Some numbers to ponder
At a time when think-tanks are tanking or being replaced by think-this or -that, it is encouraging to see Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC) maintaining its tradition, started in 1995, of producing an authentic annual report on issues skirted by the policymakers and tangential to the mainstream media. The latest report focuses on formulating a localised indicator framework for measuring progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The purpose is to find a monitorable minimum out of the enormity of goals (17), multiplicity of targets (169) and a myriad of indicators (232). In the process, the SPDC has come out with some interesting numbers that, in my view, must be placed in the public domain. As usual, Pakistan was quick to adopt SDGs without much thought in 2016 by a unanimous parliamentary resolution. In 2018, the National Economic Council also approved a National SDGs Framework. All the spadework, of course, was done by the donors. The SPDC study chooses five social goals — no poverty; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; and reduced inequalities. Globally, there are 81 indicators to measure progress, but Pakistan has data for 33 only. Using available data, national indicators are identified for each social SDG and composite Indicators calculated for each SDG separately, besides an overall Index for social SDGs.