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International Conference on

India’s Presidency of G20 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies for India


The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. The 17 Goals were adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals. With just under ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), world leaders pledged to mobilize financing, enhance national implementation and strengthen institutions to achieve the Goals by the target date of 2030, leaving no one behind, while calling all sectors of society to mobilize for a decade of action on three levels: global action to secure greater leadership, more resources and smarter solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals; local action embedding the needed transitions in the policies, budgets, institutions and regulatory frameworks of governments, cities and local authorities; and people action, including by youth, civil society, the media, the private sector, unions, academia and other stakeholders, to generate an unstoppable movement pushing for the required transformations. 

In the era of globalisation, G20 has proved to be an effective forum during and after the financial crises. Over the years, G20 has emerged as a premier leaders-led platform to address the challenges confronting the global economy. The G20 sought to encourage short-term as well as long-term solutions to promote human prosperity and well-being. The G20 has placed special emphasis on advancing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. These goals, framed by the United Nations, include providing access to clean water, combatting climate change, and ending poverty and hunger. In support of these initiatives, the G20 unanimously approved and formalized the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2016. 

India is currently leading the G20, a group of 20 leading industrialized and developing nations, throughout 2021. This makes it the first time that the South Asian nation is at the helm of the organization since its inception in 1999. India's presidency of G20 also coincides with the United Nations’ adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a globally-accepted set of economic, social, and environmental objectives. In this regard, the government of India has taken several steps aimed at achieving the SDGs through its G20 presidency. India has identified five priority areas while serving as the G20 President. These are in support of achieving SDGs, namely women’s empowerment, digital transformation, climate change, health and sustainable food system. Working towards attaining SDGs has been India’s primary priority as its G20 President. 

In the field of healthcare and education, the government of India has made an ambitious agenda towards reaching the SDGs, including significantly increasing access to healthcare and education, providing resources to eliminate hunger and poverty, and promoting gender equality. India has committed itself to introducing a program to provide universal health coverage and promote access to safe and effective medical services. Similarly, the government has agreed to implement policies for the realization of free quality education for all. Additionally, it has agreed to develop trade and investment policies that will help reduce poverty and inequality.

In relation to the environment, India proposed several actions to prioritize the preservation of global resources and combat climate change. These actions include committing to ensuring innovative financing for climate policy implementation, supporting research and development for new green technologies, and improved environmental standards for all major industrial sectors. India has also significantly increased the share of renewables in its energy mix and established ambitious targets for reducing the nation's emissions. 

In the area of food security, the government of India has committed to making policies to promote sustainable agriculture and fisheries, improve market access and prices, and improve access to land and maritime resources. Similarly, India is working on developing and implementing global safety nets such as nutritional programs, food banks and food stamps in order to address extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition. 

The government of India has committed to implementing several projects to improve the financial conditions and encourage entrepreneurship, such as the use of mobile-based payments, the expansion of access to non-banking finance through micro-credit, and the use of technology to facilitate financial inclusion. In addition, it has set ambitious targets to increase women's participation in the labor force, and expand rural and digital infrastructure. 

India has proposed various initiatives that are best-suited to providing solutions for achieving the SDGs. In terms of achieving SDG 5, which concerns gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, India proposed an initiative called ‘Empowerment of Women Through Skill Development’. This initiative seeks to accelerate the employment of women in skilled occupations and to also strengthen their economic independence. To reach this goal, India proposed targeting areas such as empowerment of women through digital literacy programs and expanding access to finance and mentorship for women entrepreneurs. 

Similarly, India has proposed ‘Harnessing the power of Digital Economy,’ an initiative that aims to facilitate the proliferation of digital technology and its associated infrastructure. This initiative is aimed toward achieving SDG 9, which concerns the development of resilient, inclusive and sustainable infrastructure. India has proposed that the G20 members focus on addressing key challenges including cyber security, digital trust, data privacy, and telecom interoperability to accelerate the global adoption of digital technology. 

The focus on SDG's by India while serving as the G20 presidency is highly commendable. By leveraging the G20 platform, India is positioned to bring together the world’s leading economies, in a concerted effort to provide solutions to some of the world’s pressing challenges related to economic development, sustainable growth and social inclusion. With PM Narendra Modi spearheading Indian effort to serve as a responsible global leader and to embody the best of Indian values on the world stage, it is highly likely that we will see India making considerable progress towards achieving the SDGs in the year ahead. 

India’s G20 presidency will prioritize the ‘People’s G20’ approach. The Indian Government has identified seven priority segments to focus on during its presidency, of which two directly focus on issues related to the SDGs: ‘Global Health and related Challenges’, and ‘Climate Change, Energy and Environment’. Under Global Health and Related Challenges, India’s G20 presidency will address global health security, healthcare access, participation in global vaccine responses and improving access to affordable essential medicines and health products. While under Climate Change, Energy, and Environment, India seeks to promote sustainable development, renewable energy and biodiversity conservation. 

India has also long been a leader in recognizing the importance and utility of digital access and technology for economic transformation. As the G20 Presiding Nation for 2021, India aims to focus on and promote digital-driven solutions for SDG achievement. Today, technology has the potential to break down global barriers, reduce poverty, and promote a more equitable, prosperous, and just world. India’s G20 presidency will draw on the strength of the combined G20 economies to complement its own initiatives and bolster the overall mission to achieve the SDGs. 

The purpose of the conference, rooted in the necessity to academically address the Sustainable Development Goals in particular and the 2030 Agenda during India’s Presidency of G20, is to harness strategies, expertise and resources across the widest spectrum of academic thought to unleash a range of education initiatives that ensure inclusive, safe, and equitable quality sustainable development that may serve as a blueprint for higher education institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), private sector corporations, and governmental entities to successfully incorporate the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs into their work programs. 

The discussions in the Conference will provide a platform for engaging eminent researchers, academicians and policymakers in rich debate on topics of relevance to the G20. 

In view of the above, the Arun Jaitley National Institute of Financial Management (AJNIFM) invites submissions of research papers on a variety of topics related to 

  1. India’s narrative on resilient, inclusive and sustainable economy (RISE)
  2. Priorities and Outcomes in the Finance Track
  3. Priorities and Outcomes in the Development and Climate Sustainability
  4. Global macro stability, improving financial inclusion and reforming the multilateral
  5. Accelerating Progress on the 2030 Agenda
  6. Priorities and Outcomes in the Trade and Investment 
  7. Dealing with cryptocurrencies as a global agenda
  8. G20 Digital Economy agenda to integrate digital economies and value chains
  9. G20 Presidency, working to shape the post-pandemic world

The list of topics mentioned above is merely indicative; research papers on other topics related to Trade, Finance, and Economics in general and SDGs and G20 Agenda, in particular, are also welcome. Conceptual, theoretical, and empirical papers are all encouraged. Papers for presentation at the conference will be selected through a rigorous double-blind peer review process. This conference is also open to doctoral students who are in the final stages of completing their dissertations.