Bery also highlighted how cooperative federalism is a key approach for driving growth and development in India
Highlighting the success of the Indian model of localisation of Sustainable Development Goals, NITI Aayog Vice Chairperson Suman Bery has said that nations must identify models that have produced results as we do not have the luxury of time.” Bery was addressing a special India side session at the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on Indian model of SDG Localisation: Towards full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.’ His remarks comes as countries around the world work towards achieving the ambitious UN’s targets. In this Decade of Action, we must identify models which have produced results. We do not have the luxury of time to develop solutions from scratch and perhaps the Indian model of SDG localisation is relevant. The path of attaining SDGs is long and challenging, but exciting and engaging, Bery said here on Wednesday.
The event was organised by NITI Aayog, Permanent Mission of India to the UN, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), India and UN in India. Bery highlighted the achievements and outcomes in India in the last 6-7 years, which he said are not only because of the SDGs, but they are captured and driven by the SDGs. About 330 million more people have gained access to improved sanitation, 233 million more people have obtained access to clean cooking fuel, electricity coverage has improved from 88 per cent to 97 per cent benefiting 183 million more people, health coverage programmes covering over 500 million people have been rolled out and pediatric vaccination has also improved, he said.
When you have achievements of this scale in a nation with the population of India, this does two things. First, in and of itself, it represents substantial progress towards the achievement of the SDGs at a global level. Secondly, it also is a tribute to India’s own efforts through the machinery to deliver results at scale, which are of the size of the US for example, he said. Bery added that it would be remiss of him not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic, a “crisis of unprecedented” scale. “The response to the pandemic driven by the government and with the full participation of other stakeholders has been exemplary, he said, as he acknowledged and voiced appreciation for the collaboration and partnership with the UN in India and UNDP on COVID issues as well as on India’s efforts to localise the SDGs.
Bery also highlighted how cooperative federalism is a key approach for driving growth and development in India. Through our monitoring tools, we strive to trigger competition at the sub-national level, he said, adding that the SDG India Index and Dashboard have created intense competition amongst the states, with states that do well in the third, fourth, and fifth positions strive to reach the first position and other states focus on doing better than their neighbours. The spirit of competition has been prompting the states to do better, this has resulted in superior outcomes, he said. The event was also addressed by Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed, Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of UNDP Usha Rao-Monari, UN Resident Coordinator in India Shombi Sharp and Resident Representative, UNDP India Shoko Noda.
In his remarks, Sharp said that it’s no overstatement to note that as the world inches closer to Agenda 2030, to achieve the Global Goals India will be the game changer where sustainable and inclusive development is not a standalone project but a truly national mission. When we look at the global targets, upwards of half of those global targets live, reside in India. It’s really not an overstatement to say that India will, to a large degree, determine the world’s success, he said. Sharp said he has never seen a country embrace the SDGs to the degree that India has and reiterated how high the stakes are and how important the role of India is, at the global level to achieve the SDGs.
He commended the Indian government and NITI Aayog for the truly impressive degree of SDG localisation, indicators and targets embedded in planning at the central level down to the state levels, districts and even the household level, which he said is really impressive. Sharp reiterated that the UN system is committed to be a trusted and deep partner with India and is launching the new UN Sustainable Development Partnership framework for the next five years designed together with NITI Aayog and bringing the whole of government approach. One of the areas that we’ve identified is that our role in India is clearly a two-way partnership. It’s not just about bringing international best practice to India. But codifying, recognising the increasing amount of Indian best practice and bringing that to the world, Sharp said.
Noda added that the event showcased how the Indian government has been leading efforts to overcome the impact of the pandemic and put India back on the development path to achieve the SDGs. “The state governments have played a critical role in delivering solutions on the ground in partnership with development partners, including the United Nations,” Noda said. She underlined that if India succeeds in achieving the SDGs, the world will. I strongly believe that India will succeed and therefore the world will also succeed, she said, adding that the SDG localisation architecture is really the backbone of India’s success. SDG localisation in India has such a strong foundation and the world has so much to learn from India, she said.