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G20: India seeks to prioritize One Health approach

NITI Aayog organised a hybrid webinar on “Accelerating Progress on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” at Dr Ambedkar International Centre today in collaboration with knowledge partners, Institute for Human Development (IHD), Centre for Social and Economic Progress (CSEP), and UNDP India. The webinar was structured around the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (NDLD), which includes a specific focus on accelerating progress on the SDGs. The NDLD provides pathways for nations in their journey towards achieving the SDGs.

The webinar was organised to advance the implementation of SDGs in India, aligning with the G20 NDLD and encouraging domestic ownership of India’s commitment to the global advancement of these critical development objectives. The event saw participation from various stakeholders from across the country, including think tanks, academia, practitioners, and thematic experts.

Suman Bery, Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, stressed the pivotal role of NITI Aayog in adapting the SDGs to the local context by establishing a presence at the state level through SDG India Index. Furthermore, NITI Aayog is working on the national front through programs like the Aspirational Districts Program and Aspiration Blocks program, effectively mobilizing a ‘Jan Aandolan’. He also noted that India is likely to achieve a significant target on halving multidimensional poverty well before 2030, providing a model for the global community, particularly for developing countries, to pursue their respective goals. Thus, India’s achievements are contributing to global success.

Dr V. K. Paul, Member (Health), directed his attention to the progress of India concerning SDG Goals of ‘Zero Hunger’, ‘Good Health & Wellbeing’, and ‘Quality Education’. He underscored India’s focus on ‘Zero Hunger’ with a specific focus on nutrition, NCDs and preventable deaths. In light of this, he called upon all stakeholders to share their recommendations and innovative ideas for enhancing outcomes on these goals.

Dr Ramesh Chand, Member (Agriculture) emphasized the current agricultural challenges. He highlighted the challenges pertaining to rising real food prices and increased food production costs. Despite technological advancements, production costs haven’t significantly decreased, and supply chains remain fragmented. To tackle these issues, we must boost people’s income, he added.

Session on eliminating hunger and malnutrition focused on access to food, awareness on and increasing nutritional variety. Indevar Pandey, Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development, spoke about the critical role of technology, particularly data in addressing malnutrition in the country.

The second session on ‘Ensuring Good Health for All’ session centered on achieving universal health coverage and addressing health challenges. It emphasized the One Health approach, recognizing the interconnectedness of human, animal, and health ecosystem. Discussions covered strengthening primary healthcare and the health workforce, eradicating ongoing epidemics like AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis, and water-borne diseases. Prioritizing the One Health approach for combating Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and promoting evidence-based Traditional and Complementary Medicine in health were also highlighted.

The third session on “Delivering Quality Education” focused on dimensions of National Education Policy and highlighted dropouts in education due to health or economic reasons and the role of community engagement. It also included discussions on improving foundational learning, harnessing digital technologies and overcoming digital divides to ensure access to quality education, equipping educational institutions and teachers to keep pace with emerging trends and technological advances, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and enabling lifelong learning, particularly focused on skilling, reskilling, and upskilling, especially for vulnerable groups.­­­­­­­­

The closing segment, chaired by Dr Arvind Virmani, Member, NITI Aayog, included the need for concerted action, effective local implementation, and continued collaboration across sectors and regions. The speakers underscored the importance of aligning with the spirit of the SDGs and fostering cooperative federalism and partnerships for sustainable development.

Participants and speakers at this action-oriented webinar expressed their optimism about the progress and achievements to come as India and the global community forge ahead on their journey in the run-up to 2030.

NITI Aayog is the nodal agency of Government of India for coordinating the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national levels. With just seven years left to the 2030 Agenda, the G20 New Delhi Leader’s Declaration has provided the impetus at the international, national and sub-national levels to chart a pathway for accelerating achievements and outcomes on the 17 SDGs.
MB Bureau

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