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India Slips 6 Positions Down In 2017 Sustainable Development Index

With respect to East and South Asia countries, which India is a part of, the report concludes that the dashboard shows that the region faces major SDG challenges in health and education

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In a recent report called the SDG Index and Dashboards Report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and Bertelsmann Stiftung, India ranked 116th out of 157 countries with respect to Sustainable Development Goals, with a score of 58.1 out of 100, tying with Syrian Arab Republic. India had ranked 110th last year on the SDG Index.

With respect to East and South Asia countries, which India is a part of, the report concludes that “while tremendous progress has been made on reducing extreme income poverty (SDG 1), the dashboard shows that the region faces major SDG challenges in health (SDG 3) and education (SDG 4)”. 

The report also adds that “SDG 2 (improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture) comes up as red across the region since countries either face high levels of malnutrition and stunting or unsustainable agricultural practices. There are still significant shortfalls on ensuring access to basic infrastructure services and innovation (SDGs 6, 7, 9) across the region.”

Regarding East and South Asia countries, the report states that “many countries face major challenges on ensuring gender inequality (SDG 5) and promoting environmental sustainability (SDGs 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, as well as SDG 2 on sustainable agriculture). Overall, the dashboard shows that the region needs to better balance its economic performance with environmental sustainability”.

"Not only does a rising trend of nationalism and protectionism impede the implementation of the goals, but as the report shows, industrialised countries are not serving as role models," the report added.

With regards to the challenges faced by poor and rich countries in achieving SDGs, the report states that “Poor countries face significant challenges in ending extreme poverty in all its forms, social inclusion, access to essential infrastructure, and many forms of environmental degradation. Richer countries face more specific but nonetheless major challenges in areas such as climate change mitigation, inequality, sustaining the global partnership, and targeted challenges in areas such as nutrition, gender equality, or education.”

India is ranked behind countries such as Nepal, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and China. Pakistan is ranked 122. The report said that the countries which are closest to fulfilling the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries. Sweden leads the list, followed by Denmark and Finland. Among the G7 countries, only Germany and France can be found among the top ten performers. The United States ranks 42nd on the Index, while Russia and China rank 62nd and 71st respectively.

"SDG Index and Dashboards highlight the need for urgent action on the part of G20 countries in making sustainable development a reality both within and beyond their borders. If the world is to achieve the SDGs, all countries must take up the goals as part of their national development strategies, and ensure that they take responsibility for their impact on the rest of the world," said Jeffrey D Sachs, Director of the SDSN.

“The SDG Index and Dashboards highlight substantial variation across countries in a region or income group. In combination, the SDG Index and Dashboards can help countries benchmark their progress against that of their peers and against the top performers to understand reasons for differential performance and to devise better strategies to achieve the SDGs by 2030”, adds the report regarding the need for countries to usefully benchmark themselves against their peers as well as against the goal thresholds.

Regarding poor countries, the report states that they “need considerable global assistance to supplement national leadership. This assistance should come in many forms: foreign direct investment, global tax reform to enable the poor countries to fight tax evasion by international investors, technology sharing, capacity development, and of course, more Official Development Assistance.”

“Despite our best efforts to include as many indicators as possible, a number of important data gaps remain. Addressing these gaps will require increased investments in statistical capacity and other forms of data collection especially but not only in low-income developing countries”, added the report, regarding the information gaps in tracking SDGs.

“We need better indicators and more robust data on international spill-over effects. We lack conceptual clarity and/or data on how to measure key environmental spill-overs related to the loss of biodiversity driven particularly by agricultural expansion; the pollution of water and air; nutrient flows; unsustainable production technologies; and consumption of materials. We also need to link national data on spill-over effects more clearly to the dynamics of key international supply chains that drive many environmental spill-over effects and provide the operational frameworks for tackling them,” added the report.

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