ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India and the Sustainable Cities Goal

The Millennium Development Goals set world development targets to be achieved by 2015. The time has come to set a new development agenda for the world, one that builds on and learns from what the MDGs achieved and missed out on. It is argued that sustainable management of urban spaces is in dire need of attention, especially in a country like India. With growing urban spaces and urban inhabitants, and plans to build a 100 new smart cities, India must show leadership, vision and genuine commitment to the Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements goal.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set by United Nations (UN) member states at the turn of the millennium, in 2000, are to reach their sell-by date in 2015. Some progress has been made in achieving the targets set under the eight MDGs, but huge development challenges remain, and some new ones have emerged over the past decade and a half. This is a critical time, therefore, for the setting of a new development agenda and agreeing on a new set of development goals for our planet and its population.

For those working in the area of cities, urban development or human settlements in general, a central element of the debate is whether a stand-alone goal focusing on human settlements issues is required. Many of us feel that this is not only desirable, but critical, not least for emerging economies such as India, Brazil, South Africa and others. A member-state driven effort, the final Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Framework will have 8-12 goals and associated targets. The UN has appointed an Open Working Group (OWG), with 70 members/30 seats (votes), to develop the Framework. (India shares a seat with Pakistan and Sri Lanka.) This July, the OWG presented the Framework to the Secretary General for forwarding it to the General Assembly in September.

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