The Northeast Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Conclave 2020 was a three-day event held from 24th to 26th February in Guwahati, Assam. The event was organised by NITI Aayog, in partnership with the state government of Assam and Tata Trust, and was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS). The larger premise of the conclave was concentrated around the topic ‘Partnership, Cooperation and Development of North East States’ and aimed at identifying solutions as well as accelerators for the implementation of SDGs in the North Eastern Region.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. All the SDGs are based on the need for ‘sustainable development’ i.e. the avoidance of depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. It is based on understanding that we must meet our needs without compromising the ability of our future generations to meet their needs. The SDGs are also based on an ‘integrative’ model - action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.
In India, NITI Aayog has been entrusted with overseeing the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national level. According to the officials at NITI Aayog, progress in the northeast region is crucial in this decade of action for the country to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and this conclave was part of NITI Aayog’s efforts towards fostering partnerships at the sub-national level. The Conclave was aimed at a focused and collaborative drive to identify constraints in accelerated, inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth in the northeast region, while recommending suitable interventions for addressing these constraints. All these efforts, it is hoped, would converge to accelerate the collective drive to achieve the SDGs in the region.
The discussions at the Conclave led to: identification of the factors within the region causing deprivations amongst certain groups and communities, including women, and the ways to resolve them. A key highlight of the conclave was the release of reports on challenges, prospects and SDG best practices. There were 4 reports released during the event – Compendium of State Indicator Framework of 8 North Eastern States; North East and SDGs by RIS and Tata Trusts; Stories of Change by Tata Trusts; and Best Practices Portfolio on North East by UNDP. It was also recognised that there is a need to strengthen the partnership between the Centre and states in furthering the SDGs, with particular emphasis on strengthening impact of centrally sponsored schemes and projects. The conclave ended with a shared perspective on taking collaborative steps towards improving innovation, cooperation and partnerships for sustainable development.