RIGA - The UN Sustainable Development Goals are not politically prioritized in Latvia, President Egils Levits stressed during a meeting with Auditor General Rolands Irklis on Thursday.
Irklis and Levits met today to discuss the State Audit Office's audit of Latvia's progress in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as the President's Chancellery informed LETA. The two officials also discussed the ongoing audit of food procurement by the National Armed Forces.
The president said that the findings of the food procurement audit pointed to significant errors in the administrative system of the Defense Ministry and that the ministry needed to consider both structural and individual consequences.
Discussing the Audit Office's assessment of Latvia's progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Levits noted that compliance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals was a matter of national reputation as well as good governance.
Latvia already complies with the UN Sustanable Development Goals in many areas, but they are not aligned with Latvia's development goals and strategy.
"The National Development Plan, for example, does not mention any specific projects to be implemented and they are not connected with the budget structuring process, which would indicate that Sustainable Development Goals are a political priority," said Levits.
The Audit Office's report states that there is no political accountability for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Latvia.
Irklis also pointed out that a public discussion on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, organized by the Audit Office, had elicited enthusiastic response from sustainability experts, confirming that these issues were currently too low on the political agenda. We are moving toward our goals in an uncoordinated way, which is largely due to the fact that national goals and public money each "have a life of their own", or insufficient link between the budget and development planning documents, he said.
Levits and Irklis agreed that active involvement of the public was also crucial for Latvia's progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals.