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SDGs Office in Oyo tours projects sites

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Office in Oyo State has commenced a week-long tour of sites of  projects awarded by the immediate past administration.

A statement issued on Wednesday by Mr Kunle Yusuff, the Senior Special Assistant on SDGs to Gov. Seyi Makinde, said that the tour was embarked upon to promote accountability and ensure compliance with administrative procedures.

Yusuff stated that his office decided to conduct the tour of the projects, which were awarded between April and May 2019, in line with government’s resolve to ensure that the people get value for funds.

”Some of the contracts/projects included the building of classrooms, general renovations of school facilities, provision of teachers’ furniture, fencing and construction of boreholes across 13 major locations in the state.

”Some of the locations were Kosobo in Oyo town, Ilora in Afijio Local Government Area, Odo-Oba near Ogbomoso, Saki, Iseyin, Eruwa, Odo-Ona, Oluyole and Ona-Ara in Ibadan among others,” he stated.
DAK/OJO

(Edited by Mufutau Ojo)

General news

Plateau Govt. releases N700m for SDGs counterpart funding

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Plateau Government on Wednesday approved and released the sum of N700 million as its counterpart funding for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programmes.

Mr Dan Manjang, the state Commissioner for Information and Communication, disclosed this at the Government House,Jos, at the end of the weekly State Executive council, SEC meeting.

Manjang said that in spite of the state’s dwindling resources and expenses in combating Coronavirus (COVID-19), the State Government was still determined to improve the well being of the people of the state by ensuring it benefitted from all SDG programmes .

He said that the state government had also paid N1 billion out of the N1.5 billion needed to re-acquire the Breweries Agro Research Company (BARC) farms it had promised the people, saying the total payment to reacquire the farm including tax was N1.7 billion.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that BARC, a subsidiary of the state owned Jos International Breweries was more than 20 years ago sold to a private farmer, to the disappointment of the people.

BARC farms is going to be engaged in such a way that civil and public servants, pensioners and host communities are going to be given land to cultivate pending when an investment is going to be sorted, instead of leaving it fallow or allowing people to cultivate it illegally,”he said.

The commissioner said the home grown security outfit of the state, Operation Rainbow had been able to harmonise the operations of community security groups in the state , to regulate their activities, saying the gesture would help in implementing community policing in the state.

He debunked allegations that Gov. Simon Lalong was stigmatising specific areas with high record of COVID-19, saying it was a ploy to instigate disunity in the state.

He said that Lalong had always preached against stigmatisation of the disease that it was not a death sentence.

Manjang said that the State would celebrate Democracy  Day on June 12, where the governor would inaugurate many projects across the state.

“The itinerary of the programme to celebrate the day would be forwarded to media houses.”

Also briefing newsmen, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Lar, said the the State currently had 108 confirmed cases of COVID- 19 including five health workers, out of the 1,638 samples it tested.

The commissioner said it had discharged 71 patients and had recorded two deaths, but currently had 34 patients receiving treatment at its four isolation centres, while 98 persons were in its quarantine centers.

NAN reports that SEC also approved the bill for a law to amend the provision of the Plateau Department of Debt Management law office 2007, saying the gesture would enable it to access more funds for developmental projects.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Education

Kaduna varsity issues grant on COVID-19 implication on SDGs

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Kaduna State University has announced a mini research grant for a multidisciplinary research on Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its implication on implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the state.

The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Muhammad Tanko made the announcement through a call for proposal, tagged, “Vice-Chancellor Mini Research Fund”, obtained by the News Agency of Nigerian in Kaduna on Saturday.

Tanko explained that the research fund, in collaboration with ICT University, Louisiana, USA, would provide N150,000 grant to 20 scholars to undertake the research.

He said that the theme of the research is tagged: “The fight against COVID-19 and Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Insight from Kaduna State, Nigeria.”

According to him, the grant will fund studies that generate fresh insights and improve on extant knowledge on COVID-19 and its impact on implementation of SDGs in the state.

