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HLPF Side-Event:

“How can localization of SDGs contribute to Leaving no one behind”?

[8 July 2021; 0730 hrs]

 

Statement by Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

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Thank you Dr. Osman,

 

At the outset, allow me to welcome the Hon’ble Minister of Planning and Economic Development of Egypt and thank the Permanent Missions of Egypt, Brazil, Kenya and UNFPA for organizing today’s important event on localization of SDGs.

 

2. The global pandemic is threatening to disrupt the “Decade of Action”.  It goes without saying that we need to work together collectively to ensure that all countries, especially vulnerable ones, stay their course on the 2030 SDG Agenda.

 

3. For the 2030 Agenda to succeed in big countries like India with a population of 1.3 billion, SDG localization is an imperative.  Breaking down goals and implementation to sub-national and local levels is the only way to succeed in achieving SDG targets.  Localization also allows developing local solutions to local challenges by empowering provincial and local levels of government.

 

4. The overall coordination for implementation of SDGs in India is handled by the National Institution for Transforming India or NITI Aayog, which is driven by the mandate to work in a spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism and has been extensively engaging with governments at national and local levels as well as civil society organizations. NITI Aayog has assisted in developing SDG vision documents at sub-national and local levels.  The fact that our Government has given a pride of place to digital governance, especially to make them people-centric, has paved the way for citizen-friendly localization.

 

5. Institutional structures at the State and local levels, such as nodal SDG department, dedicated SDG teams, and district-level structures, help dissolve a silo-based functioning.  After the fiscal decentralization, the Government took forward in 2015-16 the implementation of local development plans by local government integrating SDGs into them.

 

6. The crucial aspect of SDG localization is the fine-tuning of the monitoring and data system. The first major breakthrough was the development of the State Integrated Framework (SIF).  Several States have taken it further down to the district level by developing the District Integrated Framework and now involve technical partners and other stakeholders in this framework.

 

7. It will be recalled that India’s second VNR entitled, “Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local”, at the 2020 HLPF, adopted a “whole of-society” approach.

 

8. The ‘SDG India Index’, spearheaded by NITI Aayog since 2018, plays a pivotal role in SDG localization by measuring performance by using globally-accepted methodology and ranking them accordingly.  It is being brought out annually since 2018.  The 2021 edition of the Index covers all 17 Goals, 70 targets, and 115 indicators. The Index offers valuable insights to policymakers on the remaining distance to travel, gaps, and data and statistical challenges. The utility of the Index extends beyond progress monitoring - it has implemented cooperative and competitive federalism in the true spirit of democracy and good governance.

 

9. SDG localization process is not limited only to government interventions, but also includes civil society organizations.

 

10. Another example of successful implementation of localization of SDGs has been the Aspirational Districts Programme which focuses on 112 of India’s most developmentally challenged districts across five sectors such as health, education, agriculture, infrastructure and skill development. The program involves real-time monitoring of 49 indicators across the five focus areas on the ‘Champions of Change’ dashboard, with a monthly ranking of the best-performing districts. The programme has also strengthened the technical and administrative capacities of the districts through collaboration with development partners for providing technical expertise and skills training. In June 2021, UNDP’s appraisal report has pointed out that the programme is a very successful global model of “local area development” by leveraging local structures of governance with multi-stakeholder partnerships, to ensure that localisation of the SDGs becomes a reality.

 

11. In spite of the pandemic, we have seen remarkable progress in some crucial goals, for example in Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).

 

12. To conclude, there is no “one size fits all” approach for localization, but we can certainly share experience and learn from each other.  I am convinced that due to the localization efforts we are undertaking, our path to implement the 2030 Agenda will be relatively smooth even in the face of the pandemic.

 

Thank you.

 

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