Freedom Forum has drawn the attention of the National Planning Commission (NPC), the sole body to formulate periodic plans in Nepal, and the Ministry of Information and Communications, about the Sustainable Development Goal No. 16.10, and the gaps in the Voluntary National Report and the Baseline Report NPC prepared on behalf of Nepal Government.

Writing a letter to NPC Member Dr Swarnim Wagle, and the Ministry, FF made them aware that FF as a civil society organization committed to achieving SDC goals by organizing various campaigns was ready to cooperate with them to realize the country’s plans pertaining to SDG 16.10.

The SDG 16.10 mentions: Ensure Public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.

It further makes elaborate: Number of verified cases of killing, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture of journalists, associated media personnel, trade unionists and human rights advocates in the previous 12 months (16.10.1), Freedom score (Combined with freedom of speech, freedom of assemblies and association, electoral self-determination (16.10.2), Access to information (%) (16.10.3).

Through the letter, FF has shown its concern regarding the Voluntary National Report (for implementation) and Baseline Report NPC prepared on behalf of Nepal Government that both the documents had not mentioned any indicators nor had further information to prioritize and achieve the target 16 .10.

There is no information about the present status, progress, and the national indicators set to achieve the goal, said the letter, pointing out an urgent need to prioritize target 16.10 and set development indicators as per Nepali context.

FF also emphasized the cooperation and coordination among the stakeholders to work together to this end.

“We would like to call for the attention of Nepal Government, Government bodies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders to work together to give a complete shape to the Baseline Report and set indicators for the achievement of the goals,” the letter underscored.

Nepal, as the UN member, had participated in the UN General Assembly in September 2015 which passed the resolution of SDG 17 goals and 169 targets along with other member countries of UN.

The SDG has already been applicable since the beginning of 2016. This has incorporated economic and technical aspects of governance and development along with the political and social aspects and has also defined government as well as private sector, civil society organisation and institutions’ concerted efforts to achieve the pre-determined goal of governance and development.