“The focus is to investigate the science behind COVID-19, uncover its societal dynamics and its impact on social, educational, economic and environmental development in the state.

“The ultimate objective is to generate knowledge for improving the health and well-being of the people through implementation of the SDGs in the face of COVID-19.

“It is also to generate evidences through 20 multidisciplinary researches that will improve the design of services for implementation of SDGs,” he said.

He added that the move would strengthen the capacity of scholars in KASU to conduct multidisciplinary research for evidence-based policy and policy implementation aimed at improving the implementation of SDGs.

He added that the fund would also sponsor a transnational conference for theory generation and/or theory testing using Kaduna state as a case study.

He equally said that the findings from the studies would be published in academic journals of high impact in association with reputable publishers.

The vice-chancellor said that the 2020 grant was open to academic staff in KASU and scholars that are affiliated to the university to improve their research productivity.

“There is a complex, and knotty connections between COVID-19 and development, particularly, with respect to the implementation of the SDGs.

“Unfortunately, there is paucity of research on how COVID-19 can influence the implementation of SDGs vis-a-vis how groups and sub-groups in Kaduna state are working to adapt to effects of the pandemic.

“It is imperative, therefore, to generate knowledge through empirical analyses to provide answers to some nagging questions about COVID-19 and its impact on the implementation of SDGs in the state.

“Given the global impact of the pandemic, there is urgent need to uncover its effects in relation to development incentives, challenges and opportunities as it affects groups and subgroups in Kaduna state.

“Particularly its impacts on income, food security and livelihood in the state as well as information and communication programmes to the residents to enable personal and group decisions.

“Evidences generated from the research will provide a better understanding of the implications of COVID-19 for designing context, specific rapid response policies and programmes.

“It will also build capacity of policy makers, professionals, and entrepreneurs in Kaduna state to respond swiftly, efficiently, and effectively to challenges posed by COVID-19,” Tanko said.

The vice-chancellor explained that the KASUVC Mini Research Fund was an annual research fund established in 2020 to encourage interdisciplinary, cross disciplinary and multidisciplinary research.

He said that the main objective of the fund was to ensure that KASU create and disseminate knowledge on topical issues by way of developing fresh theoretical premises and/or confirming or disconfirming extant theories.

“The findings from the research will generate knowledge and fresh insights and ideas on nagging societal challenges in the Kaduna state with the aim of promoting well-being and developmental objectives in accordance with the SDGs,” he added.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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General news

UK Council, Malaysian academy partner to provide funding for SDGs

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The Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), in partnership with Malaysia-based International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) expressed readiness to provide funding for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Richard de Belder, a UKIFC Advisory Board Member, made this in a statement while announcing the launch of a first report in a thought leadership series that aims to assist and encourage active engagement in support of the UN SDGs by the global Islamic finance sector.

UKIFC is a specialist, not-for-profit, advisory and developmental body focused on promoting and enhancing the global Islamic and ethical finance industry.

“This report follows the launch of a global Islamic Finance and SDG Taskforce that is supported by the UK government and involves senior level participants from across the globe.

“With Covid-19 exposing the fragility of people and the planet, the SDGs is a recognised global framework upon which we can, collectively, build our social, environmental and economic resilience,” the board member said.

He said that with the UKIFC’s underlying Shari’ah principles, Islamic finance was naturally aligned to support and lead the financial services sector’s efforts toward achieving the global goals.

“It firmly believes that the Shari’ah principles which underpin Islamic finance make the sector well positioned to lead in promoting the SDGs to achieve global economic and social justice.

“It also drives home the point that we are all vice regents with temporary custody of the world’s finite resources and so need to act in a way that recognises this,” Belder said.

He said the SDGs seek to address the global economic, social, governance and environmental challenges by 2030 and had been adopted by 193 countries.

“They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations complement strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth while tackling climate change and working to preserve our natural environment.

“With a 2.5 trillion US dollars per year financing gap, we have committed to a 24-month action-oriented programme of activities to address barriers blocking Islamic Financial Institutions from embracing the SDGs’’, he said.

