Launch of Sindh MDG Report - Speech by Marc-André Franche, Country Director, UNDP in Pakistan

19 Jun 2013

Mr. Murad Ali Shah, Finance Advisor to the Government of Sindh
Mr. Nisar Khoro, Senior Minister, Government of Sindh
Mr. Arif Ahmed Khan, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh
Distinguished panellists, ladies and gentlemen!
Assalam o alaikum and a very Good Morning!
It is a great pleasure to be in Karachi today for the launch of Sindh MDG report which is the first MDG report for Sindh province. The Report is being launched at a very appropriate time for a number of reasons.

First, a new provincial government has resumed its responsibilities from the historic transition of power from one elected government to another.

Second, the federal government and the provincial governments have just announced their budgets. It is encouraging to note that budgets, at the federal and provincial levels, make increased provisions for development expenditures – Sindh at 4%.

Third, the new government has an assignment to put aside individual/group interests and work for all citizens of Sindh by strengthening public institutions working in favour of poor.

Pakistan lags behind on most of the MDGs. Out of the 33 indicators for which data is available; progress on 25 indicators is either slow or off track. With the current pace of progress, the country will miss the achievement of most of the MDGs by the year 2015.

It is encouraging to note that progress on a few MDG indicators in Sindh province is above the national average. However, there exist widespread disparities across districts and gender, the female participation progress rate in labor force was established to be 11.4% as compared to 51% for men.

Rising inequalities, across regions and gender, is one of the main development challenges not only for Sindh but for Pakistan and region. While poverty has reduced substantially across the globe – from 1.9 billion people living below the poverty line in 1990 to 1.3 billion people in 2008, income and wealth inequalities, access to productive assets, social outcomes and services remain widespread. Child death rates and stunting have been estimated 2 to 4 times higher for the lowest income quintiles when compared to the highest wealthiest quintiles.

Sindh MDG report therefore very timely and aptly raises the issue of inequality across regions and gender, which the Government of Sindh and development partners should prioritize for their interventions.

While there are important issues at the global and regional levels that affect progress toward MDGs, the pivotal action must be taken at the national and sub-national levels. Each nation is unique, with its own constraints and breakthrough opportunities. However what has been demonstrated at the global level is the importance of frameworks to help each country identify the obstacles to progress and scale up targeted interventions that make a real difference on the ground and sustain momentum towards making sustainable and transformative change.

Some experiences from across the world are partial for Sindh and are crucial.
1. Investing in women and girls has strong multiple benefits for all MDGs.
2. Increasing energy, water and sanitation access has a fundamental impact on MDG measures related to poverty, health and education. At the same time, investing in broad access to clean energy options is critical for a more sustainable, low-carbon future for all.
3. Mere allocation of funds does not guarantee results. The quality of expenses is equally important as quantity.
4. Ability of institutions to deliver and utilize the funds efficiently e.g. speed–up the business process.

I am pleased to know that the Government of Sindh has undertaken and is currently planning a number of interventions to promote human development and progress toward MDGs. Initiatives for social protection, jobs creation for youth, poverty reduction, education reforms etc are commendable interventions. UNDP in Pakistan is committed to provide support to the Governments of Pakistan in number of areas which the Government of Sindh has prioritized in its budget for the year 2013-2014.

Few such areas can be:
1. Data collection and analysis; dialogue on MDG in partnership with SDPC, College for Social Sciences and University of Karachi.
2. Working on MDG Acceleration Framework that includes firstly identifying the MDG indicators that Pakistan is lagging in; secondly, identifying the obstacles in achieving MDG; thirdly identifying the solutions to those obstacles.
3. More importance is given to the youth by the Government of Sindh in order to empower them and up-scale the Skill Enhancement Training Project in the private sector; garment industry as well as other sectors so as to increase employment for youth.

I wish to thank:

  • Government of Sindh, Pakistan;
  • Chief Foreign Aid, P&D;
  • Distinguished panellists;
  • Shakeel Ahmad, UNDP Pakistan;

for your support and for being here today. Shukria!