The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been arisen as a furtherimprovement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Sustainable DevelopmentGoals (SDGs) includes a set of seventeen aspirational “Global Goals” with 169targets and 244 indicators between them. It is officially known as “Transformingour world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. It was adopted bythe 194 Member States of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
The SDGs aim atcompleting the unfinished task of the MDGs and also include targets on areasthat have deteriorated or become more challenging since the turn of thecentury, including rising income disparities within countries, insecure andlow-paid employment, climate change and environmental degradation. The Government of Sri Lanka anticipates achieving the SDGs by 2030working towards the provision of basic needs of the people, progressivealleviation of poverty, elimination of all forms of discrimination andinequalities, and establishing a society based on social justice and humansecurity. The Economic Policy of the Government outlines the vision setting the’stage for a sustainable development journey’. The Policy aims todevelop ‘an economy that will promote the benefits of development among all. Aneconomy that will be friendly to all, beneficial to all. An economy that willpave the way for sustainable development’.
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While running to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)every government will have to face for some issues and challenges. Plnr. GayaniRansingha, who is the expert in the planning field, was interviewed to identifythose clearly. She is a lecturer in Department of Town & Country PlanningDepartment in University of Moratuwa and work as Project Consultant ofPreparation of Disaster risk Reduction and Preparedness Plan. According to herpoint of view identified key issues and challenges in Sri Lanka are as below. 1.
Inadequate and no reliable dataTo enablewell-informed decision-making and support the implementation of the 2030Agenda, it is important to provide timely, relevant and high-qualityinformation that could foster and monitor development progress. Though it’s like that, critical data are still lacking and knowledge gapsremain, with many people and groups, particularly the most vulnerable andmarginalized, still not being measured . It isestimated that as many as 350 million people worldwide have been neglected byhousehold surveys.
For instance, on the goal ofmaternal mortality, only 11 percent of developing countries have available data.Most of the time the data in institutions are expiredand they are not 100% correct, because when consider about population some maynot have registered their births and deaths. As well as the data collected bysurveys regarding to gender,age, income, location, education or disability alsocannot consider as reliable data because there are many false and fake answersgiven by public. Hence these non-reliable data policy makers will mislead andwill make wrong decisions and it would be an issue for achieving SDGs. 2.
Changing and failures in economic policyThis is a common scenario which faces by public because of election. Whenelected party come to the management they neglect the previous developmentplans of former government and try to bring new economic policy into the action.Every government thinks to rule the country longer period and therefore theymake economic policies for years.
Unfortunately some parties defeat and have togive up the power. This happens like a circle and most of the economic policiescouldn’t reach to its target and fail in the middle of the process. Therefore asa country it would be barrier to achieve the goals of Sustainable Developments. 3. Uncertainties like disastersForsustainability, economic growth must also be “green”, simultaneously creating employmentand reducing negative environmental impacts. With the rapid physicaldevelopment people just think about only the profit not about the environment. Hencenatural disasters have increased with the time. As a country, the governmenthas an economic policy to develop the country.
Sustainable Development Goalsalways bound around the economic aspect of the country. With the happening ofnatural disasters the growth of economy will be goes down and expected goals ofSustainable Development won’t be able to achieve within the targeted timeperiod while others do. 4. Advancement of technology decrease the jobopportunitiesWhiletechnologies have provided innovative solutions to many development problems,they have also added new challenges and risks. Rapid technological change hasbeen destroying jobs faster than creating them, while polarizing workopportunities and incomes. Despite high productivity and innovation, the medianincome and number of jobs have fallen.
Moreover, technological innovations posea risk of reducing or even replacing human labour. The global robot populationis expected to double to four million by 2020, which will affect economies,businesses and societies globally. Robots and 3D printers in particular areexpected to replace many jobs in manufacturing, the automotive industry and thesale and distribution of goods, while by 2025 computers could do the work of140 million knowledge workers. Forecasts of labour market changes caused byinnovation in artificial intelligence suggest that 30 percent of middle-incomejobs could be eliminated. As a result of this income of the people will be shutin. hence that poverty will be increase.
So while reaching to one goal, theother goals will goes down. So advancement of technology decrease the jobopportunities and it will affect severely to achieve SDGs specially a countrylike Sri Lanka. 5.
Limited access to social protection and basicservicesSocialprotection in terms of having gender equality, less aging population, less shrinkinglabour forces by strengthening their social protection systems, includingpensions. In high-income countries, where improvements in life expectancy areexpected to slow down, policies may focus on ensuring universal access toquality healthcare services that include prevention, cure and care, as well asimprovements in health-related behaviours. Though it’s like that, in Sri Lankastill have some people who cannot access to quality health care services, qualityeducation services and decent employment opportunities. As well as genderdisparity also still can be seen in many parts of the Sri Lanka.
This limitedaccess to social protection and basic services will be the directly affectingchallenge to impede of achieving SDGs. 6. Weak institutions and governanceA largeproportion of people living in poverty have limited access to social protectionand basic services.
The challenge here will be not only to provide resourcesand services needed to raise people above the poverty line, particularly thosewho are furthest behind, but also to ensure that they do not fall back and thatthey remain out of poverty, particularly in times of crises and shocks. Forthat there should be strong institutional support as well as good governancewith strong economy. 7. Political Inequality An importantdimension of inequalities that has implications for sustainable development ispolitical inequalities, which entails disparities in the distribution ofpolitical opportunities and power among groups. They also include inequalitiesin people’s capabilities to participate politically, in human rights and therule of law. Due to this reason most of foreign investments have been abstainto invest in Sri Lanka.
So it’s been challenge to reach SDGs smoothly.