Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depends more on the formulation of a development strategy

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Question – The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depends more on the formulation of a development strategy, among other factors, that reflects current and future population dynamics. Discuss. – 24 December 2021

AnswerThe Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 interrelated goals set by the United Nations, which balance environmental, social and economic dimensions to ensure sustainable development.

The formation of human capital is relevant not only for planning but also for the implementation of development strategies.

In this context, population dynamics, such as trends in population growth and decline, aging, migration and urbanization, are important inputs for better planning of development policies. These policies can be described in two categories: (i) in the context of developing countries (ii) in the context of developed countries.

Population Dynamics in Developing Countries

The current population dynamics in developing countries like India focuses on rapid growth in population, high maternal and child mortality, unemployment, unequal distribution of wealth, widespread unplanned rapid urbanization, etc. The development strategies should also be adapted to the needs of the present. As for the future and should pay attention to the following:

  • Reproductive and child health services, maternity benefit programs, etc., keeping in view the needs of working mothers.
  • Skill development and employment opportunities are focused on enhancing the potential of the youth.
  • Dedicated policies to facilitate inland and inland migration.
  • Special infrastructure for old age population, pension schemes etc.
  • Education related to family planning to reduce population growth rate.

In addition to the above measures, greater concentration of population in the working age group will help countries to reap demographic benefits and accelerate economic growth. Apart from this, migration will also help in remittance, skill transfer and availing other benefits.

Population Dynamics in Developed Countries

Currently there is a trend of rapid aging in developed countries and declining population in some countries like Japan. In addition, other associated risks include lifestyle diseases such as depression, migration from cities back to villages, reduction in labor force, decline in economic activity, etc.

To address these problems, future development strategies should focus on the following issues:

  • investment in job automation,
  • Policy changes to control the decline in population,
  • Formulation of immigration policies to attract skilled human resource from other countries. Apart from this, in the interest of overseas Indians, there is a need to make a revised policy according to the circumstances of the country.

There are 169 targets set in the SDGs, which can be challenging for developing countries to monitor without the required standards. Also, the SDGs lack adequate technology transfer, finance and accountable mechanisms.

Additionally, conflict countries such as Syria require specific goals. Therefore, suitable strategies are necessary not only to meet the growing needs and requirements of the changing population dynamics, but also to modify the existing production and consumption patterns to achieve progressive and sustainable development.

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