The North East Sustainable Development Goals Conclave 2020 commenced today, 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). Organized by NITI Aayog, in partnership with the North Eastern Council, Govt. of Assam and Tata Trust, the conclave is supported by UNDP and RIS.
The inaugural session of the conclave started with an address from Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog followed by welcome remarks from Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister, Finance, Transformation & Development, Education & Health, Government of Assam. Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog set the context for the Conclave, followed by Ms. Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator India.
The three-day event, from 24th to 26th February 2020, hinged on the premise of ‘Partnership, Cooperation and Development of North East States’, will see representation from the highest offices of all the State Governments of the North East, Central Ministries, Civil Society Organizations, Academia, International Development Organizations and Think Tanks active in the North Eastern Region.
“India, especially the North East region, offers unique challenges & opportunities. The solutions need interventions that bring disruptive change & thus fostering a tech embedded development trajectory is of paramount importance”, emphasised NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog, Dr. Rajiv Kumar focused on the need for mainstreaming the North Eastern region in the national development agenda and identification of state specific and region specific priorities as key to SDG localisation.
“Several North Eastern states rank on the top of NITI Aayog's SDG India Index and the region is India's bridge to South East Asia and this presents immense opportunity for trade & commerce”, said Renata Lok-Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator, India.
Chief Ministers of North Eastern states addressed the inaugural session of the SDG Conclave.
“In the coming days, we will partner will NITI Aayog for strengthening our resolve for SDGs. We have identified 145 state indicators linked to the CM dashboard, which has been monitoring the State's progress for the last 2 years”, said Pema Khandu, CM of Arunachal Pradesh.
“With the financial help from the Central Government, as well as monitoring the progress made by North-Eastern states of India, I believe the SDGs can certainly be achieved”, said Chief Minister of Mizoram, Zoramthanga.
“Through SDG Conclave 2020, we now have a regional space to learn from each other and from the rest of India. Sustainability is important for Himalayan states like Sikkim and how we harness our natural resources”, said Prem Singh Tamang, CM of Sikkim.
Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb presented a goal wise analysis of Tripura’s progress towards achieving the ambitious Agenda 2030 by linking the existing schemes and programmes.
“Guwahati will play a crucial role as it is India's gateway to Southeast Asia. Together, with NITI Aayog's support, we will continue our journey in ensuring the prosperity of the region and its people”, put forth Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam.
In his keynote address, Union Minister of State (IC), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, “When India becomes a $ 5 Trillion economy, the North East will be an essential component”.
Another key highlight was the release of reports on challenges, prospects and SDG best practices. The four reports released were: Compendium of State Indicator Frameworks 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.
The inaugural session on the first day will be followed by technical sessions on the 25th and 26th. The technical sessions will include discussions pertaining to SDGs in the North Eastern Region: Pathways for Localisation and Achievement; Drivers of Economic Prosperity & Sustainable Livelihoods; Climate Adaptive Agriculture; Nutrition Security & Health and Wellbeing for All; Education, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; Communication, Connectivity and Infrastructure Development; Addressing Inequality and Exclusion in the North East and the Way Forward and Valedictory.
NITI Aayog has the mandate of overseeing the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national level. Progress in the northeast 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.