SDGs in Bangladesh: Key challenges and missing links

The UN Committee for Development Policy has announced Bangladesh’s eligibility for graduation from Least Developed Country to Developing Country. This success also brings confidence for achieving the SDGs. In the last 15 years, with limited resources, Bangladesh has witnessed one of the fastest reductions in poverty anywhere in the world. The country has met the target in reducing the proportion of population below the national poverty line (currently 22.4%) three years ahead of time. It has reached the targets in reducing infant mortality rate from 92 per 1000 live births in 1990 to 46 now; and in decreasing the prevalence of underweight children less than five years of age from 66 percent in 1990 to 32.6 percent at present. In terms of education, the country has achieved nearly 100 percent enrollment in primary schools; and attained gender parity with more girls than boys in primary and secondary schools.

But, to achieve the SDGs, Bangladesh faces some considerable challenges: Bangladesh will need a huge investment for basic infrastructure like roads, rail and ports; power stations; water and sanitation and also for sectors like agriculture and rural development, climate change mitigation and adaptation, health and education. But recent trends in investment in these sectors are not up to desired level. Budgetary allocation on the health sector was about 0.7 percent of GDP during FY 2003-2014, compared to the recommended WHO level of 5 percent. Education gets 2 percent of GDP during FY 2003-2014, compared to the 6 percent advised by UNESCO.

Source: Bangladesh National Report 2018.