The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries — developed and developing — in a global partnership. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth — all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
The United Nations and its member states have set ambitious goals to be completed by 2030. India is one of the signatory of the agenda and has since then strived towards achieving the goals within the stipulated timeline.
The NITI Aayog has been given a special mandate to oversee adoption and monitoring of these goals at the state level in India.
What are the Goals?
There are 17 goals in all.
1.No Poverty: End Poverty in all its forms, everywhere.
2. End Hunger: Zero hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture.
3. Good Health and Well Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well being at all ages.
4. Quality Education: Ensure inclusive and equitable education for all and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
5. Gender Equality: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
6. Clean Water and Sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
7. Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
10. Reduced Inequalities: Reduce inequality within and among countries.
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12. Responsible Consumption and Production: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13. Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14. Life Below Water: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15. Life on Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Partnerships for the Goals: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
Where is India Currently?
The NITI Aayog publishes the SDG Index, ranking states on their achievements every year now. The first index came out in 2018, where India’s composite score was 57. It improved to 60 in 2019 and went upto 66 in 2020.
The above graph shows the situation in 2018, when only 3 states in India were in the front runner category. Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala outperformed all other states.
The very next year in 2019, more states joined the front runner category. The Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the South were joined by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. Another state Sikkim also joined the front runners category. The most important point to note here is that none of the states were in the Aspirant category now.
Making further strides in the SDG index, India’s 6 point increase in the composite score was fuelled by 11 more states joining the Front-Runner category.
A cursory glance at the trend in the composite score tells us that India has progressed well over the past 3 years. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be seen and will be visible in next year’s report. In a series of subsequent posts, I will try and further analyse the strides that India has made and what can be done in the future to achieve the SDGs within the stipulated timeline.