Convert pandemic situation into opportunity to meet sustainable development goals

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There is a need to translate the coronavirus-led pandemic situation into an opportunity to meet the sustainable development goals, Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Monday. Kumar was speaking while presenting Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, 2020 hosted digitally, with several participants from other countries.

HLPF is the international platform for follow-up and review of progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “We should all obliterate all divisions and distinctions amongst us and come together to try and convert the prevailing situation into an opportunity for accelerating our progress towards achieving the SDG targets,” Niti Aayog said in a release quoting Kumar as saying.

Expressing solidarity with all the countries grappling with challenges brought about by the pandemic, he highlighted the key features of India’s response to the pandemic under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign, said the release. He also dwelt on the remarkable progress India has achieved in reducing multi-dimensional poverty, providing food safety, ensuring education for all, universalising access to electricity, clean cooking fuel and sanitation, while also operationalising the world’s largest health insurance programme by covering 500 million citizens, Niti Aayog said.

“We are deeply committed to building on existing efforts and undertake newer initiatives to accelerate progress on the SDG targets for long term transformation. In this endeavour, peer learning and knowledge sharing will play a key role which we are actively fostering among States and Union Territories,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said. Bangladesh, Georgia, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria and Uganda were among the participants.

Kumar also released the India VNR 2020 report titled ‘Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local’, which is a comprehensive account of the adoption and implementation of the 2030 Agenda in India. The report discusses at length the policy and enabling environment, India’s approach to localising SDGs, and strengthening means of implementation, Niti Aayog said.

Poverty elimination, good health and well being, quality education, clean water, affordable and clean energy, reduction of inequality, creation of decent work and economic growth are among the 17 SDGs adopted under the UN framework.

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