- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world.
- The SDGs replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which started a global effort in 2000 to tackle the indignity of poverty. The MDGs established measurable, universally-agreed objectives for tackling extreme poverty and hunger, preventing deadly diseases, and expanding primary education to all children, among other development priorities.
- For 15 years, the MDGs drove progress in several important areas: reducing income poverty, providing much needed access to water and sanitation, driving down child mortality and drastically improving maternal health.
- Most significantly, the MDGs made huge strides in combating HIV/AIDS and other treatable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.
Key MDG achievements
- More than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty (since 1990)
- Child mortality dropped by more than half (since 1990)
- The number of out of school children has dropped by more than half (since 1990)
- HIV/AIDS infections fell by almost 40 percent (since 2000)
- The SDGs coincided with another historic agreement reached in 2015 at the COP21 Paris Climate Conference. Together with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, signed in Japan in March 2015, these agreements provide a set of common standards and achievable targets to reduce carbon emissions, manage the risks of climate change and natural disasters, and to build back better after a crisis.
- The SDGs are unique in that they cover issues that affect us all. They reaffirm our international commitment to end poverty, permanently, everywhere. They are ambitious in making sure no one is left behind.
- More importantly, they involve us all to build a more sustainable, safer, more prosperous planet for all humanity.
The SDGs are a bold commitment to finish what humans started, and tackle some of the more pressing challenges facing the world today.
All 17 Goals interconnect, meaning success in one affects success for others. Dealing with the threat of climate change impacts how we manage our fragile natural resources, achieving gender equality or better health helps eradicate poverty, and fostering peace and inclusive societies will reduce inequalities and help economies prosper.
What are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to transform our world?
· Goal 1 – No Poverty
· Goal 2 – Zero Hunger
· Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-Being
· Goal 4 – Quality Education
· Goal 5 – Gender Inequality
· Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation
· Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy
· Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
· Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
· Goal 10 – Reduced Inequality
· Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities
· Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production
· Goal 13 – Climate Action
· Goal 14 – Life below Water
· Goal 15 – Life on Land
· Goal 16 – Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
· Goal 17 – Partnerships to achieve the Goal
The Frontrunner of SDGs India Index 2018
Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have emerged as the front runners in the race to achieve key sustainable development goals (SDG) like removal of poverty and inequality, while Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are the laggards in a ranking of states released on Friday by federal policy think tank NITI Aayog and the UN.
According to the SDG India Index, the nation as a whole has a score of 58, showing the country has reached a little beyond the halfway mark in meeting the sustainable development goals adopted by India and 192 other nations in 2015. The index covers 13 of the 17 sustainable development goals, including healthcare, gender equality, clean energy, infrastructure, education, peace and building strong, accountable institutions.
Four goals, including climate action and sustainable use of marine resources, were left out because of lack of data at the state level.
Kerala’s overall top rank (69) is attributed to its strong performance in providing good health, reducing hunger, achieving gender equality and providing quality education. The rank shows the distance each state has to cover to reach 100—the point at which it fully meets the sustainable development goal.
Himachal Pradesh ranks high with a similar overall score in providing clean water and sanitation, reducing inequalities and preserving the mountain ecosystem. Tamil Nadu has a score of 68. Among Union territories, Chandigarh takes the lead with a score of 68 on account of its track record in providing clean water and sanitation. Performance in providing quality education has also helped Chandigarh achieve the high score.
Tamil Nadu topped the states in poverty reduction, while Kerala topped in providing quality education, closely followed by Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu also topped in facilitating good health and well-being. Gender equality, however, is an area all states and the nation as a whole need to improve upon. The toppers in gender equality, Sikkim and Union territories Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chandigarh have crossed the half way mark in reaching the goals.
Jharkhand, Odisha and Nagaland are also among the states that have a lot more ground to cover in the overall rankings.
Controversy Regarding SDGs Report 2018
A day after the NITI Aayog released Baseline Report of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, the Opposition political parties on Saturday criticised the State government over Odisha’s poor performance in comparison to most other states of the country.
Odisha secured the 25th rank in SDG Indian Index among all the states with a composite score of 51 out of 100.
The index covers 13 of the 17 sustainable development goals, including healthcare, gender equality, clean energy, infrastructure, education, peace and building strong and accountable institutions. The value of the score indicates the average performance of the state/UT towards achieving the 13 SDGs and their respective targets by 2030.
Following the release of the report, BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said the rate of economic growth in Odisha is much below than expected.
“The rate of economic growth has not been achieved in Odisha the way it should have been made. It has already been proved that the state government cannot ensure sustainable and long-term development,” Harichandan said.
The BJP general secretary further added that Odisha needs a change in leadership to achieve the desired level of development under the guidance of PM Narendra Modi.
Similarly, toeing the line of the saffron party, Congress too criticised the ruling-BJD over the report.
“Several states used to stay below Odisha in the rankings released earlier but now in the name of development the government has made Odisha one of the poorest States in the country. I hope that the people of Odisha will reject this government in the next elections,” OPCC President Niranjan Patnaik said.
How can India achieve and complete all the SDGs goals?
India was one of the 193 United Nations member states to adopt the SDGs and commit itself as a stakeholder to meet the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. This implies that the global goals should shape all social policy, planning, and development action, as well as impact monitoring and evaluation at the central, state, regional, and local level.
- Planning and policy for social development in the country should reflect on and be designed around the voices of the primary stakeholders – men, women, or children – whom a social policy or programme is addressing. Making development efforts participatory and inclusive is an indispensable aspect for sustainable development.
- In the latest Union Budget, the Government of India has cut back on spending for the social sector. As per available statistics, India currently has only 5 % of the funds required to implement the SDGs. While increasing Government spending in sectors like health, education, sanitation, and nutrition is a direct solution to close this funding gap, the Government of India should promote and incentivize funding from corporate, business, and other for-profit entities as a crucial source for funding the SDGs.
- Ban Ki-Moon, the incumbent Secretary-General of the United Nations, has emphasised on the need for strategic partnerships to solve global challenges. The pressing need for India to effectively execute the new agenda is to revitalise a partnership between key stakeholders. This involves the participation of the public sector/Government, corporate entities that are skilful in managing and multiplying resources, non-governmental organisations, social enterprises, and other development actors who are acquainted with implementing, evaluating and scaling up social development projects.
Achieving the SDGs in a country as diverse as India will definitely be a Herculean task, but not un-achievable. We need to clearly identify priorities, have locally relevant and people-centric development policies, and build strong partnerships. The government also needs to have a focused plan for tracking and evaluating impact and scaling up successful interventions. The SDGs are a direction and a vision for India to ensure prosperity and growth—both social and economic.