UN SDG Report: Countries embrace efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals amid mounting global challenges

A fast-changing climate, conflict, inequality, persistent pockets of poverty and hunger and rapid urbanization are challenging countries’ efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a UN report launched in New York on 20 June 2018.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 found that conflict and climate change were major contributing factors leading to growing numbers of people facing hunger and forced displacement, as well as curtailing progress towards universal access to basic water and sanitation services.

For the first time in more than a decade, there are now approximately 38 million more hungry people in the world, rising from 777 million in 2015 to 815 million in 2016. According to the report, conflict is now one of the main drivers of food insecurity in 18 countries. In 2017, the world experienced the costliest North Atlantic hurricane season on record, driving the global economic losses attributed to the disasters to over $300 billion.

At the same time, the Report found that more people are leading better lives than they were just a decade ago. The proportion of the world’s workers living with their families on less than 1.90 per person a day declined significantly over the past two decades, falling from 26.9 per cent in 2000 to 9.2 per cent in 2017.

The under-five mortality rate dropped by almost 50 per cent and in the least developed countries, the proportion of population with access to electricity has more than doubled between 2000 and 2016. However, in 2015, 2.3 billion people still lacked even a basic level of sanitation service and 892 million people continued to practice open defecation. In 2016, there were 216 million cases of malaria compared to 210 million cases in 2013 and close to 4 billion people were left without social protection in 2016.

The SDG Report presents an overview of progress toward achieving the Goals, which were unanimously adopted by countries in 2015.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin said “Transitioning towards more sustainable and resilient societies also requires an integrated approach that recognizes that these challenges–and their solutions–are interrelated.”

As the global community moves forward to achieve the SDGs and address existing challenges, reliable, timely, accessible and disaggregated data is critically needed. This requires technology and innovation, increased resources and political commitment to build strong data and statistical systems in all countries.

Other findings of the Report include:


  • Rates of child marriage have continued to decline around the world. In Southern Asia, a girl’s risk of marrying in childhood has dropped by over 40 per cent between 2000 and 2017.
  • Nine out of 10 people living in cities breathe polluted air.
  • In 2016, the absolute number of people living without electricity dropped below the symbolic threshold of one billion.
  • Land degradation threatens the livelihoods of over one billion people.

Statewide Awareness campaign against Child Sexual Abuse, ‘Paree Pain Katha Tiye’

The 15-day statewide awareness campaign against child sexual abuse, ‘Paree Pain Katha Tiye’ (A word for little angel) led by the Odisha Police in collaboration with UNICEF, came to a close today.

Sh. Prafulla Samal, Minister WCD, SSEPD and MSME, Sh. Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister Tourism and Culture, Sh. Sashi Bhusan Behera, Minister of Finance GoO, Sh. Rakesh Srivastava, IAS, Secretary, MW&CD GoI, Sh. R. Balakrishnan, IAS, Development Commissioner, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sharma, IPS, Director General of Police, Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India and senior police officers were present at the occasion. Also present were elected representatives, UNICEF officials, development partners and members from civil society.

Sh. Sashi Bhusan Behera, Minister of Finance, said that the campaign has set an example not just for the state but the entire nation that emphasizes that each one of us has a social responsibility.

Sh. Prafulla Samal, Minister, WCD, SSEPD and MSME highlighted the efforts of the government to protect rights of women and children in the state. Stating that it is a joint responsibility of all departments to ensure that all citizens are safe and in this regard it is a beginning of collaborative efforts to take the campaign to the next phase.

Sh. Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister Tourism and Culture said that the Department of Culture will continue to support the issue through the involvement of folk artists federation. These efforts are worthy as they build confidence between the police and the citizens.

Sh. R Balakrishnan, Development Commissioner congratulated the Odisha police and UNICEF on the campaign on an issue that continues to be a priority for the state government. He emphasized the need for collective introspection to understand why child sexual abuse takes place and to continue the conversations at all levels.

Mr. Rakesh Srivastava, IAS, Secretary MWCD, Government of India, congratulated the Odisha Police for taking lead in such a campaign. Quoting data from National Crime Records Bureau he said that that every 15 minutes a child is sexually abused in the country with profound consequences for the child and the family. He emphasized the role that panchayats can play in reducing such incidents together with child protection committees.  He added that the POCSO Act is being amended to make it more gender neutral as young boys too are at risk of sexual abuse.

Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sharma, IPS, Director General of Police, Odisha expressed his happiness for resounding success of the campaign. He thanked UNICEF, the SsP and other senior police officers and different stake holders for their help in making the campaign successful. While narrating the scale and enormity of the campaign Dr. Sharma informed that in last two weeks 1300 structured community interactions were held across the state. People from all regions and communities whole heartedly participated in the programme. He informed that gathering that though the intensive two weeks campaign comes to end today, the mission will continue in different forms. State Police has chalked out programme for this purpose which will be implemented in coming days.

Speaking at the function Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India, congratulated the efforts made by the police in raising this issue. She said that the Paree Paein Katha Tiye campaign has built trust between police and communities and importantly, has broken the silence and taboo around the issue. She hoped that the entire country embraces the bold example set by the Odisha police and make any form of violence against children unacceptable.

In the two-week period from May 28 to June 15, 2018, the 15 ‘Paree Express’ covered all the 30 districts of the state, covering 40,487 KMS reaching approximately 11,73,947 people in more than 1,300 locations. It involved influencers from all walks of life including elected representatives, film and TV personalities, religious leaders, NGOs, school children, frontline functionaries, youth, SHG members and media.

The online campaign through the Odisha Police Facebook and Twitter handles reached more than 13.16 lakh people across the state and outside. The official campaign hashtag #SaveParee trended nationally for 3 hours on Twitter on the day of the launch and reached over one crore people across the country and beyond.

Specially created posts, influencer videos and updates from the field along with #SaveParee and #ENDviolence hashtags were used.  Celebrity influencers from Odisha including Padmashree Aruna Mohanty, Kuna Tripathy, noted TV personality, Kalpana Dash, first woman mountaineer from Odisha and Dutee Chand, champion sprinter_ contributed their time pro bono with short videos of  their messages  posted drawing greater attention to the campaign.  Celebrities who joined the online campaign included Sona Mohapatra, noted singer, Sudarshan Patnaik, noted sand artist and Nilab Madhav Panda, film producer.


It’s an honour to speak to the CVE community today, and so soon after Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK in April. Going by yesterday’s introductory sessions I’m sure we have a fascinating series of panels to look forward to.


I’d first like to start by reflecting on the strength and importance of the partnership between our two countries. We are bound together by personal, professional, cultural and institutional ties.


We have a shared interest in each other’s prosperity, generating jobs, developing skills, and enhancing the competitiveness of the UK’s and India’s economies.


And our business links are strengthened by the people-to-people links between our countries – what we now describe as a ‘Living Bridge’.


We both have a history of democracy, with India being the largest democracy in the world. We recognise that diversity and cohesion creates safer and prosperous societies.


These longstanding historical ties are of course also the foundation on which we cooperate on counter-terrorism and extremism issues.


And that’s what I’m here to talk about today.


As the UK Government’s Minister for Countering Extremism, I want to take this opportunity to look beyond counter-terrorism and instead focus on our approach to identifying and countering extremism in the UK.


I’ll focus on three main areas:


What we mean by ‘extremism’ in the UK;


The progress we’ve made towards tackling extremism since we published our Counter-Extremism Strategy in 2015; and


Finally, I want to talk about the importance of our shared work to counter-terrorism – the most harmful of all forms of extremism.



British Minister for Countering Extremism, Baroness Williams, has held bilateral talks with Indian government ministers and will use a speech in New Delhi to outline how closer cooperation with trusted allies is the best way to undermine extremist ideologies across the globe.


Baroness Williams’ visit builds on the closer cooperation on counter-terrorism and counter-extremism which Prime Minister Theresa May agreed with Prime Minister Modi during the Indian leader’s visit to the United Kingdom in April.


Addressing the Observer Research Foundation conference, Baroness Williams will say:


“It is no secret that there are those in nations across the world, who do not share our values of democracy, the rule of law, mutual respect and tolerance of individuals of different faiths and beliefs.


“The threat we face from extremists is unprecedented. The internet is enabling them to spread their ideologies at a pace and scale never before seen. Defeating extremism in all its forms is not something any government can, or should, do alone.


“Only through close cooperation with trusted allies and partners can we undermine the extremists who wish to do us all harm.”


The Minister is set to outline the UK government’s strategic approach to countering extremism, which vigorously opposes extremist ideologies in all their forms, whether violent or non-violent, Islamist or far and extreme right wing.


She will also discuss key successes in the UK’s approach including establishing the independent Commission for Countering Extremism and creating a network of over 160 civil society groups who challenge extremism in their local areas.


Baroness Williams has also held meetings with Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar, and Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Home Affairs, focused on what more can be done to tackle the threat of extremism in both countries.