Belder said there has been limited participation from the Islamic finance sector in leading UN initiatives.

“Some of these initiatives include; Principles for Responsible Investment, Principles for Responsible Banking and Principles for Sustainable Insurance that support financial institutions to align with the SDGs,” the advisory board member said.

He said it also provided an opportunity for Islamic finance to tap into emerging agnostic global liquidity pools seeking SDG-aligned products and increase tactical alignment with development bank funders.

“Alignment with the SDGs support of the tayyib concept; which contends that the focus of Islamic finance products and services should be on the evaluation of wider societal impact rather than an overly legalistic analysis of Shari’ah compliance”, he said.

He added that with assets expected to reach 3.8 trillion dollars in 2022 through its adeptness at innovative financial structuring, Islamic finance was well placed to create instruments that drive capital towards the SDGs.

 

“With a deep rooted commitment to social benefit, Islamic finance should be at the front and centre of this new sustainable economic paradigm.

“The SDGs are emerging as the shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.

“Therefore, it is time for the global Islamic finance sector to step up and demonstrate its credentials for driving finance for positive change,’’ he added.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Ekiti SDGs Office holds first virtual meeting

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As part of efforts at ensuring that projects are completed in record time, Ekiti Office of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held its first virtual online meeting on Wednesday to access the level ongoing projects in the state.

In a statement made aviialable to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti shortly after the meeting, it stated that the online meeting was to ensure the due date for completion of the projects were not hindered because of the lockdown

The Special Adviser to Gov. Kayode Fayemi on Development Partnerships, Mrs Margaret Fagboyo, who presided over the online meeting, said it would help to pace the completion of the various projects.

Fagboyo said the virtual meeting was to also ensure SDGs projects could be accomplished within the stipulated  period of time without breaking the social distancing order.

She expressed satisfaction at the pace of work done so far on the various SDGs projects in the State.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Fagboyo enumerated some of the projects to include construction and renovation of health centres and primary schools as well as procurement of ambulances and medical equipment, among others.

She said that the government was very keen to see that the projects were executed to specification and delivered in good time.

The Director of Administration and Supply, Dr Yemi Adeyemo, who gave an update on behalf of the SDGs projects monitoring team across the state, said most of the projects were at the verge of completion.

Adeyemo, however, said necessary rectifications and restructuring were being effected to ensure that all the projects were delivered in accordance to the specification and also in due time.

He, therefore, advised the SDGs Team to work effectively from home as much as possible in order to accomplish and deliver all the SDGs projects across the state as and when due.

In his own remark, the Director of Programs, Mr Ogunlade, described the teleconference as a welcome development, noting that it would spur everybody to be proactive despite the lockdown.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Health

Immunisation week: Access to vaccination vital for SDGs – WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) Office in Abuja, Nigeria, says expanding access to immunisation is vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and universal health coverage.

The UN health agency said this in its official twitter account @WHONigeria to commemorate the World Immunisation week.

World Immunisation Week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease and it is celebrated in the last week of April.

The body restated that immunisation saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

The theme of 2020 campaign is: ‘Protected Together: Vaccines Work’.

“Expanding access to immunisation is vital for achieving the SDGs, poverty reduction and universal health coverage.

“WHO joins the world to commemorate the World Immunisation Week 2020.

“Remember vaccines work as we appreciate midwives, nurses as well as other immunisation workers,’’ the agency said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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Education

Bauchi SDGs to provide separate toilets for girls in schools

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The Bauchi State Office of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) says plans are under way to construct separate toilets for girls in schools.

The State’s Director-General of the SDGs, Hajiya Maryam Bagel made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Bauchi.

Bagel said that the project would be executed under by the SDGs’ strategic interventions to encourage enrollment and keep the girl-child in schools.

“We are going to provide separate toilets for boys and girls in each of the schools in the state as another way of keeping girls in schools.

“You know that some of these things are negligible but can keep a girl out of school if she has to go home or find neighbouring houses to ease herself before coming back to school.

