India has rejected a key recommendation of a United Nations panel to replace Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which had rural development minister Jairam Ramesh as a minister.
A high level panel headed by South Africa President Jacob Zuma and Finish President Tarja Halonen submitted a report Global Sustainability released at Delhi Sustainable Development Summit on Thursday. Ramesh was among the environment ministers nominated in the panel after Copenhagen climate conference of 2009 to bring the world together on green pathway.
After deliberations close to two years, the panel had recommended that SDGs should cover all countries, just not the developing world as MDGs do. It also want that new areas such as climate change, green jobs, water, food and energy security and sustainable cities should be introduced in SDGS.
“It (SDGs) should incorporate near term benchmarks while being long-term in scope looking ahead to a deadline of perhaps 2030,” the panel said in its report.
India, which is discussing SDGs for Earth Summit in Brazil in June, called Rio plus 20, has rejected any proposal to make the goals mandatory. The prime reason was the failure of the developed countries to provide finance to meet the aspirational MDG goals resulting in the developing to provide resources to meet the goal on its own.
“The developed world created a moral pressure on us to meet the goals,” a senior government official said, while rejecting any move to have consensus of SDGs. The UN panel has suggested 10 SDGs to replace seven MDGs after 2015.
The panel also said absolute poverty dipped from 46 percent in 1990 to 27 % in 2008 but inequity still existed despite economic growth up by 75 % since 1992. As a result, there are additional 20 million people undernourished people in the world.
However, the panel’s recommendation to have a Sustainable Development Council under United Nations General Assembly has India’s support.