United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary General for Policy and Coordination Thomas Gass has urged Nigerians to engage their leaders on the implementation and monitoring of the soon-to-be-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Gass spoke at an international news conference yesterday with a team of Nigerian journalists from the United Nations Information Centre in Lagos through a WebEx (video) link to New York.

“The big change in moving from the MDGs to the SDGs is that this is no longer a deal between donor and receiving countries. The SDGs will become the basis of a new social contract between the leaders of Nigeria and the people.  The quality of debate and dialogue at the national level will determine to what extent the SDGs are to be monitored in Nigeria”, he said.

The UN chief added that the yardstick for implementing the SDGs in African countries would be by the people mounting pressure on their government since it was targeted at addressing the causes of conflict and poverty.

“We have realised in the last 15 years that the biggest progress was not made when one country puts pressure on another country but rather when the people of the country put pressure on their  government. This is why we are investing time in the media to ensure that when our heads of government come to New York in September, they will promise the citizens that this shared vision will be the basis of debate at the national level for the next 15 years and they will be held accountable.

The UN Information Officer in Nigeria, Oluseyi Soremekun, told The Nation that the people  must be aware of the transition from MDGs to SDGs.

“It is important to get people and members states to understand what the 17 goals and the 169 targets are so they can drive the monitoring and implantation in their countries,” he said.

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