22 November 2021 I Larkana, Sindh – The first-ever Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) District Alliance meeting was organized in district Larkana, Sindh under the LEAD for SDGs programme. The meeting brought together counterparts from civil society organizations, private sector, academia, research institutions, bar associations, media, local council association, community elders, representatives from the district administration and relevant stakeholders from line departments to form a district alliance in Larkana and to deliberate on the future course of action for this newly formed alliance.

“It is crucial to establish provincial and district level alliances on SDGs primarily to inform citizens about the concept of localization of SDGs thus enabling them to participate in the process of forming SDGs aligned local development plans”, said Syed Kumail Haider Shah, President Local Council Association Sindh (LCAS). The event was organized by Local Empowerment, Advocacy and Development (LEAD) for SDGs – Localisation in Pakistan programme, implemented by United Cities and Local Government Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) in collaboration with its member organization, Local Council Association Sindh (LCAS).

The idea of district alliance formation is based on a baseline study undertaken at the start of the LEAD for SDGs programme to ascertain the country’s situation with respect to the localization and implementation of SDGs. This study provides evidence of the lack of coordination among different tiers of government and between various public, private and civil society organizations. Furthermore, the study also found that there is a weak institutional relationship between the local governments, the civil society and the private sector based on informal rather than institutional linkages.

To bridge this coordination gap and develop workable institutional linkages, the LEAD for SDGs Programme has established provincial and district level networks of public, private and civil society organizations, academia, media and donor-funded projects to raise awareness about SDGs, advocate for policy reforms, develop the public-private partnership, and, monitor and report on the localization and implementation of SDGs at the provincial and local levels in a coordinated and cooperative manner. These alliances work under the guidance and support of the provincial local councils associations and have established core committees to implement action plans developed by the alliances. Technical and financial support is provided by the LEAD for SDGs Programme.

Mr. Anwar Hussain, Chief Executive Officer, Association for Development of Local Governance (ADLG) in Pakistan gave a brief introduction of the LEAD for SDGs programme and its overall objective. In addition, he also threw light on the purpose of district alliance formation, the criterion for the selection of district alliance members, the scope of work and future meetings’ patterns. Ms. Fiza Pitafi, Provincial Coordinator LCAS conducted an awareness session on the localization of SDGs particularly in district Larkana, Sindh.

An open discussion provided an opportunity for the participants on sharing their input on the terms of reference developed for the provincial alliance. It was mutually decided with the participants that a core committee will be formed for the newly established district alliance besides developing a quarterly work plan. All the participants signed the alliance membership forms to become a dedicated member of the district alliance in Larkana, Sindh.

Mr. Aslam Sheikh, Ex-Mayor Larkana and Vice President LCAS supported this initiative of district alliance formation and encouraged the participants to play an active role as alliance members. Mr. Nazeer Chang, Institute of Business Administration (IBA) school principal, Larkana welcomed the idea of a district alliance and requested that this alliance should prioritize SDG 4 – Quality Education. The alliance members coming from different walks of life can come up with innovative ideas related to the localization of SDGs, he said.
While signing off the membership forms and becoming a member of the Larkana district alliance, all of the participants expressed their gratitude to the LEAD for the SDGs programme’s efforts and agreed to remain committed to the cause of localizing SDGs in the district of Larkana.