India’s development, SDGs and the rise of the global South  

As the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly week is underway, Reliance Foundation, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and United Nations India are hosting two dialogues with the overarching theme of India’s journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

Delivering Development: Journeys, Directions and Lighthouses on 22nd September 2023, will focus on India’s ambitious agenda that aims to address the priorities and challenges including improved health and educational outcomes; food and energy security; economic empowerment and growth; and climate resilience. The approach to India’s development journey towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals will also be discussed in this dialogue.

The second dialogue, on 23rd September 2023, South Rising: Partnerships, Institutions and Ideas will discuss the role of India and the Global South in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals agenda. The focus here will be not only on the significant role these regions play towards global development, but include deliberations on the post-2030 agenda and lessons to move forward from thereon.

Both dialogues will reinforce the commitment of various developmental organisations to generate continued dialogue, innovative partnerships, and new ideas in the pathway to accelerate the world’s progress toward the SDGs.

Following are the sessions for the Delivering Development: Journeys, Directions and Lighthouses dialogue:

Session 1 | The India Lighthouse: Serving the Farthest First 

India has the potential to be a major partner for other Global South countries in supporting their sustainable development aspirations and bringing back lessons to enrich its own. In this context, this panel discusses some crucial questions (1) What have been the major challenges in developing wide-ranging programmes and public services, and what are the lessons to be kept in mind? (2) How are various stakeholders with their own challenges and advantages, such as the private sector, and local governments engaged in these? (3) How can India’s experiences be translated for other geographies and equally, what lessons can India learn from other countries?

Session 2 | #SheLeads: The Green Shoots of Change 

There is an emerging global discourse for more women in decision-making positions in politics, entrepreneurship, civil society, and business. Are there justifications beyond the argument that greater female representation at all levels of society is a social necessity? What arguments and examples can we find across the world about the economic and social impact of ecosystems that empower women? Will communities that build these systems effectively have an edge in rapidly changing times? How can both public and private institutions overcome traditional barriers that curtail the effective participation of women in policy and politics?

Session 3 | Beyond the SDGs: Perspectives, Propositions, Pathways 

The SDG Mid-Term Review – which was launched in July 2023 – is identifying the development milestones attained by UN member states so far, assessing gaps in progress, and re-setting the targets that must be met by 2030. How can the global community come together in these seven years to achieve what it set out in 2015? What are the chief lessons learned from the SDG implementation exercise? Who are the key actors who might define the next phase of international development, and what kinds of new strategic partnerships might one expect? Could existing development blueprints like Africa 2063, and India’s roadmap for becoming a net zero emitter by 2070, help shape novel pathways for global inclusive growth and green futures?