“So, we are going to provide separate toilets for boys and girls so that when boys are on one side, the girls are on the other side,” she said.

Bagel said that they were equally trying to get more role models in government circle and are soliciting government’s support to give women more opportunities.

“What we are saying is that government should appoint more women into positions in the civil service, women who will serve as role models for the young ones and the parents to copy.

“But if we don’t have more role models that these girls would look up to, it will be demoralising for them to embrace education as well,” she said.

The D-G said, “we have a lot of plans for girl- child education; we are going to do that to encourage them.’’

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Science & Technology

Nigerian startup, mDoc selected for Google’s Startups Accelerator on SDGs

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Google on Wednesday, announced that Nigerian startup `mDoc’ was one of 11 startups selected to participate in the fully digital inaugural Google for startups Accelerator on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Yossi Matias, Google’s Vice President, Engineering, said in a statement, that the 11 were selected based on their vision to address challenges outlined in the UN’s SDGs.

Matias said the SDGs included poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice.

He said that Nigerian startup `mDoc’ used a digital platform and in-person hubs to support people living with chronic diseases and would join the programme on April 21.

The Nigerian startup would join the programme alongside startups from France, Germany (2) Israel, the Netherlands, Kenya (2) Pakistan and the UK (2).

According to him, the chosen startups will address a wide range of social and environmental challenges and are working to create a healthier and a more sustainable future for all.

“In order to keep the programme safe and accessible in the light of COVID-19, the first two on-site events will now be digital.

”Virtual training will cover topics such as creating Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), UX Research & Behavioural Economics, ML Data Pipelines and Data Visualisation and Strategies for Social Impact Fundraising.

”The five-month programme kicks off on April 21 and a second cohort will be selected later in the year,” Matias said.

According to him, around the world, there are more startups addressing the world’s most pressing social challenges.

The vice president said that technology could help address some of the world’s biggest challenges, from empowering others to use AI to address social challenges, to setting ambitious and long-term environmental sustainability goals.

Matias said when businesses and investors worked together with the government, non-profits, communities and individuals, we could make real progress.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Google announced its Startups Accelerator on SDGs in November 2019.

The goal of the programme was to help founders build technology to solve serious issues facing the world.

The winners were selected from almost 1,200 applications received from 73 countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and with the assistance of an external jury to carefully evaluate each idea.

Each startup would work closely with engineers from over 20 Google teams as well as other subject matter experts, to address product, engineering, business development and funding challenges

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

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APO

Coronavirus – Africa: Stronger partnerships crucial for successful implementation of SDGs in light of COVID-19

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The Bureau of the Sixth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) has met and adopted an action plan establishing key priorities for implementing key messages from the forum that was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, in February.

Chaired by chaired Zimbabwe’s Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Mr. Paul Mavima, this was the Bureau’s first meeting since the adoption of the Victoria Falls Declaration on the Decade of Action for Sustainable Development in Africa. 

The Decade of Action calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges, ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap.

With the coronavirus pandemic raging on the continent, members of the bureau recognized the unprecedented and serious challenges being caused by COVID-19 and noted with grave concern the growing loss of human lives and huge negative economic and social impacts of the crisis on the continent.

Africa, the agreed, was likely to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic given the region’s underlying vulnerabilities. 

The Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) recent analysis on the impact of the pandemic estimates that economic growth on the continent is expected to drop from 3.2 percent to 1.8 percent. As of March 2020, a decline of 1.4 percentage points is expected from the effects of COVID-19. Africa’s Finance Ministers have called for an initial support package of US$ 100 billion in 2020 to cushion their nations from impacts of the pandemic.

The bureau agreed that COVID-19 reinforced the need for stronger global and regional partnerships if the sustainable development goals are to be fully achieved and to build resilience to social, economic and environmental shocks and calamities. 

Member States and other actors were urged to take urgent and collective measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, provide the necessary support to affected communities and address the social and economic implications of the pandemic.

