The United Nations (UN) has released the Independent Evaluation Report of Nigeria’s Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 4(SDG – 3, SDG – 4). The event which held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday, was graced by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Mathias Schmale.

Expressing his observations after going through the evaluation, Mathias applauded the quick response from the government regarding the institution of independent comprehensive evaluations of the SDG – 3 and 4 goals as well as setting up a support and monitoring system across the different institutional levels for efficiently effective SDGs throughout the nation. According to him, “While the findings of these evaluations show some improving health and education outcomes in Nigeria, the reports also contain some worrying analysis.

“In relation to SDG-4 on quality education, it is, for example, concerning to note that Nigeria is unlikely to achieve the global agenda for universal inclusive and equitable basic education for all school-age children by 2030 if the current very low public investment in the education sector remains the same. The evaluation indicates that the right policies (especially around free basic education and gender) are in place but an increase in quality and access to education is critical. In the 2022 budget, there was an increase to 7% on education but the evaluation says it will need to increase to 20% with clear accountabilities on delivery.

“It is good see that the recommendation of revitalising the primary healthcare has already started and its effectiveness will be enhanced with a clear plan and accountability on human resources and financing at state level. Business as usual is not sufficient. In support of government, we are keen to identify truly transformative initiatives that will catalyze tangible change in the lives and livelihoods of the Nigerian people. This new data will help determine which health and education programmes are really moving the needle. We can then look to expand, renew, and replicate them. We must collectively push forward with education and health sector specific transformative initiatives such as prioritising and revitalising basic Primary Health Care and improving the quality of teachers and learning in and out of classrooms. This cannot happen without finding ways to promote sustainable economic growth, increasing domestic resource mobilisation and making some tough choices on public spending. It is evident that achieving SDGs 3 and 4 will not happen in isolation. Significant progress must be made on other SDGs such as SDG on reducing poverty, SDG-8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth and SDG-10 reduced inequalities.”

In his speech, the Vice President said: “The timing of the use of appropriated funds is also important. State government should take advantage of the UBEC matching grants by making the required contributions. Educational stakeholders are encouraged to develop and strengthen coordination mechanisms that can help tighten the collaboration with information sharing between federal and the state on the one hand, and non-state actors on the other hand. The findings contained in these strategic evaluations reinforce the evidence for improving health and educational outcomes in Nigeria, and highlight how all stakeholders, governments, development partners and civil society can best address systemic gaps and challenges. The findings of this strategic evaluation support further evidence for improving the rights of children to education in Nigeria and how the Government at all levels, along with development partners and civil society, can best address systemic gaps and challenges, including the negative effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, to progress on our shared commitment to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.”

Adding to the comments, Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN said: “As evidenced by the reports, Nigeria recognizes that health and education are cornerstones for sustainable and equitable development. progress in these areas is crucial to their resilience to global shocks. And whether the multiple crises the world is confronting, strengthening the Nigerian  healthcare system is the key to be better prepared for current and future pandemics. And the report sheds some light on key priority areas to do so. including improving the governance and accountability of the health care programmes across the country. The report is also very timely as the recommendations on education aligned with the focus areas of the transforming education summit, including on inclusive and equitable education, especially for our girls, Safe and Healthy Schools, foundational skills, and lifelong learning, digital skills and education Financing. I encourage you all to swiftly turn these recommendations into actionable levels so that we can accelerate our implementation of the 2030 agenda. I congratulate Nigeria for the progress identified in the report. Let these results serve as a catalyst for even greater achievements.”

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