16th September, Delhi
The National Consultation was organized in collaboration with MAUSAM, PAIRVI, CECOEDECON, TWN, ADA and WNTA, wherein more than 70 representatives from the CSOs participated reflecting on progress on the SDGs, outcomes of the HLPF 2018 and priorities for agenda 2030 in 2019. Many of the BCPH members also participated in the Consultation. The consultation underlined that 2019 is very important for the Agenda 2030 as HLPF will complete will its first cycle of review, and the cycle will be reviewed by the UNGA, thereby creating two opportunities for the review (July under ECOSOC and in September under the UNGA), and provides a good opportunity to the CSOs for brining desired changes in the SDGs implementation, follow up and review, role of the CSOs etc.
The consultation started with the welcome of the participants by the moderator of the session Ms. Ranja Sengupta from The Third World Network. She put forth that the objective of the consultation is to take the messages from the NGO’s with regard to the SDGs, their implementation, monitoring, review, follow up and to develop a joint statement before the ‘Sub-Regional meetings on the 2030 Agenda’ going to take place in Delhi on 3rd October 2018.
Mr. Ajay Jha talked about Agenda 2030, HLPF & HLPF Reforms. He said that the important countries like USA, Canada, Russia and Australia etc had so far not represented their report VNRs. In the HLPF event each year a few countries present their VNRs while the thematic discussions and discussions on 5-6 SDG goals are remain integral part of the event. He said that the first and foremost task of the HLPF is to provide political leadership to the Agenda 2030 and institutionalization of the SDGs in national policies and institutional structures. However, providing leadership is a moral commitment rather than legal. He also highlighted his concern over week follow up and review process. Some of the important issues he flagged are as following:
- Environmental concerns such as synthetic biology and the new technological solutions that are coming up in the name of climate change are not at the core of it.
- It is said that SDGs implementation might require 5-7 Trillion Dollars every year till 2030 and that SDGs cannot be implemented with public finances alone has left a big room for the private companies.
- Currently VNRspresentations is a friendly discussion with no expected outcomes. The requirement is the development of Peer Review mechanism with concrete recommendations.
- At the national level a parliamentary oversight needs to be developed.
- There is no outcome of VNRs but there should be.
- Shadow/parallel report should be allowed to be uploaded in the UN website
- There should be physical space in UN for CSOs
- Goal 17 is reviewed every year but its outcome is not shared.
- HLPF should set some standard for HLPF discussion.
Ms. Jyotsna Mohan from Asia Development Alliance said that VNRs are country led and country driven and offers an opportunity for the CSOs to critically engage with the government. But in reality when India presented its VNRs, Indian CSO’s were not even given opportunity and time to present their views. She said that Government should first present VNR’s in the parliament and when approved should take it to the UN level.
Mr. Amitabh Behar, CEO, OXFAM India was focused his talk on SDG Implementation; Gaps & Challenges. He said that SDG has a transformative character. Some of the important issues he flagged are as following:
- There is no monitoring process related to SDG implementation. There is only a reporting process that too is voluntary. It cannot be reviewed because there is no framework for that.
- We don’t have final approved list of indicators even after 3 years of SDGs coming into existence. A list of indicators was prepared 8 months ago but so far they has not been finally approved reflecting the seriousness from the government’s side.
- Infrastructure is needed for SDG’s implementation for recalibrating our government system.
- Capacity building is required for state actors from local to high (chief secretary) level
- So far no real additional resources has been dedicated to SDGs
- CSOs should make efforts to come to a consensus to cover selected indicators to strengthen the monitoring process.
- For the 2019 elections CSO’s should scrutinize each manifesto with respect to SDGs and try to push including SDG agenda into 2019 manifestos.
Mr. S. Chakrabarty, Ex-Director, MOSPI focused on ‘SDG Implementation in India’. He gave a glimpse of how the government wants to mainstream the SDGs. He said that the MOSPI was given a task to create framework indicators, Indian Statistical programme is unable to produce the kind of stats required to monitor SDGs.
He further added that the MOSPI framework indicators aligned responsibility of getting data with a line ministry. But these ministries don’t have capacities to collect this sort of data. Ministries require capacity building in this regard. As of now MOSPI can help only with socio economic sort of data.
Ms. Annie Namala from Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion talked about ‘Engaging stakeholders & states’. In her addressed she stressed on the following issues:
- In some states (e.g. Kerala) SDG implementation has been reached at the panchayat level. However this example is an exception
- There is a disinterest and unwillingness among the officials related to SDG implementation as officials feel that SDG agenda (poverty eradication and sanitation etc) have always been in government’s agenda. They feel that SDG work is an additional burden on them
- There is a Need to rethink how we centralize the most vulnerable sections data into SDG implementation monitoring process
- Wada Na Todo has selected 100 hot spots in India where the data on SDG parameters related to PVTGs are being gathered through focused group discussion and surveys
- SDG is less a data challenge and finance challenge than a coherence challenge
- CSO’s should submit shadow report/ voluntary report by their own each year
Dr. Sanjay Paswan, former Union Minister, emphasized on the need to push and engage with the NITI and the government to make them understand the concerns of CSOs related to SDGs. This can open new avenues of discussions. He said that present Speaker of the Parliament could also be approached. He said that there are some signs of optimism from the Government side and quoted that the Ministry of Environment and Forest of the Bihar is now MOEF & CC and slowly the concerns of climate change will also start reflecting in their entire policies and programmes. He said that instead of encountering with the government we should be engaging.
