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Experts suggest creating SDGs Trust Fund for NGOs

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Economic Reporter :
Convener of the Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya on Thursday urged the government to create a SDGs Trust Fund with Tk 100 crore for implementing the 2030 global agenda in the country through non-government organisations (NGOs).
"The government should form a Tk 100 crore SDGs Trust Fund ...the NGOs will spend money from the fund maintaining accountability and a structure," he told the inaugural event of a daylong conference in the capital.
The NGO Affairs Bureau and the Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh jointly arranged the conference titled 'Role of NGOs in Implementation of SDGs in Bangladesh' at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Dr Bhattacharya, also a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said it is not possible for the government to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depending only on foreign assistance. The government must make allocations for it, he added.
Emphasising a partnership between government and civil society organisations for implementing the ambitious agenda, he said the government will have to make budgetary allocations for implementing the SDGs through partnership.
However, Chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad said the SDGs trust fund should be formed with at least Tk 1,000 crore instead of only Tk 100 crore.
Noting that the SDGs are being implemented at four levels -- local, national, regional and international, Dr Ahmad said Bangladesh needs to focus on regional cooperation, particularly establishing its water rights and generation of hydropower.
The PKSF Chairman said it is not possible to attain the sustainable development leaving some marginalised groups like physically-challenged people, Dalit and coastal and island people behind.
Principal Coordinator for SDG Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office Md Abul Kalam Azad suggested the NGOs to fix their own targets and work out action plans to participate in the implementation process of SDGs.
The government, he said, will consider the formation of SDGs trust fund. It cannot implement the SDGs without the participation of NGOs, he added.
Azad proposed the NGO Affairs Bureau to create a unified form to estimate the contributions of NGOs to development. "Every NGO should voluntarily write its contributions in the form so that the Bureau can consolidate the contributions of all the NGOs."
Member (GED) of the Planning Commission Prof Shamsul Alam also suggested the NGOs to design SDGs related effective programmes adding that the government will have no problem to finance the programmes.
He said the government has already identified implementing agencies and sources of finance for the SDGs' implementation.
Noting that the ministries are now working out their respective action plans, he said, "So far, 24 ministries have submitted their action plans, while the remaining ones will do so within June next."
Director General of NGO Affairs Bureau Khandakar Rakibur Rahman presided over the inaugural session of the conference.

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