News Excerpt
NITI Aayog presented India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, 2020.

Pre-Connect
•    HLPF:HLPF is the foremost international platform for follow-up and review of progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The HLPF meets annually under the aegis of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN.
•    ECOSOC:It ensures the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals.
•    VNR:The VNRs aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The VNRs presented by Member States at the HLPF are a critical component of the review of progress and implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

India VNR 2020
    NITI Aayog has the mandate of overseeing the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national level.
    India calls for developed nations to assist developing ones.
    India reiterates that the developed countries have an intrinsic obligation to provide financial assistance to the developing countries, especially for global public goods such as climate change mitigation and control of pandemics, so that they can fully achieve the SDGs.
    Deliberating on the “SDG-17” that is about “partnerships for the goals”, the report highlighted the need for international cooperation for curbing illicit financial flows.
    SDG financing: India needs to enhance its spending by an additional 6.2% of GDP while doing major upgrade of its statistical system.
    SDG Localization: The NITI Aayog has prepared the report by engaging with sub-national and local governments, civil society organizations, local communities, and people in vulnerable situations and the private sector. Localization can provide more and more data to measure and effective results under framework.

Way Forward
    Addition of indicators for targets which are presently not covered: The National Indicator Framework currently does not include indicators for 36 out of the 169 SDG targets. This is due to the fact that the statistical system, historically, has not been collecting data which correspond to some of the new challenges put forward by the SDG framework.
    Improving the frequency of data collection: It is strenuous to collect data on a wide array of themes across India, in short intervals.
    Data quality: With data in large quantity emanating from a variety of sources on a myriad of themes, it is imperative to focus on data quality. The third-party led independent surveys can be done for SDG data validation.
    SDGs Monitoring: SDG localization is the principal approach to achieve the 2030 Agenda in a time-bound manner in India. In this regard, it is essential that the States and UTs set up their own SDG monitoring systems, even Gram Panchayat have to monitor SDGs on the basis of resources that they have and complementing the monitoring efforts by NITI Aayog.