Kerala retains first place in SDG achievement - GulfToday

Kerala retains first place in SDG achievement

Meena Janardhan

Writer/Editor/Consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in the fields of environmental journalism and publishing.

Kerala retains first place in SDG achievement

Kerala’s top rank is attributed to its rapid improvements in health facilities, gender equality and quality education.

In a ranking of states released last week by Indian policy think tank NITI Aayog and the United Nations, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have emerged as the front runners in the race to achieve key sustainable development goals (SDGs) especially in poverty alleviation and inequality, while Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh sank to the bottom of the list.

According to the SDG India Index 2019, India’s composite score improved from 57 in 2018 to 60 in 2019-20 with successes in water and sanitation, power and industry. Nutrition and gender equality, however, are a cause for concern.

India has, therefore, reached a little beyond the halfway mark in meeting the SDGs adopted in 2015. The index covers 13 of the 17 sustainable development goals, including healthcare, gender equality, clean energy, infrastructure, education, peace and building strong, accountable institutions.

Kerala retained the top slot while Bihar came out as the worst performer. Kerala’s overall top rank (70) is attributed to its rapid improvements in providing health facilities, reducing hunger, achieving gender equality and providing quality education. The rank shows the distance each state has to cover to reach 100, where it fully achieves its SDGs. Himachal Pradesh ranked next with 69 due its clean water and sanitation efforts, reducing inequalities and preserving the mountain ecosystem. Tamil Nadu has a score of 68. Among the union territories (UTs), Chandigarh topped at 68 due to its focus on clean water and sanitation and providing quality education.

Tamil Nadu also topped the states in poverty reduction, while Kerala topped in providing quality education, closely followed by Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. The toppers in gender equality, Sikkim and Union territories Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Chandigarh have crossed the half way mark in reaching the goals.

As per the SDG India Index 2019, the composite score for each state/UT is computed by aggregating their performance across the goals, and then by taking the arithmetic mean of individual goal scores. A score of 100 implies that the State/ UT has achieved targets set for 2030; a score of 0 implies that the particular State/UT is at the bottom of the table. Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim have shown maximum improvement, as per the report for second year released by NITI Aayog on Monday. This first such report was released in 2018.

The year 2020 will be the fifth anniversary of the adoption of SDGs by 193 countries at the UN General Assembly. The SDGs, constituted through an unprecedented consultative process, have 17 goals and 169 related targets to be achieved by 2030. The Index has been developed by NITI Aayog in coordination with the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, United Nations in India and Global Green Growth Institute.

In 2018 index, only three states, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, were placed in the category of front runners – with a score in the range of 65-99. In 2019, five more States joined this league – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Sikkim and Goa, taking the total tally to eight.

With regard to poverty reduction, states which have done well include Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim. On zero hunger parameters, Goa, Mizoram, Kerala, Nagaland and Manipur were the front runners, according to the report.

The SDG India Index is available on an online dashboard, which has cross-sectoral relevance across policy, civil society, business and academia. It is designed to function as a tool for focused policy dialogue, formulation and implementation, and moving towards development action pegged to globally recognizable metrics. The Index also supplements NITI Aayog’s continuous efforts to encourage evidence-based policymaking by supporting States/UTs to benchmark their progress, identifying priority areas and sharing best practices.

The 2019 Index is more robust than the first edition on account of wider coverage of goals, targets, and indicators. It spans 16 out of 17 SDGs with a qualitative assessment on Goal 17. This marks an improvement over the 2018 Index, which covered only 13 goals.

The SDG India Index 2019 will also help highlight crucial gaps related to monitoring SDGs and the need for improving statistical systems at the National/State/UT levels. Further, the Index highlights the need for improvements in data collection, reporting and methodology. Partnerships for disaggregating data and developing capacity for real-time monitoring and measuring incremental progress are also being explored.

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