By Ndidi Chukwu
As the world progresses from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs) health, access to clean water and sanitation tops demands from Nigerians. More than 1.5 million Nigerians said better healthcare, access to clean water and sanitation, affordable and nutritious food should get prominence among targets the world can strive for beyond 2015. They are among more than 7million people who voted worldwide in the My World survey commissioned by the United Nations to find targets for the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, expected in January 2016, to replace the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, which run out this year.
More Nigerians voted healthcare, water, sanitation and food as priorities over “reliable energy at home”, “support for people who can’t work” and “equality between men and women.”
“The post-2015 process provides countries, including Nigeria, a golden opportunity to embark on people-centred development planning which will ultimately lift millions out of poverty and inequalities as well as empower women and other vulnerable populations,” said Mitchell Toomey, visiting director of the UN Millennium Campaign.
The new priorities for the first time include “emerging development challenges that were not part of the MDGs, such as inequalities, climate change, peace and security and other new sectoral challenges in health and education,” said Toomey.
But action on climate change and protection of forests, rivers and oceans also got fewer votes among Nigerians, who accounted for 22% of global respondents to the survey.
As a leader in Africa, Nigeria needs to show best practices in terms of localization of the new goals, governance and accountable institutions, citizens’ engagement and social investment.