Bureau members, Zimbabwe (Chair), the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Liberia and Morocco, pledged their full commitment to expand outreach, and to take and promote concrete actions in following-up and implementing the outcomes of the sixth ARFSD. 

The action plan, which will be implemented with the support of ECA, regional organizations and the rest of the UN Development system, recognizes the challenges and need for quality and timely data and statistics for evidence-based planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting on the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.  

The Bureau is expected to finalize by August, the strategic framework of the Solidarity Fund for Statistical Development in Africa, as agreed in the Marrakech Declaration of the Fifth session of the regional forum; and develop a regional strategy to operationalize the Victoria Falls Declaration on the Decade of Action and delivery for sustainable development and key messages of the sixth regional forum by November 2020.

Outcomes of the Victoria Falls forum will be conveyed to the 2020 meeting of the High-level political forum on sustainable development to be convened under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council in July.

The Bureau committed to contribute to strengthening the capacity of member States and catalyse concrete multi-level actions to follow-up and implement outcomes of the regional forum by carrying out advocacy campaigns at key conferences and other events at global, regional, sub-regional and national levels.

Members also agreed that they will take forward and expand initiatives to strengthen the capacity of subnational authorities in selected countries to conduct Voluntary Local Review to better domesticate and bolster local action to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

They requested the ECA, which supported the virtual meeting as the Secretariat, and its partners to develop a monitoring and evaluation tool that will enable tracking and comparability of progress of implementation across countries in the region.

The ARFSD is an intergovernmental forum convened by the ECA in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and agencies of the UN system. 

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Education

Educationist urges schools to key into UN SDGs

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Mrs Omolara Adedugbe, Executive Director, MD Schools, Agege, says every school must key into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the world and future to be better.

Adedugbe made the declaration during the school’s 2020 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Fair in Lagos on Wednesday.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that STEAM Fair is focused on pupils’ designed projects on how to solve global challenges.

NAN reports that STEAM education is basically an important aspect of education meant for preparing learners for jobs of the future.

She said that there was no meaningful progress in whatever sector any country’s economy could attain if schools failed to expose the younger generation to the importance of the SDGs.

“What is happening here today is the fact that we as a school have realised that education should be geared toward the future of the children.

“This is because we have also found out that most times, when people are through with their university education, majority of what they have learnt, are already obsolete.

“So, we decided to start preparing our own children toward their future and the future we are talking about is in STEAM.

“The main reason why we have put this fair together is for these children to link up with the UN’s SDGs early enough,” Adedugbe said.

She added that these goals had been designed to address global challenges and students should start thinking critically on ways of proffering solutions now or in the future.

“Catching them young is critical as this will go a long way in shaping the way children respond to issues around them.

”We have all the classes here participating in this fair, including the baby class. Even though they may not have a deep understanding of the concept, it will lay a foundation for them.

“For example, in the very lower class, the pupils have worked on reduction of hunger as their own project because these children know about hunger and how they can prevent it,” Adedugbe said.

She mentioned that other projects such as ‘Life Below Water’, had to do with water pollution which killed a lot of animals under water.

“Today’s exhibition is to showcase the need to reduce pollution in the water and work on hygiene, especially in the face of the coronavirus disease outbreak in the world,” Adedugbe said.

She lauded the pupils for their ingenuity in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation Fair, which meant the future was indeed bright for them.

Also speaking, Mr Emmanuel Oladele, Zonal Director, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Ifako-Ijaiye Zone, said the fair had shown that there was indeed a future for humanity.

“What we have seen here today; the way these children are keying into these UN SDGs; it goes to show that the future is bright for them.

“This fair is an eye opener which will increase awareness and subsequently ensures that all hands are on deck to secure the prospect of the future generation.

“That is why government is showing its support and constantly reviewing the curriculum to be in tandem with the demands of the 21st century.

“There is a global trend in science and technology that is non- destructive to the natural environment and government is creating this awareness and promoting renewable environment that will encourage people to manage resources very well,” he said.

Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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