The visit follows Prime Minister Modi’s successful visit to the United Kingdom in April this year, where he and Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to work in partnership to take decisive and concerted actions against globally-proscribed terrorist organisations. As part of this renewed cooperation, the UK and India will work together to tackle the threat of online radicalisation and violent extremism.

India-United Nations Development Partnership 22 projects have been approved in 25 partner countries

“India played a very important role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres during anniversary celebrations of the India-UN Development Partnership Fund at United Nations Headquarters. “India is for all of us a very important inspiration.”

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund, established by the Government of India to work with developing countries in a spirit of South-South cooperation, has forged partnerships with 25 partner countries on 22 development projects during its first year. The United Nations Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) manages the Fund.

“The Fund shows a further deepening of South-South cooperation, an increasingly valuable dimension of our work for development,” the Secretary-General emphasized. “The Fund focus on supporting people in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) reflects our ambition to help those left furthest behind and to reach them first.”

The Government of India has committed $100 million over the next decade to the Fund, to support projects that are in alignment with the 2030 Agenda. It adheres to the principles of South-South cooperation, and places a priority on national ownership and leadership, equality, sustainability, development of local capacity, and mutual benefit.

For example, a Climate Early Warning System is being implemented in 7 Pacific Island Countries to increase resilience to natural disasters; a governance project in Swaziland will engage citizens in the collection of data on poverty in order to inform sound public policies; a climate-response project in Chad will help restore degraded lands and enhance agricultural production systems; and a governance project in Uruguay will enhance the government’s public service delivery through digital processing and monitoring tools.

“We in India are acutely aware of the development challenges facing countries of the South, ” said H.E. Mr. Syed Akbaruddin, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations. He went on to challenge the United Nations to speed up their processes of project implementation.

In April 2018, the Government of India established a separate Commonwealth Window under the India-UN Development Partnership Fund aimed at partnership with developing countries in the Commonwealth. Under this window, an additional sum of $50 million over the next five years has been committed for partnerships with developing country members of the Commonwealth. Projects supporting biomedical waste management in Grenada, clean energy in Tuvalu and census data collection in Vanuatu have been approved under this window.

“The India-UN Development Partnership Fund exemplifies South-South cooperation at work,” said H.E. Mr. Adonia Ayebare, Permanent Representative of Uganda and President of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation. “India is putting into practice what we have been discussing for so long.”

“The speed at which projects have been implemented through the Fund is impressive,” said Mr. Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme. “The best ideas, from wherever they are sourced, should be made accessible to everyone on the planet.”

“UNOPS is honoured to be called to the table by India and UNOSSC,” said Ms. Grete Faremo, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services. “We stand ready to work closely with you to implement projects of the Fund.”

H.E. Mr. Walton Alfonso Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, conveyed the appreciation of LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, for India’s “timing and response to countries requests”. “India’s climate leadership is exemplary,” he stressed. “We cannot achieve the SDGs without international support.”

“We do not have the luxury to waste time, ” said H.E. Ms Fekitamoeloa Katoa Utoikamanu, High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. “The Fund’s focus on unlocking the potential of the people in the most vulnerable countries could not be more timely.”

Mr. Jorge Chediek, UNOSSC Director, and Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation, moderated the event, which was attended by United Nations officials and over 45 Permanent Representatives.

