Bangladesh second-best performer in SDGs

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Saarc-flags-640Bangladesh has performed better in attaining the SAARC Development Goals (SDGs) after Sri Lanka compared to other South Asian countries thanks to its achievements in controlling fertility rate. The fertility rate (children per woman) in Bangladesh in 2011 was 2.2, followed by 2.3 in Sri Lanka and Bhutan, 2.6 in India, 2.7 in Nepal and 3.4 in Pakistan, according to a report unveiled here on Sunday.

The General Economics Division (GED) of the Planning Commission launched the report, titled ‘SAARC Development Goals: Bangladesh Country Report 2013’, at a ceremony held at the NEC conference room in the city.

The report highlights the current trends of achieving the goals and future policy interventions in attaining the set targets. It shows that Bangladesh has been convincingly moving towards achieving some goals, while some of the goals can be attained with pushed efforts.

However, achievement of some goals may require more resources or time.

Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal spoke on the occasion as the chief guest while Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, State Minister for Finance MA Mannan and Deputy Country Director of UNDP in Bangladesh Nick Beresford spoke as guests of honour.

GED member of the Planning Commission Dr Shamsul Alam made the keynote presentation while Planning Division Secretary Bhuiyan Shafiqul Islam and former caretaker government Adviser Rasheda K Chowdhury also spoke at the ceremony.

The report showed that regarding life expectancy at birth (years) in 2011, Sri Lanka was the star performer with 75 years, followed by Bangladesh and Nepal 69 years, Bhutan 67 years, and India and Pakistan 65 years. In terms of infant mortality rate (per 1000 live birth) in 2011, Sri Lanka is again the best performer with 11, followed by Bangladesh 37, Nepal 39, Bhutan 42, India 47 and Pakistan 59. On Under-5 mortality rate (1000 live birth) in 2011, the Island nation of Sri Lanka continued to maintain its best position with 12, followed by Bangladesh 46, Nepal 48, Bhutan 54, India 61 and Pakistan 72.

The ‘SAARC Development Goals: Bangladesh Country Report 2013’ also showed that Sri Lanka gained success in maternal mortality ratio (100000 live birth) in 2010 with 35, followed by 170 in Nepal, 180 in Bhutan, 200 in India, 240 in Bangladesh, and 260 in Pakistan.

Regarding infant immunization (measles) in 2011, the rate was also highest among the South Asian countries with Sri Lanka 99 percent, followed by Bangladesh 96 percent, Bhutan 95 percent, Nepal 88 percent and Pakistan 80 percent.

The report also highlighted that in terms of GDP per capita purchasing power parity, Bhutan is the star performer followed by Sri Lanka as in case of access to improved sanitation, Sri Lanka is the star performer followed by Bangladesh. While making the presentation, GED Member Prof Shamsul Alam said Bangladesh has demonstrated its capacity in achieving the goal of poverty eradication within the timeframe, though attaining hunger and nutritional wellbeing still remains a huge challenge. He also said that Bangladesh aspires to achieve the SDGs and MDGs in an accelerated way, where regional cooperation and understanding can play a vital role. Speaking as the chief guest, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the government aims at freeing the country from hunger by 2030 when Bangladesh would turn as a knowledge-based country.

Referring to the concern of some of the speakers that the dropout rate of female students is on the rise, especially in higher secondary level for lack of separate toilets, he said that a project would be undertaken through which separate toilets for male and female students would be built in every educational institutions of the country.

The Daily Sun

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