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India at a Crossroads: SDGs and Cooperation with the EU

Shah recently wrote an op-ed for the Commentaries series of the Istituto Affari Internazionali in Rome, which has been published online. The piece is on India’s performance and priorities regarding the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and collaboration with the EU.

Aayushi Liana Shah
06 April 2021
India at a Crossroads: SDGs and Cooperation with the EU

Endorsed by all UN member states in September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent an ambitious roadmap aimed at achieving a sustainable future for all. The seventeen goals within the SDG agenda address key global challenges like poverty, inequality and climate change, which, along with the 169 associated targets, are to be achieved by 2030.

As demanding as this objective may be, one country whose actions are especially important for the attainment of this global objective is India. Home to one-sixth of the world’s population, India has been touted as holding the “key to the success of the 2030 Agenda”. Accounting for 30 per cent of the extreme poor globally, and being host to thirteen of the twenty most polluted cities in the world in 2015, much of the global progress on achieving the SDGs is contingent on progress in this single country.

Overall, one can say that its status as a fast-growing major economy and the sheer necessity of its success has led India to strive to align its national development agenda with the SDGs. Since 2015, several programmes and initiatives at the national and sub-national levels have produced victories such as a reduction in poverty, increased education levels, improved sanitation and infrastructure, among others. However, the 2030 target is not an easy one, especially for India, which faces hurdles such as a vast and diverse population, low per-capita income, rising energy needs, infrastructural challenges, alongside the non-uniform progress across its states.

Additionally, new hurdles, such as the devastating human, economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic demand further resilience-building interventions, as well as renewed attention to critical areas. Efficient execution of plans, and spirited cooperation with international partners like the EU are crucial to India’s success and thus also the world’s progress towards achieving the SGD agenda.

Read the publication here

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