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Indiscriminate and Irrational Use of Resources and Exploitation of Environment

However, in the present world, this definition is slightly revised to include social and environmental aspects of development as well

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Resources, Exploitation, Environment
Sustainable development in layman's terms, is a process of attaining economic development with judicious utilization of available resources without the latter getting depleted. Pixabay

In this highly competitive and fast-growing world, every individual wants to achieve new heights. Each country wants to tread on the path of holistic growth in all spheres be it economic, social, or political to surpass the other countries.

This struggle of fast-tracking growth has given rise to indiscriminate and irrational use of resources and exploitation of the environment. Thus the need for sustainable development has been more strongly felt than ever before.

Sustainable development in layman’s terms, is a process of attaining economic development with judicious utilization of available resources without the latter getting depleted. However, in the present world, this definition is slightly revised to include social and environmental aspects of development as well.

To ensure that the notion of sustainable development does not fade away, the year 2015 witnessed the launch of a path-breaking initiative called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United Nations and other leaders of the world formulated 17 goals having 169 targets in total to be fulfilled within 15 years.

Resources, Exploitation, Environment
This struggle of fast-tracking growth has given rise to indiscriminate and irrational use of resources and exploitation of the environment. Pixabay

These SDGs constitute all the necessary components of a progressive society ranging from physical safety to economic opportunity and good health. Their overarching aim is to end poverty, protect the planet and at the same time ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

On the contrary, the vastness of parameters accompanying SDGs is often looked upon as a challenge. The plethora of indicators taken into consideration not only make achieving these goals difficult but also make it strenuous to capture every one of these indicators.

This has resulted in an estimate that only one-third of the 230 indicators can be captured. This is primarily because SDGs, by definition, is merely a list of goals with no conceptual model. Thus, a framework is required, which provides a solution to these challenges.

The recently launched sixth round of Social Progress Index (SPI) seems to ameliorate this issue by providing a simple yet rigorous framework. This framework not only captures the spirit of the SDGs but also provides us with a tool to achieve these goals.

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Since SPI generates scores for each indicator, they can be easily tracked over time and thus can easily be understood and used by policymakers, researchers, businesses, and the general public for the betterment of our livelihood and society.

These scores give us a measure of actual progress made towards achieving these SDGs. The index, therefore, plays an instrumental role in monitoring their current performance and determine the areas to accelerate progress towards SDGs.

That being said, the Social Progress Index can indeed make SDGs a tangible reality.

Shockingly, the latest scores of SPI 2019 have raised concerns regarding the fulfilment of Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Resources, Exploitation, Environment
Thus the need for sustainable development has been more strongly felt than ever before. Pixabay

Michael Green, CEO of Social Progress Imperative, has argued that social progress is not advancing at the required rate, making it extremely difficult to fulfil the UN SDGs until 2073. However, this pessimism can be overturned if India and China, effectuate the goals rapidly.

Because of the humongous population base, both the countries can prove to be very influential in formulating these SDGs.

India so far has been fulfilling the goals but at a plodding pace. Since the inception of SDGs in 2015, the country has not been able to achieve any goal completely. But, for a variety of indicators, it has shown significant progress.

For instance, the poverty levels of India between 2004 and 2011, declined from 38.9 per cent of the total population to 21.2 per cent. The current rate of poverty is expected to be even lower, thus pushing India closer to achieving the first goal of no poverty. Combating undernourishment has been moderate. At present, 14.8 per cent of India’s population is undernourished.

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If the country pulls up its socks, the world will be 25.2 per cent closer to having achieved the SDG target of undernourishment. Also, it is a known fact that 22 out of the 30 most polluted cities of the world are in India.

However, with policies such as biomedical waste management, use of radiant heat for cooking purposes, imposing restrictions on single-use plastics, etc. can help in fulfilling the goal of climate action. Thus, the onus of driving the world towards sustainable development lies on India’s shoulders.

With an aim to evaluate the performance of countries in achieving the SDGs, the United Nations is organizing the first of its kind summit at its headquarters on September 24 and 25. The event will discuss the nitty-gritty related to the implementation of the 2030 agenda and also the plausibility of achievement of the target.

A comprehensive follow up of the SDGs along with a detailed analysis of SPI would be insightful and will highlight the areas of progress as well as concern. All these would chalk out the plan of action in making SDGs a reality. (IANS)

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Escalating Consequences of Climate Change Hit Countries Globally

India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally

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Climate
As Climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives. Pixabay

The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally.

The Climate Risk Index 2020, an annual report by Germanwatch, ranks countries according to their vulnerability to extreme weather events.

It was released in the Spanish capital on the sidelines of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP25 that is being held in the backdrop of climate impact biting globally.

According to the report, India has also been badly affected, ranking fifth in the overall global vulnerability index in 2018, ranked first in terms of fatalities and second in the world in terms of losses in millions of dollars.

India’s overall ranking has drastically fallen from 14th in 2017, to fifth in 2018.

The report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries.

Japan is the worst-hit country in 2018, while Germany and Canada were both also in the ‘bottom 10’ i.e. the most affected.

The results reflect the increasing damage caused by heatwaves, which scientists have found are being worsened by climate change.

To explain this drastic fall in ranking in a year, David Eckstein, Policy Advisor (Climate Finance and Investment) with Germanwatch said: “India’s high rank is due to severe rainfall, followed by heavy flooding and landslides that killed over 1,000 people.”

The state of Kerala was especially impacted. The floods were described as the worst in the last 100 years.

Climate
A report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries. Pixabay

According to Eckstein, India was struck by two cyclones in October and November 2018 that also nearly killed 1,000 people. Last but not least, India also suffered from extreme heat. While the human death toll was kept considerably low due to public measures, the economic damage was quite severe.

Other countries ranking in the bottom 20 in the overall climate risk categories are the US at 12th, Vietnam at sixth, Bangladesh at seventh and France at 15th.

The report also points to the importance of negotiations at COP25. As climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives.

So far, the industrialised countries have refused to even negotiate it.

But at COP25, for the first time, financial support for climate-related loss and damage is high on the agenda.

For the poorest and most vulnerable countries, this climate summit is, therefore, of the utmost importance. They demand that states agree a deal to support those who are suffering, or at least acknowledge the necessity, with a pathway towards real help.

Otherwise the poorest countries will continue to rely on loans to cope with the consequences of climate change, which means they are threatened with excessive debts, undermining often already vulnerable economies.

In the talks that will last till December 13, India has been ambitious in its actions.

Climate
The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally. Pixabay

It has emphasised that developed countries should take the lead in undertaking ambitious actions and fulfil their climate finance commitments of mobilising $100 billion per annum by 2020 and progressively and substantially scale up their financial support to inform parties for future action through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

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India is also stressing upon the need for fulfilling the pre-2020 commitments by developed countries, and that pre-2020 implementation gaps should not present an additional burden to developing countries in the post-2020 period.

The Indian delegation will be led by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is attending the summit from December 9. (IANS)