From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The United Nations (UN), has expressed regret that out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), only one is being achieved in Nigeria.
This was even as the United Nations said the other 16 goals, including goal five that has to do with women and gender issues, were either lagging behind or regressing.
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The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mathias Schmale, lamented the development during the closing ceremony of a two-day training of journalists on SDGs in Abuja organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and the Media Awareness and Information for All Network (MAIN).
Reflecting on the setbacks on most of the goals in Nigeria, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator canvassed the need to step up efforts toward addressing the issues involved, particularly the enhancement of the status of women.
Schmale said: “This is taking place in the context of the strategic development goals. As you know, the world, including Nigeria, has committed to 17 strategic development goals. We are in the middle as a United Nations team in Nigeria to define a new strategic development cooperation framework with government for the next five years.
“And what is important, maybe, to take on board, is that so far, sadly, only one of the 17 development goals is being achieved in Nigeria. The other 16, including Goal Five that has to do with women and gender issues are either lagging behind or regressing.
“So, I think two things are key in my mind – one is that we agree with government on some transformative initiatives. We cannot just continue business as usual. We have to change the way we work and up the game. So, we are in the middle of trying to define what transformative initiatives are.”
Schamale further said the stakeholders’ consultations with the media will progress, while also calling on the media not to relent in thinking through and explain the current issues to Nigerians.
“Part of realizing the new development cooperation framework will be by working with all parts of society.
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“As United Nations, we are an intergovernmental body; our job is, we are here at the invitation of the government since many decades. Our job is to support the government to realize its own development.
“But I think most of us realize now that no one can solve the enormous problems of the 80 million people in Nigeria living below the poverty line,” Schmale added.
Schamale further noted the huge challenges and huge crisis going on in the country, particularly with the 23 million unemployed people, environmental and energy challenges.
He also said the United Nations was aware that the government cannot solve the problems alone and even the United Nations cannot solve the problems alone, but needed important partnerships.
Earlier, an elated Schmale expressed joy that Nigerian women have made phenomenal progress in various spheres of life.
He specifically singled out the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed and the Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and a host of other women who are Chief Executive Officers in the banking sector and in other areas in the private sector.
He however called on Nigerian leaders to address the issues of marginalization of women in both representative and appointive positions.