Comparing the Efforts, Evaluations, Perceptions, and Wishes of Citizens and Governments Regarding the MDGs and SDGs: A Case Study from Abuja, Nigeria

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While the global community has long worked to ameliorate the livelihoods of people and promote environmental sustainability around the world, many social, economic, and environmental issues remain unsolved. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) sought to end poverty but ended with mixed results depending on the country. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are more ambitious, sought to address remaining problems and other issues extending beyond the scope of the MDGs by 2030. The SDGs cover a wide range of areas, from fulfilling basic needs to environmental sustainability, although their prioritization differs from person to person. It is critical to understand how people recognize the MDGs and prioritize SDGs in order to determine efficient means of achieving SDGs. Thus, this study assesses citizens’ perceptions and needs in Nigeria, illustrating gaps between official evaluations of goal progress and people’s thoughts about these global agendas. Economically speaking, Nigeria is the largest country in West Africa; still, it did not meet all of its MDG targets by 2015. This study found differences between the official report and people’s observations. People generally considered MDG 2 and MDG 6 to have been attained despite official evaluations asserting that these goals had made only weak progress. The study also found that people’s expectations are generally high on goals related to economic sustainability but low on goals related to environmental sustainability. Interestingly, it is found that the Nigerian government has the most concrete strategies related to social sustainability. The results suggest that the needs perceived by the government are distinct from those perceived by the Nigerian people. They also highlight the fact that the importance of environmental sustainability must be recognized by Nigerians if they are to meet their SDG targets by 2030. Of course, it is difficult for any countries facing social and economic issues to allocate significant resources to environmental sustainability, especially amid violent conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the symptoms of climate change. However, to get back on track in the years that remain and make significant progress toward environmental sustainability, it is important to heighten cooperation among ordinary people while obtaining a better understanding of their needs.