• By: Sumera Shah
  • IM Sciences Peshawar

In the 2023 Sustainable Development Report, Pakistan’s endeavors towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are meticulously detailed, offering a broad spectrum of insights into the country’s advancements and areas needing attention. This report serves as a vital checkpoint in understanding Pakistan’s journey towards sustainable development by 2030. Below, we delve into the key findings and statistics from the report to shed light on Pakistan’s progress across various SDGs.

  • SDG1 – No Poverty

Pakistan has shown progress in reducing poverty, with the poverty headcount ratio at $2.15/day recorded at 3.8% and at $3.65/day at 18.8% in 2023. These figures represent significant strides towards eradicating extreme poverty, highlighting the effectiveness of poverty alleviation programs.

  • SDG2 – Zero Hunger

Despite efforts, hunger remains a challenge, with a 16.9% prevalence of undernourishment in 2020. Moreover, child malnutrition is of particular concern, with stunting in children under 5 years at 34.0% in 2022 and wasting at 7.1% in 2018. On a positive note, cereal yield has improved, reaching 3.6 tonnes per hectare in 2021, reflecting advances in agricultural productivity.

  • SDG3 – Good Health and Well-Being

Health indicators reveal mixed outcomes. The maternal mortality rate stands at 154.2 per 100,000 live births in 2020, and neonatal and under-5 mortality rates remain high. However, progress is evident in immunization coverage, with 81% of surviving infants receiving WHO-recommended vaccines in 2021. Access to skilled birth attendance has also improved, signaling advancements in maternal and child health.

  • SDG4 – Quality Education

The participation rate in pre-primary organized learning is commendable at 94.3% in 2019. However, challenges persist in ensuring universal primary and secondary education, with a lower secondary completion rate of only 49.0% in 2019.

  • SDG5 – Gender Equality

Gender equality indicators show areas of both progress and concern. While there has been a notable improvement in the ratio of female-to-male education years received (77.4% in 2021), the female labor force participation rate remains low at 30.4% in 2022.

  • SDG6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

Access to basic drinking water services is relatively high at 90.1% in 2020, but sanitation services lag behind, with only 68.4% coverage. The management of freshwater resources and wastewater treatment remains a critical challenge.

  • SDG7 – Affordable and Clean Energy

While 75.4% of the population had access to electricity in 2020, the reliance on clean fuels and technology for cooking needs to be significantly improved, standing at 49.3%.

  • SDG8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

The unemployment rate shows positive signs at 6.7% in 2023, indicating growth in job opportunities. However, the economy experienced a contraction of 3.0% in 2021, underscoring the need for sustainable economic policies.

  • SDG10 – Reduced Inequalities

The Gini coefficient of 29.6 in 2018 reflects moderate income inequality, with efforts needed to further reduce disparities.

  • SDG11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities

Urban development faces challenges, with 56.0% of the urban population living in slums in 2020. Air quality remains a concern, with a PM2.5 concentration of 57.7 ?g/m³ in 2019.

  • SDG13 – Climate Action

Pakistan’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production were 1.0 tCO2/capita in 2021, highlighting the ongoing challenge of transitioning to a low-carbon economy.

  • SDG16 – Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The report indicates improvements in some areas of governance and civil liberties but points out challenges in reducing homicides (4.0 per 100,000 population in 2021) and ensuring the rule of law.

  • SDG17 – Partnerships for the Goals

Pakistan’s Statistical Performance Index score of 71.1 in 2022 reflects a relatively strong foundation for monitoring SDG progress. However, government spending on health and education, at 3.4% of GDP in 2021, underscores the need for enhanced investments in human capital.

  • Conclusion

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 presents a detailed analysis of Pakistan’s progress and challenges across the SDGs. While notable advancements have been made in areas such as education access, health service coverage, and agricultural productivity, significant challenges remain in achieving gender equality, environmental sustainability, and economic growth. As Pakistan moves towards the 2030 targets, concerted efforts from the government, private sector, and civil society are crucial to address these challenges and ensure sustainable development for all citizens.

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