New Delhi: The third and final day of the North East Sustainable Development Conclave in Guwahati witnessed three technical sessions with participation from senior government officials, civil society organisations, think tanks, academia, media and startups.
The day began with the fifth technical session of the conclave on ‘Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship’, and was chaired by Rajiv Kumar Bora, Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, Government of Assam. Issues surrounding the high incidence of dropout, low enrolment, teachers’ absenteeism, habitation without schooling facilities, and quality issues were deliberated upon.
The session substantially focused on issues around vocational education, skill development, entrepreneurship development and creation of jobs. “Strengthening and linking the education, skilling and entrepreneurial ecosystem will be a key driver of holistic development in the North Eastern Region,” said Bora.
The sixth technical session on ‘Communication, Connectivity and Infrastructure Development’ was chaired by Shiladitya Chatterjee, Adviser (SDGs), Government of Assam. The session saw participation of experts from waterways, transport and the academia. The importance of physical as well as digital infrastructure development, an area of concern in this region, was impressed upon. The session ended with a discussion on replicable solutions and the need for fostering partnerships for adopting cost-effective technology for infrastructure development.
The seventh and the final technical session of the Conclave addressing ‘Inequality and Exclusion in the North East’ was chaired by Sanyukta Samaddar, Adviser (SDGs), NITI Aayog, Government of India. Representatives from civil society organisations and cooperative banks participated in the discussion. The session was based on the core SDG principle of ‘Leave No One Behind’, which is especially pertinent to the diverse North Eastern Region. The session brought together various initiatives to address inequality faced by different communities and regions within the North East that are at risk for exclusion.
The ‘Way Forward and Valedictory’ session was chaired by Moses Chalai, Secretary North Eastern Council. All the recommendations and suggestions presented in the 3-day Conclave were summarised for a holistic way forward. Senior government officials from all the eight North Eastern states were part of the session to deliberate on the paths forward for implementing and achieving the SDGs. Ways for convergence and collaboration of all the stakeholders were explored for making a greater impact. “States are the biggest stakeholders in the achievement of SDGs. Community partnership and ownership are also critical elements in this process. So is bringing women on board,” saidChalai.
The session ended with a shared perspective of taking collaborative steps towards improving innovation, cooperation and partnerships for sustainable development. The valedictory address was delivered by Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India. “Localising SDGs in the NER would entail working with the State Governments and local communities especially those sections that are vulnerable, in the spirit of leaving no one behind,” said Noda.
The deliberations on the 3rd day focusing on education, entrepreneurship, skill development, transport & infrastructure connectivity, addressing inequalities & exclusion and the recommendations which emerged will provide valuable inputs towards India’s second Voluntary National Review during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum scheduled to be held in July 2020.
“In a milestone achievement, 8 states have finalised and launched their SDG state indicator framework thereby aligning their monitoring and evaluation systems with SDG targets,” said Samaddar in her closing remarks.
North East Sustainable Development Goals Conclave 2020 was held from 24th – 26th February 2020, at the Assam Administrative Staff College, Guwahati with the goal of identifying solutions as well as accelerators for the implementation of SDGs in the North Eastern Region (NER). The 3-day Conclave was organized by NITI Aayog, in partnership with the North Eastern Council, Govt of Assam and Tata Trusts, the conclave was supported by UNDP and RIS.
NITI Aayog has the mandate of overseeing the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national level. Progress in the North East Region is crucial in this decade of action for the country to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and this conclave is part of NITI Aayog’s continuous efforts towards fostering partnerships at the sub-national level.
In terms of SDG localisation, the states in the region have taken major strides in integrating the Agenda 2030 framework in their developmental planning and vision documents.
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