Balochistan Is Seriously Behind In Terms Of Achieving Sustainable Development Goals – OpEd
On September 15, 2015, all UN member states unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a universal roadmap for peace and prosperity for people and the planet today and in the future. The SDGs are the universal vision of the world, from which it is aimed to develop the world in terms of social, economic, political, cultural, environmental, education, and wellbeing. The notion of SDGs is drawn from the Brundtland Commission’s Study, which states that “development should meet present-day requirements without jeopardizing the next generation’s interests.”
Pakistan is one of the countries that has assured to meet the SDGs by 2030. Pakistan’s government has developed a National Action Plan for SDGs, which sets out essential indicators and targets for accomplishing the goals.
Balochistan’s government additionally developed a Provincial Development Strategy that highlights key areas and determines for achieving the SDGs. The plan provides strategies for encouraging inclusive economic growth, reducing poverty and inequality, enhancing access to education and health, protecting the environment, and promoting gender equality and social justice.
However, progress toward the SDGs has been very slow and uneven in Balochistan. The province faces significant challenges in achieving the SDGs, such as corruption, bad governance, failure of institutions, funding, infrastructure, political stability, social and cultural norms, and the weak capacity of government employees.
The province lags very far in all goals, and it seems that no credible governance system exists in Balochistan, the living standards of people are not changing, and all indicators of the SDGS are getting worse day by day.
In terms of Goal 1 (No Poverty), Balochistan has the highest poverty rate as compared with other provinces, with an estimated 71.5% of the population living below the poverty line. Poverty is a major issue in Balochistan, particularly in rural areas where access to basic necessities such as education, health, and infrastructure is limited. In addition, the income disparity is serious.
Regarding Goal 2 (Zero Hunger), Balochistan has substantial food insecurity challenges, with more than half of the population suffering from chronic hunger. According to the Pakistan National Human Development Report 2022, 42% of the population is facing food insecurity, and 41% of severely stunted growth in children under the age of five is due to malnutrition.
In terms of Goal 3 (Good Health and well-being), Balochistan’s health situation is also comparatively poor. Balochistan has high rates of infant mortality (63 deaths per 1000 live births) and maternal mortality (298 per 100,000 live births) and an absence of medical facilities and professionals. Balochistan’s health lags substantially behind that of the rest of the provinces. Nearly, 7,000 patients suffering from HIV/AIDS in Balochistan. Province suffers from serious infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis and has a low life expectancy.
Balochistan is an unfortunate province in terms of education, which has always been neglected when it comes to Goal 4 (Quality Education). Today, the province’s population is mostly illiterate. The current education percentage of Balochistan is between 39 and 44, which is a very alarming situation. As per the UNICEF report, Balochistan is also facing a school dropout problem of about 60 to 70 percent, which is the highest in the entire country. This is especially common among girls, with outdated traditions being a major contributing cause. Balochistan has approximately 12,500 schools, according to various estimates. 7,000 of them do not have roofs and are in poor condition. And 1800 schools are dysfunctional and ineffective. Furthermore, 6000 schools are administered by single teachers, and 2200 schools lack basic utilities such as drinking water, toilet rooms, and so on.
In terms of Goal 5 (Gender Equality and Empower all Women), Balochistan has a very negative perspective regarding women’s empowerment and gender equality. The percentage of female education in Balochistan is only 28%, which is quite low, Apart from Makran division and a few other areas in the province, women are considered inferior in the name of culture. They don’t get rights for getting education. In addition, Balochistan has a high rate of early marriage for girls (17%), which is another problem. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, women represent only about 9% of the labor force, which is extremely low in this province.
In terms of Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), Balochistan’s situation in terms of access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities is not satisfactory. A report by the Pakistan National Human Development Report 2022 mentioned that around 39% of people in the province do not have access to clean drinking water, which is the lowest in the country, and the highest rate of people without access to sanitation facilities is at 25%. Additionally, a significant portion of the population, particularly those who live in villages, practice open defecation.
In terms of Goal 8 (Economic Growth), Balochistan is a resource-rich province, although it is the poorest economically. In fact, no economic planning exists in the province. As I mentioned earlier, 71 percent of the province’s population lives below the poverty line. while the province’s unemployment rate is 7.7 percent. In addition, the province’s human development is the worst in the country. Balochistan is in the grip of a serious economic catastrophe that is quite weak according to all SDG measures.
Goal No. 13: Balochistan is experiencing the effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. The economy, environment, and social well-being of the province are seriously threatened by climate change. Flooding, droughts, heat waves, and earthquakes are some of the climate-related threats that put the province at risk. These changes are predicted to have a significant impact on agriculture, livestock, and human health.
Balochistan’s development rankings are rapidly getting worse, and the provincial government has failed to improve the economy, health, education, environment, and other sectors. Lack of proper and need-based planning, political uncertainty, corruption, poor institutional management, poor governance, and special funds from MPs have all harmed the province’s development.
Based on the facts stated above, it is observed that Balochistan Province is far from the indicators and targets of the SDGs, and it seems that the provincial government is unaware of these elements in which people’s lives are deteriorating.
To achieve the SDGs, Balochistan’s government has to prioritize investment in top priority areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, education, and health. It additionally needs to pass legislation and rules that promote sustainable and inclusive development, and it must also involve nonprofit organizations, academia, and other stakeholders in the development process. To promote development toward the SDGs in Balochistan, there is also a need for greater cooperation and coordination between the federal and provincial governments, as well as with international development partners.
Finally, due to past wrong decisions and priorities, the province’s entire sectors have been corrupted. Now is the time for the government of Balochistan to identify the wrong decisions and priorities and develop new research-based priorities that improve the living standards of people in the province in a real sense without further delay.
Dr. Siraj Bashir (Ph.D.), Director Research/Editor BTTN Journal, Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN)
2 thoughts on “Balochistan Is Seriously Behind In Terms Of Achieving Sustainable Development Goals – OpEd”
the way to become self- reliant, self- sufficient and independent, it is sine qua non to have strong democratic set up. But, in case of Balochistan, it is very easy to predict that who will reign in the forthcoming govt before elections. regrettably, Non.democratic forces are actually calling the shots at the behest of public good. Political manuevering, horse trading and intimidating candidates before elections is the Hallmark of this poverty stricken province. To sum up, untill and unless true representatives are not allowed to hold seat of govt, the fate of Balochistan will remain uncertain.
oh writer … you just wasted your time. do you believe that responsible quarter in not aware of all this. is this SDG is something different from Constitution Of Pakistan, in tetm of rights.
instead of wasting and misusing forum, ensue us our legal right.
A Balochistani Settler