Capacity building to achieve sustainable development goals

Framing the policies and programmes are very important to achieve benefits for integrated areas of social, economic and environmental development of the country

Sustainable development is a trans-boundary issue while the value of sustainability efforts is same at local, national, regional and global level. One of the most significant efforts in working towards sustainable development is a meaningful partnership between government body, non-government sector and the civil society. Despite the nations, our common motto is to save the planet as we have already fixed our shared goals led by the United Nations. According to the UN, the future directions for achieving SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) should be based on a shared vision that connect the planet people into a centre, leading to develop a global partnership. Strengthening a global partnership is an agenda, declared a separate goal of SDGs (goal no. 17), which principles are independently very much important to achieve other goals in the UN sustainable development mission.
Under the guiding principles of the goal 17, there are some key areas where the partnership of the different implementing body can be developed: finance, technology, capacity building, trade and systemic issue (policy and institutions; multi-stakeholder partnership; and data, monitoring and accountability). Among these areas, all kinds of partnership promote capacity building of the stakeholders which is considered as the centre of the knowledge sharing platform. Therefore, capacity building is continually centered to review the local, national and global partnership for sustainable development. Capacity building for sustainable development is urgently needed to mobilize, convey and unfasten the transformative authority of sustainability efforts at individual, societal and institutional level.
It is very hard to exaggerate the need for capacity building that will enable the authority of the government and non-government to advance planning, designing and implementation practices. In the context of building a capacity in sustainable development, the developed countries are already being in better condition with sufficient finance, latest technology, good governance and overall the good systematic issues like infrastructure and policy implica­tions. Therefore, being a citizen of Bangladesh, our capacity-building is much more important than the importance of capacity building in the developed countries. For capacity building in our context, we need to consider the framework first as different strategic frameworks have already been widely developed globally. In the capacity building, the considerable process can be very concrete across the four systematic areas: stakeholder participation in strategy planning and decision making; integrated planning, analysis and policies through vertical and horizontal alignment and partnerships; framing crosscutting policies that would facilitate countries and the region; and monitoring, evaluation, reporting, and accountability processes either in individually, institutional or community level. This is a primary strategic framework for capacity building and the pathways of this framework activity can be accomplished on how the implementing process and gaps in these four themes are identified and, or recommended.
Now, we can briefly elaborate the above mentioned four themes in a strategic framework on what are the different processes that build our capacity to set and implement the policy for sustainable development?
A multi-stakeholder process in decision making process: Any decision of the civil society and stakeholders is important in order to minimize the major gap or differences between the existing governance system and practices. Our ideal future is comprised of SDGs where the ultimate objective is settled down for the wellbeing of common people. Therefore, the choice, comment or feedback of any citizen is initially necessary to develop an institutional framework considering strategy, policy and guidelines for implementation. But, in reality of the country’s present situation, participation of common citizens is usually ignored in the decision making process and as a result, people do not respect, or grow ownership on any new policy adopted for their betterment. Multi-stakeholders engagement in policy making process can increase the participants’ knowledge about the planet and the process of their future existence on this planet.
Integrated planning, analysis and policies: In context of Bangladesh, or any other developing countries like Bangladesh, what the features of the integrated development planning would be required considering the objectives of the capacity building to achieve SDGs? The process of the integration should be in line with the vertical and horizontal partnership. Integrating sustainable development seeks for the triangular partnership between the government, private and the civil society at local, national, regional and global level with a respect to the vertical and horizontal alliance. The strong horizontal partnership can be established among the different planning sectors of the country including economic, environment, and social planning sectors. Vertical relationships will be established at the same time between the national and sub-national bodies include the divisions, districts, upazillas, union, village and communities. By the process of this framework, capacity building will be enhanced among all the stakeholders enga­ged in both ways of horizontally and vertically.
Framing crosscutting policies: Framing the policies and programs is very important to achieve co-benefits for integrated areas of social, economic and environmental development of the country. This step would facilitate capa­city building in the integrated ways of countries and the region. To build capacity across the sectors, such as food, water, and energy can be integrated platform through framing different policies to achieve the food security. A number of different policies can be identified as being liable for a new integrated policy of the country in realizing our SDG targets. Different existing policies include: social development policies (education, poverty, capacity building, health, ICT, human settlement, tourism and culture); infrastructural development (housing, roads etc) policies, renewable energy policy; environ­mental management policies etc.
Research, monitoring, evaluation, reporting, and accountability processes: What and how the research, monitoring, evaluation, reporting and accountability processes should be maintained? This process is very important over the output of strategic framework and institutions which could continually improve the society and adapt over time. But, in fact, we have not achieved quality standards in almost all of these parameters. The initiating scenario of these actions is a functional aspect in our capacity building by exchanging our data, findings, knowledge and experiences relevant to the SDG targets by 2030. For example, university and industrial sector can exchange their research collaboration and lectureship, government and private sectors can jointly organize a policy making workshop over their self actions and findings, and so on. The need for skilled research, monitoring, reporting, and accountability has been identified as critical for innovation in planning, designing and implementation; and scale-up capacity building for sector-wise sustainable development practices.
Finally, our efficient capacity-building in achieving sustainable development always seeks for the knowledge-sharing needs that are critically required for planning, designing and implementation practices from local to global level. In the proposed framework of capacity building, different mode of actions is given as examples. The advancement of capacity building should be ensured at individual level and the individual capacity would collectively lead the institutions and community. However, in the context of global agreement on SDGs and like many other countries, Bangladesh government may consider establishing a national council or commission for the sustainable development agenda to administer the overall the policy vision for SDGs. This council regulates and leads to develop strategies, policies and action plans for short-term, medium-term and long-term goals of sustainable development. And, the commission reviews and updates strategic plan at intervals ensuring the multi-stakeholder engagement in the process and the review comments from all sectors in situations.

The writer, a researcher on sustainability at BRAC Research and Evaluation Division, can be contacted at: