Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Dr. Anil Bhat, Dr. Jyoti Kachroo
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets and 200 indicators. Commanded by the United Nations through a purposeful process involving its 193 Member States, as well as global civil society, the goals are contained in paragraph 54 United Nations Resolution A/RES/70/1 of 25 September 2015.  The SDGs build on the Principles agreed upon under Resolution A/RES/66/288, popularly known as The Future We Want. It is a non-binding document released as a result of Rio+20 Conference held in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The SDGs were in large measure informed by the often quoted assertion by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that “we don’t have plan B because there is no planet B”. The 17 Global Goals called as Sustainable Development Goals such as No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Partnerships are to be achieved for welfare of the people of world. Various action plans have been developed by global leaders to achieve and address these SDGs. As far as No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Climate Action and Life on Land is concerned, these have direct relevance to agriculture. Work is already in progress to achieve these four SDGs but still needs to be done more so that results are seen at ground level. Extreme poverty has been cut by more than half since 1990- however, as per the data available more than 1 in 5 people live on less than Rs. 81 a day. Every 3.5 second child dies due to poverty.
Women and children are anemic and more over GHG emission is 20 per cent from agriculture. Poverty is not only lack of income or resources but also includes lack of basic services, such as education, hunger, social discrimination and exclusion, and lack of participation in decision making. It’s most shocking effects are on children, to whom it poses a great threat by affecting their education, health, nutrition, and security. Zero hunger does not only mean to end hunger but we have to achieve food security along with improved nutrition. Globally, 1 in 9 people are undernourished and most of these people live in developing countries. Targets are already set which are to be achieved by 2030 such as end hunger and ensure access by all people (in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants) to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. Nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons are to be addressed by 2025 and for this we have to see how malnutrition can be reduced or eradicate. Target is also set to double agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples and family farmers. In addition to above, all other system, research and services related to agriculture are to be achieved. For achieving target under climate action SDG, there is an urgent need to battle climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and encouraging developments in renewable energy. One of the report states that challenging climate change will only be possible if the SDGs are met. As we know, development and climate are indistinguishably linked, particularly around poverty, gender equality, and energy. The UN encourages the public sector to take initiative in this effort to minimize negative impacts on the environment. Execution, no doubt of the SDGs has started worldwide and so in India but It is not easy job. However, many people, universities, governments and organisations work on several SDGs at the same time everywhere. In each country, governments must take initiative to achieve SDGs by forming baseline for SDGs, translating the goals into national legislation, develop a plan of action, allocate a budget, be open and search for partners. Poor countries need the support of rich countries, and coordination at the international level is crucial. Potential of improved technology needs to be harnessed, policies to be framed, best practices to identify and check the feasibility of such practices to adopt. More investment in agriculture is required to increase farmer’s income if SDGs are to be achieved at a greater pace.
Now time has come to reshape agri-food system to achieve SDGs in India. Agri food system must be productive and efficient, environmentally sustainable and climatically adopted, inclusive, nutritious and health drawn, business friendly. Strengthening of rural urban linkages will help to improve economic development as well as food security and nutrition. Therefore scaling up of innovations in terms of policies, schemes, institution and private sector is very important in every field to achieve SDGs. As far as agricultural research is concerned, it can contribute by convergence across themes and schemes to leverage markets in entire world. We have to empower farming institutions, enroll private sector in research, extension and all aspects of development. It is always time taking between development and adoption and we have to reduce that. At last, we can say, in 2017 and onwards, India must move forward along with world to achieve SDGs.