A US-based Non-Governmental Organization says Zambia is among the countries which will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals objectives due to factors including insufficient funding, more people in need of basic needs and the SDGs being ambitious.

NETHOPE chief executive officer Lauren Woodman said Zambia and the rest of the world is not prepared to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

In an interview with News Diggers! in Lusaka, Tuesday, Woodman said the SDGs were hard and huge objectives that required huge sums of money, adding that Zambia and the rest of the world currently did not have enough money to address the basic needs of the vulnerable.

“The argument is that, if you look at the goals we have established for ourselves as an international community, through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), right. And we said by 2030, these are the issues we want to address, and this is how we will define success. It would [be a] remarkable achievement within the communities. But the sustainable SDGs are a huge milestone for us. The challenge with that is that we are not well-prepared to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. And that’s not just the international NGOs, that includes; governments; the international communities and the multilateral organizations; local organizations. We are all not prepared to achieve the goals by 2030,” Woodman said.

“We are not prepared to meet those objectives because they are really hard. You know they are ambitious goals, they should be ambitious goals. When we are talking about providing basic sustenance for currently underserved populations, we should be ambitious in trying to achieve that. The challenge is that at the current level of funding, whether that is bilateral aid or multilateral aid, no matter how you look at it, we don’t have enough money to reach those goals,” Woodman added.

“And the gap between the available funding that we have and the available funding that we need is so big that it’s not going to get filled by just the way that we have done things. So, we look at that and we say, ‘ok, well, we should certainly advocate for more funding and certainly government and multilateral organizations around the globe are trying to figure out whether to continue with the world funding. We still have an obligation to figure out how to use the funding that we do have more effectively. And the reality of the growth of digital innovation that we have seen is that digital technology enables us to do that. Not everything will be delivered digitally, so sometimes using paper is the best. But on the back end of that, you [are] going to need digital information to analyse what to do next.”

Woodman, however, expressed optimism that digital technologies would help address the challenges that may arise in the course of executing the SDGs.

“We will need to figure out what are the best innovations, what can we do to bridge the gaps and address these challenges. And they how can we best support communities? And that really where we, as the international community and the development sector, and all the players in the sector, need to take a hard look at ourselves and say, ‘are we doing what we should be doing in order to utilize the resources that we have effectively?’ Are we doing the work that needs to be done in order to make the most technology in order to maximize the resources that we have. The number can vary depending on how you look at it. We have more than a billion people that are in dire need of the basic needs. The number is really big. The number is really, really big. And there is a lot more that we need to do. And if we assume that we had tools that can help us bridge that gap, they are still not going to be sufficient. They won’t address the challenges but they are a big step towards bridging that gap,” said Woodward.