India among the top five countries in e-waste generation: ASSOCHAM-NEC study

Despite the government’s emphasis on Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan and Smart Cities project, India continues to be generating highest e-waste vis-à-vis China, USA, Japan and Germany an ASSOCHAM-NEC recent study coinciding with the “Environment Day” (June 5) noted.
In India, Maharashtra contributes the largest e-waste of 19.8% but recycles only about 47,810 TPA (tonnes per annum) whereas as its counterparts Tamil Nadu (13%) recycles about 52,427, Uttar Pradesh (10.1%) recycles about 86,130, West Bengal (9.8%), Delhi (9.5%), Karnataka (8.9%), Gujarat (8.8%) and Madhya Pradesh (7.6), noted the joint study.
The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 52.2 million tons or 6.8 kg/ inhabitant by 2021 from 44.7 million tons in 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 20 percent, according to a study on ‘Electricals & Electronics Manufacturing in India,’ conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)-NEC joint study on “World Environment Day”.
Out of the total e-waste produced in 2016, only 20% (8.9 MT) is documented to be collected properly and recycled, while there is no record of the remaining e-waste. The quantity of e-waste generated worldwide is expected to grow at a rate of 3.15 % (CAGR), due to which the estimate for the year 2018 has risen to 47.55 MT, noted the joint study.
The total value of all raw materials present in e-waste is estimated at approximately USD 61.05 billion in 2016, which is more than the GDP of most countries in the world, pointed out the joint study.
E-waste generated in India is about 2 million TPA (tonnes per annum), the quantity that is recycled is about 4,38,085 TPA. In states like Karnataka has 57 units with a capacity to process nearly 44,620 tonnes; Maharashtra has 32 units that can process 47,810 tonnes; Uttar Pradesh has 22 units to process 86,130 tonnes; Haryana has 16 units to process 49,981 tonnes. Tamil Nadu has 14 (52,427 in metric tons per annum), Gujarat has 12 units (37,262) whereas Rajasthan has 10 units (68,670) and Telangana has 4 units to process 11,800 metric tons per annum respectively.
The sad part is that a mere 5% of India’s total e-waste gets recycled due to poor infrastructure, legislation and framework which lead to a waste of diminishing natural resources, irreparable damage of environment and health of the people working in industry. Over 95% of e-waste generated is managed by the unorganised sector and scrap dealers in this market, dismantle the disposed products instead of recycling it.
E-waste typically includes discarded computer monitors, motherboards, Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT), Printed Circuit Board (PCB), mobile phones and chargers, compact discs, headphones, white goods such as Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD)/ Plasma televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators and so on.
High and prolonged exposure to these chemicals/ pollutants emitted during unsafe e-waste recycling leads to damage of nervous systems, blood systems, kidneys and brain development, respiratory disorders, skin disorders, bronchitis, lung cancer, heart, liver, and spleen damage.
The current rate of e-waste generation in India is 4.56 times greater than the annual e-waste processing capacity offered by the nation, which leads to improper and illegal dumping/ disposal of the hazardous e-waste, which further leads to environmental and health hazards, reveals the paper.
This includes 2 million tonnes generated in India, which has one of the fastest growing electronics industries in the world. Besides, electronics import also adds to waste. India’s e-waste production is likely to touch three million tonnes by the end of 2018.
E-waste includes all forms of waste products containing as a manufacturing component that run on either battery or power supply. It may include general consumer electronics, such as TV appliances, computer, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, white goods and also, industrial grade electronics, such as telecommunication systems, instrumentation systems and electronic machinery.
As Indians become richer and spend more electronic items and appliances, Computer equipment accounts for almost 70% of e-waste material followed by telecommunication equipment (12%), electrical equipment (8%) and medical equipment (7%). Other equipment, including household e-crap account for the remaining 4%, it said.

Disruption in farm supply along with high fuel cost to hit household budgets; need to reach out to farmers: ASSOCHAM

Any  disruption in supply of essential agri products including fruits, vegetables and milk due to farmers’ protest , along with a high auto fuel prices , is bound to hit the common household budget, said the ASSOCHAM, making an appeal to the government to reach out to farmers.
“Hopefully, the situation would be handled well with assurance to the farmers about their grievances which mainly relate to a fair and remunerative price for their produce. I am sure, there can be no two opinions about improving the lot of farmers who are the backbone of the Indian economy, but a sudden disruption in supply can do harm to the entire distribution chain which is under pressure because of increasing cost of transport that is reeling under the high cost of petrol and diesel,” said the Chamber Secretary General Mr D S Rawat. According to feedback of the chamber, the consumers of petrol and diesel and those suffering their cascading effect, want sizeable cut in the level of taxes on petrol and diesel , both at the Centre and state levels.
“The level of awareness among the households about the kind of taxes on the automobile fuel has increased , thanks to the mushrooming growth of social media. The response time has also quickened so much so, that the solutions to even the vexed problems are expected sooner than later.
It is a Catch – 22 situation for the farmers as well. While they are seeking better prices for their produce and reduction in cost of output, the expenses on account of transportation of their crops and on diesel for pulling ground water etc, are only increasing.
On the other hand, the consumer may not be inclined to take any extra burden. “It only makes imperative that the entire supply chain from the farm gate to the household must be modernised and made efficient with the help of technology and modern ways of doing business. It is in this context that large multi-national players like Walmart should be encouraged to set up both the front and back end logistics”.
Thankfully, in the last few days, the increase in the crude oil prices has halted a bit, but “we have got to be watchful on another front – rupee rate versus dollar, although here too, some relief has come about in the past few days as the macro picture looked better with better than expected GDP data.  The country is certainly not prepared for importing inflation, as we await anxiously the next review of the credit policy by the Reserve Bank of India,” the ASSOCHAM said.