The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or the 2030 Agenda, is the successor of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and has a timeline ranging from the year 2015 to 2030. Consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets, the SDGs aim to address the root causes of some of the most pressing environmental, social, and economic problems being faced by the world.
For Bangladesh, a country that performed particularly well on the MDGs, the SDGs present a great opportunity to build on the progress made with the MDGs and make transformational changes that can help boost the country’s overall development. The highly ambitious SDGs have 17 goals touching all sectors, from education and health to building sustainable infrastructure. Although the wide scope of the agenda has the potential to see greater change, it also faces substantial barriers. For Bangladesh, some of the main barriers include the effects of climate change, which can potentially offset the achievements of many of these SDG targets, and another is the lack of funding mechanisms for implementing necessary actions.
The impacts of climate change will be of concern for a country like Bangladesh, which is already vulnerable to environmental effects. Given the influence the Climate Agenda and the 2030 Agenda have on each other, they play a significant role in the success of one another. As such, while addressing the SDGs it is of key importance to implement national plans and policies that incorporate SDG targets as well as climate action.
Financing the SDGs is also a critical issue for Bangladesh, as most of the funding needs to be from domestic resources. It is estimated that implementation of the SDGs will cost Bangladesh on average about US$66.32 billion annually between 2017 and 2030. For the implementation to be successful, it needs a variety of financial resources: public and private, national and international, concessional and non-concessional. It is also important to establish a framework that can ensure that climate finance is new and additional to official development assistance (ODA) pledges and addresses issues of financial accountability and good governance.
For Bangladesh to be as successful in achieving the Sustainability Development Goals, as it was the Millennium Development Goals, the county will need to treat climate change as a cross-cutting issue that will affect the ability to attain any of the other goals. Only through developing national plans of action that are focused on climate resilience and implementing effective financial mechanisms will it be possible for Bangladesh to fulfil these transformational goals.