As we approach to the 5th South Asian Cities Summit to discuss how to speed-up the process of achieving SDGs, We realise that we are running against the time. Given the damage that human expansion has done to the planet, it has become highly imperative for the nations around the world to collectively address issues like global warming, economic disparity, chronic epidemics and climate change amongst other social issues
Acting upon this, the United Nations member states framed 17 integrated global goals in 2015 which, if prioritised, would effectively check the universal problems and serve as a “universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.” These are the Sustainable Development Goals.
In a recent conference, Eric Falt, Director and UNESCO Representative for Delhi cluster, perfectly summarised the intended purpose of these universally adapted goals in his address, “Humanity has developed a roadmap for the common good of the planet. These are the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Each goal, although multifaceted, is basically seeking to reform one problem by itself and can be phrased as ending poverty and world hunger, improving the health and well-being of each citizen, ensuring quality education to every child, achieving global equality, that is, no discrimination on race, gender etc., developing stable industry, infrastructure and implement better innovations to ensure stable economic growth and prosperity, developing sustainable cities and urban communities, instating renewable and cleaner energy alternatives and taking urgent action to address climate change.
Over 170 countries have agreed to fast track work towards achieving these goals and set up infrastructure under the guidance of United Nations Development Program (UNDP). India is one of these countries. India promises to accelerate economic growth beyond seven per cent over the next five years while ensuring there is no compromise between the attainability of sustainability and development, as top UN officials expressed “awe” over the country’s remarkable progress in moving towards achieving SDGs.
India’s Experience in Localising the SDGs’ held at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, highlighted that in the coming five years, India would witness an accelerated growth beyond the seven per cent that we have achieved till now.
It is evident that India, in unison with the world, is striving to achieve these goals and leave the Earth suitable for future generations to thrive. However, NITI Aayogs’s Sustainable Development Goals India Index 2019 (SDG II 2019), which was released in December has put forth mixed results. Although we have been able to make significant progress in multiple fields like health, water and sanitation, much more is needed to be done to mend problems like poverty, hunger and gender disparity, issues which have plagued the nation for decades.
Hopefully, with the Union Budget of 2020, which was tabled as the first budget in the “decade to deliver” on the SDGs, a reinvigorated approach towards the goals is adopted. It is high time to act as, at this stage, the country requires an estimated $2.64 trillion investment to reach the SDGs before the deadline.