Session 1- HLPF 2019 and goals under review SDG4, SDG8, SDG10, SDG13, SDG16 & SDG17 National priorities and challenges Speakers talked about the (non) implementation status of Goal 4, 8, 10, 13 and 17 which will be discussed in next year’s HLPF. The session was moderated by Ms. Pam Rajput.
SDG 4- Dr. Ramakant Rai, National Coalition for Education flagged following points:
- India has highest number of drop outs, highest number of child labour, highest number of child abuse cases
- 3 crore 25 lakh children in the country are out of school and government has no plan for them
- Education for all by 2025 rule came in 2010. The very next year 8 lakh 10 thousands students disappeared from the schools and in the following two years additional 12 lakh 32 thousands and 9 lakh 50 thousands dropped out.
SDG 10- Mr. Paul Divakar, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights flagged following points:
- There are 7 indicators and 3 means of implementation. NITI refused to bring SC and ST in the indicator list.
- Civil Society is not talking about intergenerational inequality
SDG 13: Mr. Soumya Dutta from Beyond Copenhagen collective, flagged following points
- Each SAPCC has 7-11 sectors but there is no connectivity between the sectors. With implementation the issue of finance comes. It was pledged by the developed and industrial countries to provide 100 billion dollar/ year for developing countries through Green Climate Fund (GCF) -. GCFs condition is pathetic and India is not going to get any substantial public money.
- ~410 billion dollar/year climate finance has flown in the last 4 years. However most of it went to mitigation and that too to commercial scale power plants. This should have gone for adaptation.
- Climate justice – there are three sort of inequities – (i) between different sort of countries
(ii) between different generations (iii) interspecies inequities. We are not talking (leave addressing) about all these three adequately leaving
SDG 17: Mr. Javed Alam, CBGA flagged following points
- GOIs action agenda is out but we don’t have strategy document yet
- Lack of staff for data collection is a major problem
- SDG implementation is not in the political agenda of the government
- There is no analysis as to how much resources are adequate for SDG implementation and how much coherence is there between SDGs with national policies
Goal 8: Ms. Meenu flagged the following points
- The space has been given to industries by the civil society
- 19 million women disappeared from the labor force at a time when the economy of the country has doubled
- The major focus of the government is on producing entrepreneurs through the government’s skill mission. There is a major fault in this approach. For National Skill Mission – multi crores have been given to industry and corporate houses in the name of loan.
- CSO’s need to reclaim their place in Goal 8
SDG 16: Mr. Trinanjan Radhakrishnan, Oxfam India, flagged the following points:
- In 2017, GOI presented VNR in HLPF in which Goal 16 was not presented. The list of Goal 16 issues go on and on
- HLPF is more for reporting but this does not happen at the local level.
In addition the discussions led emergence of various important facts e.g.
- The concerns related to the adult education has been marginalized
- Finance in education sector has remained only 3% of the GDP from 2014 onwards. Now it will be reduced further
- Now the innovative financing is entering in the education sector with the name ‘Education Outcome Fund’
Session 2 Avenues of engagement and way forward what are groups planning and how we can collaborate and coordinate more effectively (Interventions at national, sub regional forum, APFSD, HLPF 2019, HLPF reforms, others etc.)
Following points emerged from the discussion:
- It is important to make SDGs included in the election manifesto of the coming state and centre elections.
- It is required to look at the budget from SDG perspective
- Trade unions, farmer’s associations, health unions, educational institutions can be sensitized on SDG issues
- Create Narrative around SDGs needs to be created so that people start feeling SDGs importance for them.
- Need to know the kind of work that is being carried out by UNDP at the Panchayat level.
- SDG framework is narrow but provides opportunity to discuss issues about poverty, education etc.
- Need to focus on what we can do about these issues outside the SDG’s framework
- We will do healthy critique of the government.
- SDG can work only in areas where the government is functional. But the areas which are suffering from the insurgency or left wing extremism, governments are non functional. In these areas there are organizations/ CSOs but so far the Civil society don’t engage with them as these are not registered.
- NCE is going to bring out spotlight report on education, Pairvi will bring out report on SDG 13, WNTA - an analysis of 100 hotspots of PVTGs on SDG related issues. Executive report will be prepared out of these as a representative report. All parts of India should be carefully included in the report
- Need to document success & challenges and Barriers on SDG implementation that could be of interest for UN
- Clear planning for HLPF -19 and other events is required.