Whole of Government & Whole of UN Convergence Needed to Achieve India’s National Development Priorities’: NITI Aayog Vice Chairman
GoI-UNSDCF Strives towards a More Inclusive, Resilient & Sustainable India
NITI Aayog and United Nations on Tuesday organized a day-long national validation workshop on the upcoming Government of India–UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2023–27.
This was the first such congregation that saw the participation of officials from 30 Union ministries, heads of 26 UN agencies, and representatives from all states and union territories.
The previous GoI–UNSDF 2018–22 was an agenda of cooperation, results and strategies to achieve national development priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The framework is the single most important instrument capturing the entirety of 26 UN entities’ plans and programmes in India. As the 2018–22 framework entered its final year of implementation, GoI and UN committed to renewing it for another five years, 2023–27.
The 2023–27 cooperation framework will be signed as India completes 75 years of independence.
In order to fulfil India’s national development priorities, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar called for the convergence of the ‘whole of Government’ and the ‘whole of UN’ in the next five years. He pointed out that the workshop was ‘an opportunity to revisit and revitalize the various contours of partnerships between the GoI and UN to make them more robust and relevant to meet the exigencies of the New India’.
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant stressed the need for innovative and futuristic thinking while finalizing the 2023–27 framework. He added that ‘the success of this workshop will set the tone for the collective work to be done with the UN India team for the next five years’.
The 2018–22 framework is guided by the joint steering committee, chaired by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman and UN Resident Coordinator India, with members from the Department of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs.
One of the main accomplishments of the 2018–22 framework has been the partnering of the UN agencies with GoI to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. From training frontline workers, delivering essential drugs and medical supplies, facilitating the world’s largest vaccination drive to providing policy support and bringing in the best international practices, the UN agencies have played a critical role during the Covid crisis.
Accordingly, a key objective of the 2023–27 framework will be to utilize the India-UN collaboration to find new ways of addressing the country’s pressing developmental challenges.
The preparation for the 2023–27 framework, led by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman and the UN Resident Coordinator, was a highly participative process, which included consultations with the Central and state governments, civil society, academics, private sector, think tanks, and economic enterprises, among others.
During the workshop, UN Resident Coordinator in India Shombi Sharp complimented GoI for its strong ownership of the framework and reiterated the UN’s commitment to supporting India to achieve its development priorities and SDGs. ‘The next five years will not only be fundamental for India but also for the world as India plays an outsized role in its endeavour to achieve the SDGs. The upcoming framework will employ robust data and evidence to support India’s tremendous progress in reaching the most vulnerable and ensuring no one is left behind.’
The 2023–27 framework aims to align the four pillars of the 2030 Agenda—People, Prosperity, Planet and Participation—with India’s national priorities and provide direction to the efforts of all the UN entities working across the country.
The new framework has identified six outcome areas: (i) health and well-being (ii) nutrition and food (iii) quality education (iv) economic growth and decent work (v) environment, climate, wash and resilience (vi) empowering people, communities, and institutions.
Subsequently, six working groups were set up under the chairmanship of the secretaries of respective Government ministries, with officials from other related ministries, UN entities, and NITI Aayog as members. Each group worked under the guidance of the respective member from NITI Aayog.
At the workshop, the three groups on nutrition and food; economic growth and decent work; and climate action were steered by Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, NITI Aayog, while the others—health and well-being; quality education; and empowering people, communities and institutions—were led by Dr VK Paul, Member, NITI Aayog.
The 2023–27 framework will contain the shared vision and strategies for a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable India. While NITI Aayog and the line ministries will steer the framework at the Central level, the state governments and union territories will play a crucial role in realizing the vision and implementing the strategies.