SDGs Citizens Communique

We, the civil society of Pakistan, the members of Pakistan Development Alliance and members of Parliamentary Task Forces on SDGs from all the four provinces and regions of Azad Jamu & Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) gathered in Islamabad on 11th March 2020 at the National Stakeholders Conference on SDGs to re-affirm our strong commitment towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 to achieve better and sustainable future for all.

Citizens’ Watch Pakistan Program on Sustainable Development Goals serves the purpose to strengthen Pakistan’s civil society and Parliamentary Task Forces on SDGs to achieve Agenda 2030 for social transformation. AwazCDS-Pakistan in partnership with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) Pakistan, Parliamentarians Commissions for Human Rights (PCHR) and National, Provincial and Regional Parliamentary Task Forces on SDGs implemented SDGs Citizens’ Watch Program to assess progress on SDGs in 14 districts across Pakistan through SDGs Citizens’ Score Cards.

We, the stakeholders of the program, are convinced that SDGs Citizens’ Watch Pakistan is a central program of CSOs under the aegis of AwazCDS/Pakistan Development Alliance to collect citizen voices and to initiate evidence based assessment to track progress on SDGs targets.

We appreciate;

  • National, Provincial and Regional governments for establishing Parliamentary Task Forces and SDGs Units in their respective provinces and regions of Azad Jamu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan
  • The Federal government for approvals of National Priority Framework on SDGs
  • The Federal government for presenting Voluntary National Review Report at UN HLPF 2019
  • The Federal government for recognizing Citizens’ Voices Report on VNR process at national level during UN HLPF 2019
  • The Punjab government for annexing SDGs indicators with PC-1document to ensure structural progress
  • The Sindh government for alignment of annual budgets with SDGs
  • The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to devolve funds at districts and sub-districts level to ensure localized process and progress on SDGs.
  • The Balochistan government for devising provincial priority framework on SDGs
  • The Azad Jamu & Kashmir government and legislative assembly for adopting SDGs as State Development Agenda as per the endorsements of National Parliament.
  • The Gilgit Baltistan government for initiating the bottom up localization process to develop their SDGs priority framework

We also appreciate

  • CSOs and their alliances / networks particularly Pakistan Development Alliance, and its member organizations as well as partner forums like Parliamentarians Commission for Human Rights for reaching out to citizens, local governments, academia, private sector, media, marginalized & socially excluded groups and other related stakeholders across Pakistan through various programs since the adoption of SDGs.
  • Parliamentarians especially members of Parliamentary Task Forces on SDGs representing national, provincial and regional assemblies for their commitment and determination towards the achievement of SDGs
  • Members and representatives of SDG Units at national, provincial and regional level for extending their support to CSOs as well as doing tireless efforts for developing priority frameworks on SDGs in their respective domain.

We call for;

  • Strengthening advocacy and oversight efforts within National Parliament/ provincial and regional legislative assemblies to further discuss and sensitize the Parliamentarians / Legislatures on SDGs agenda and therefore urge the National Parliament/ provincial and regional legislative assemblies to hold exclusive parliamentary sessions for setting priority development agendas dedicated to 17 SDGs.
  • Ensuring greater partnership, meaningful participation and inclusion of all tiers of government, SDGs Task Forces, international organizations (I) NGOs, CSOs and other stakeholders to develop and implement National/ Provincial/ Regional/ District level priority framework on SDGs.
  • Ensuring inclusion of SDGs targets and indicators as mandatory in Public Sector Development Programs (PSDPs) and Annual Development Plans (ADPs).
  • Increased budgetary allocations for the realization of SDGs in upcoming financial years to advance effectively towards the achievement of agenda 2030.
  • Review National Development Framework on SDGs and identify priority areas on basis of provincial and regional priority frameworks.
  • Formulate Rules of Business and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and plan of action related to SDGs for the parliamentary SDGs Task Force in order to streamline and synergize overall efforts for development.
  • Continuous monitoring and evaluations of initiatives under SDGs at all levels to track progress.
  • Availability of reliable data for all particularly on national, provincial and regional priority targets and indicators of SDGs for appropriate tracking of progress and reporting.
  • Accessibility of CSOs on reliable data sources and public reports for the purpose of advocacy & lobing initiatives, mass sensitization, citizens’ engagement and greater social accountability measures 
  • Functional and empowerment Local Government System at district/ sub-districts level to ensure localization and implementation of SDGs with extended outreach.
  • Creating enabling environment for CSOs for the implementation of SDGs ensuring inclusion of Women, PWDs, minorities, human rights defenders, etc.
  • Adherence of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to ensure social engagement norms and allocate 10 % air time to sensitize masses on SDGs.
  • Formulation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy at national level to align CSR Funds with the SDGs agenda and making sure the utilization of CSR funds in a transparent and accountable manner.
  • Institutionalization of the role of civil society in planning of national, provincial and regional development frameworks and ensuring adequate representation of civil society at all public development forums/ commissions and departments.
  • Establishing a National Commission/ Council on SDGs to review existing and proposed legislation in relation to SDGs agenda; carry out research and advise on policy matters pertaining to national development frameworks; contribute to awareness raising and advocacy initiatives regarding SDGs in the country, and review and report on the national/provincial/regional Task Forces’ performance and monitoring of the progress on SDGs in the country.
  • Strengthening the SDGs Task Force Committee on Child Rights to adopt uniform legislation on child marriages across the country and its implementation in letter and spirit.
  • Revamp education system in Pakistan while keeping the life skills based education system central to the curriculum to ensure sustainability of 2030 agenda in long run.
  • Legislative reforms on domestic violence and child abuse, and provision of inclusive youth friendly health policies and services across the country on emergency basis.
  • Overall enhancement in coordination and networking among all the stakeholders on SDGs.

Special Note on COVID-2019 Outbreak: 

We call for the following immediate actions the governments and citizens’ individually & jointly, 

  • Humanity as a whole, is facing one of its worst crisis with COIVD-2019 outbreak, making us shut down all businesses and even basic human interactions. In these terribly difficult times, we call for the formation of national, provincial and state level coordination and relief committees comprised of experts, elected representatives, civil and military authorities, CSOs and media to tackle this acute crisis.
  • A lot of people are going to be out of work and hence a moratorium to be passed on all forms of evictions; be it due to non payment of rents, confiscation or other punishments due to non payment of loans especially for poor strata of the society. State Bank of Pakistan and other Banks should be asked to be extremely lenient towards small scale borrowers, and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including minimum balance penalties and waving of banking charges. A call should come to surpass the technicalities and make help reach people at this point.
  • Government social welfare schemes like Ehsas Program, Benazir Income Support Program and other companies, institutions, private sector organizations and charitable organizations to be directed to pay at least part of their salaries to all their employees, particularly daily wagers, in form of cash grants.
  • Federal/ provincial and state governments (AJ & K and Gilgit Baltistan) should come up with a subsistence scheme for the poor and needy families across the country
  • Make a commitment and declare that no one will suffer without food or medicine in the country. Establish small enquiry teams to make sure home food delivery to the needy families.
  • Create storage system for agricultural produce along with a system to curb hoarders and make sure the availability of food items and required medicines, sanitizers and other necessary items
  • There are various issues on which struggles are going on in different parts of the country. The government need to address all protestors and give an assurance to each and everyone of them that it will keep all continuous issues out till the Corona Virus emergency is over. The government should also keep aside all decisions that might create fear or antagonism in the minds of the people for now. The entire government machinery of the people should work to keep the people of the country together.