India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is in a strong position to deliver on its national development priorities, as well as on the globally-agreed-upon 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. India has also provided leadership in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in ensuring that the voices of developing countries find prominence in global discourse.
Several of India’s development priorities are mirrored in the SDGs. Projected to be the most populous and youngest country in the world by 2024, India’s contributions will be indispensable for the achievement of the SDGs globally. India is embarking on a long-term visioning exercise aligned with the SDGs. The government is committed to inclusive growth and has launched many national programmes to achieve, within a short period, ambitious goals such as rural electrification, sanitation, housing for all, clean and renewable energy expansion, universal elementary school education, smart cities and skills development, to name just a few. These will determine the success of SDGs both in India and globally.
Despite these achievements, much progress remains to be made. More than 27.5% of the population is considered multi-dimensionally poor, i.e more than one in every four persons in India is poor. Deprivation and inequality are widespread; consumption and income inequalities are high, while social inequity linked to gender, caste and tribe is perpetual; growth has not been accompanied by sufficient employment generation; hunger and malnutrition are commonplace and there are significant challenges in ensuring the reproductive health and rights of adolescents.
The Government of India played a key role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The challenge now is to translate the SDGs into concrete action. Several of the ambitious programmes launched by the government directly contribute to a number of SDGs: The Clean India campaign; The End Open Defecation by 2019 Campaign; Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme; The Make in India Campaign; the 100 Smart Cities initiative; Health Assurance for All; and the Prime Minister’s Financial Inclusion Scheme, among others. Emphasis has been placed on skill development and entrepreneurship to ensure a direct focus on youth.
The UN in India, including Non-Resident Agencies commits its support to the Government of India’s effort to achieve development priorities for the period 2018-2022 and beyond. The year 2022 will be an important milestone for India, as it will mark 75 years of the country’s independence. The GoI and UN Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF) for the period 2018-2022 supports the achievement of national priorities. It builds on the successes and lessons emerging from previous programmatic efforts and is designed with the overall objective to Leave No One Behind and Reach the Furthest Behind First.
The UNSDF was designed in a participatory manner with key stakeholders. It outlines the UN System’s joint efforts to achieve results in the least developed states, including those in the North-East, and focuses on the following seven areas:
- POVERTY AND URBANISATION
By 2022, institutions are strengthened to progressively deliver universal access to basic services, employment, and sustainable livelihoods in poor and excluded rural and urban areas.
- NUTRITION AND FOOD SECURITY
By 2022, all children enjoy essential nutrition services and rural smallholders and other vulnerable groups have improved livelihoods and greater access to a nutritionally adequate food basket.
- EDUCATION AND EMPLOYABILITY
By 2022, more children, young people, and adults, especially those from vulnerable groups, enjoy access to quality learning for all levels of education.
- HEALTH, WATER AND SANITATION
By 2022, there is improved and more equitable access to, and utilization of, quality, affordable health, water, and sanitation services.
- SKILLING, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND JOB CREATION
Encouraging entrepreneurship stimulates innovation and domestic demand, generating By 2022, people vulnerable to social, economic and environmental exclusion, have increased opportunities for productive employment through decent jobs and entrepreneurship.
- CLIMATE CHANGE, CLEAN ENERGY AND DISASTER RESILIENCE
By 2022, environmental and natural resource management (NRM) is strengthened and communities have increased access to clean energy and are more resilient to climate change and disaster risks.
- GENDER EQUALITY AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
By 2022, women, children, and young people have improved access to equal opportunities and an enabling environment, to advance their social, economic and political rights.
For implementation, in addition to the government, the UN System is partnering with various development actors, including the private sector, to co-create innovative scalable development solutions. The UN System in India is committed to providing full support to India’s development priorities, and ensuring that the UNSDF outcomes are achieved and that poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities participate in and benefit from the country’s robust growth trajectory.