, notes Dr. Semu.

The country is getting itself into a better position to meet SDGs. The issue of sustainability is a call of the day. Historical evidences show that civilization collapses due to unsustainability, underscores, Dr. Semu.

"The holistic yet easiest way to achieve sustainability then is to properly implement and manage the SDGs. That is why; nations are currently working to mainstream SDGs with their national development goals. Fortunately, Ethiopia has already done that and will continue to prioritize it."

SDGs call for carefully selected means of implementations and an integrated approach. So other than designing tailored tools and treating means of implementations separately for each and every sector, it would be more effective to integrate the different sectors through the proper linking strategies, says Dr. Seleshi Bekele Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity.

According to him Ethiopia is highly engaged in consultations with other stakeholders to identify the right tools of implementation and is making an early progress towards attaining the goals, however it is early to talk about it years away from the full period. During implementation period, SDGs need to be supported with proper strategies. Accordingly, Ethiopia recognizes this and would continue to work with other bodies.

Emboldened by the remarkable success stories and lessons learnt during MDGs, Ethiopia remains as robust as it has been to meet the SDGs, where it is actively contributing to preparation of strategies and additional means of implementation to meet global targets. And the country is voluntarily presenting its national reviews of SDGs. This in turn would be vital to draw lessons while the implementation is underway, the Minister states.

Having already tried and tested national polices, Ethiopia is likely to meet SDGs, the successor of MDGs that has 17 goals and a total of 169 targets, with enormous opportunities and fertile grounds around the corner.


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