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Lesotho grapples with ‘unfinished’ MDGs business


Pascalinah Kabi

LESOTHO can only stand a chance of achieving the highly ambitious 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by first addressing the unfinished business from the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a report has stated.

This was contained in the 2015 MDG report, the fifth and last of the 15-year MDG targets which ended in 2015. The report was launched recently in Maseru by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mothetjoa Metsing.

The end of MDG era ushered in the new ambitious 2030 global goals which seek to eradicate all the 17 socio-economic inequalities affecting populations around the world.

The 17 SDGs include eradicating poverty, hunger, ending HIV and Aids, providing access to quality education, access to affordable and renewable energy as well as reducing inequalities.

Although Lesotho performed relatively well in some MDGs targets, the report states that there were critical areas the country must draw lessons from in order to achieve the 2030 agenda.

“Lesotho’s experience with the MDGs has generated invaluable lessons that can guide policymakers in implementing the post-2015 development agenda and support the formulation of future policies and strategies,” read the report.

The report stated that cross-cutting lessons learnt in the implementation of the MDGs was that effective communication and follow-up were critical for the success of global agendas.

It said that although the MDGs commitments were not binding, some success was generated partly due to continuous follow-up processes at the national level through country reporting.

The report said the MDGs induced demand for more comprehensive and timely data, underlining the importance of current and disaggregated data as an important ingredient for monitoring results and holding relevant stakeholders accountable.

It said this resulted in the country developing its National Strategy for Development of Statistics.

“MDGs have also revealed that improvements in access to basic services have not been associated with improvements in the quality of service delivery,” said the report, adding “in spite of substantial resources channeled towards health and education, the quality of service has not reached the desired impact.”

The report subsequently warned that in order for the country to make significant progress in achieving the SDGs, sustainability required adopting an integrated approach to development.

The report stated that some of the challenges in achieving the MDGs included insufficient integration of MDGs in policy development and implementation.

It noted that there was “weak government ownership and leadership of the MDG implementation process, low sectoral capacity for implementation and limited awareness and participation of stakeholders in the development agenda as well as absence of a coordinated and integrated multi-sectoral approach to development and limited decentralisation”.

Published by the government in collaboration with development partners, the report noted that there was a need for Lesotho to prioritise the completion of the unfinished business from the MDGs especially in meeting its poverty, nutrition and health-related targets and indicators.

Lesotho was less successful in achieving goals related to:

  • The eradication of extreme poverty and hunger (Goal 1)
  • Reducing child mortality (Goal 4)
  • Improving maternal health (Goal 5) and
  • Combating HIV and Aids and Tuberculosis (Goal 6).

“To ensure the country’s success in meeting the SDGs, Lesotho has to address the unfinished business of MDGs, and simultaneously put in place robust data gathering and monitoring systems to track progress towards the SDGs.

“Henceforth, the country needs to address the various bottlenecks and challenges that constrained the MDG achievements and redouble its efforts to meet the unfinished business of MDGs, along with the SDGs,” the report stated.

The report noted the importance of building a robust data collection system for evidence-based policymaking which was a crucial tool to achieving the SDGs.

“The proposed Post-2015 Development Agenda recognises that each country faces specific challenges in its pursuit of sustainable development,” read the report, adding that the financing of the SDGs was going to be a particular challenge for Lesotho given its simultaneous dependence on Official Development Assistance (ODA) for meeting the MDGs.


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