From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : SDGs
Mains level : Paper 3- Integrated approach to social and environmental problems
Ever since the UNDP took up computation of the HDI in 1990, there have been adjustments such as inequality-adjusted HDI. The environment is one such issue now considered to be an essential component to be factored in to measure human development.
Planetary pressure-adjusted Human Development Index
- The purpose of the planetary pressure adjusted HDI, or PHDI, is to communicate to the larger society the risk involved in continuing with existing practices in our resource use and environmental management, and the retarding effect that environmental stress can perpetuate on development.
- When planetary pressure is adjusted, the world average of HDI in 2019 came down from 0.737 to 0.683.
- PHDI of India: In the case of India, the PHDI is 0.626 against an HDI of 0.645 with an average per capita CO2 emission (production) and material footprints of 2.0 tonnes and 4.6 tonnes, respectively.
- India gained in global rankings by eight points (131st rank under HDI and 123rd rank under PHDI), and its per capita carbon emission (production) and material footprint are well below the global average.
India’s twin challenge
- India faces the twin challenges of poverty alleviation and environmental safeguarding.
- India’s natural resource use is far from efficient, environmental problems are growing, and the onslaught on nature goes on unabated with little concern about its fallout.
- At the same time, India has 27.9% people under the Multidimensional Poverty Index ranging from 1.10% in Kerala to 52.50% in Bihar, and a sizable section of them directly depend on natural resources for their sustenance.
India’s performance on SDGs
- The SDGs have acquired high priority in the context of the issue of climate change and its impact on society.
- The Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of IPCC 2021 laid stress on limiting global temperature rise at the 1.5° C level and strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
- ‘No poverty’ and ‘Zero hunger’ are the first and second SDGs.
- According to NITI Aayog (2020-21), out of 100 points set for the grade of Achiever, India scored 60 (Performer grade, score 50-64) for no poverty and 47 (Aspirant grade, score 0-49) for zero hunger, with wide State-level variations.
- India’s score in the SDGs of 8, 9, and 12 (‘Decent work and economic growth’; ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’ and ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, respectively) — considered for working out planetary pressure — are 61 (performer), 55 (performer) and 74 (front runner), respectively.
- Nature-based solutions: It is now well established that there are interdependencies of earth system processes including social processes, and their relationships are non-linear and dialectic.
- Therefore, the central challenge is to nest human development including social and economic systems into the ecosystem, and biosphere building on a systematic approach to nature-based solutions that put people at the core.
- Integrated perspective and local level involvement: Social and environmental problems cannot be addressed in isolation anymore; an integrated perspective is necessary.
- This can be conceived and addressed at the local level, for which India has constitutional provisions in the form of the 73rd and 74th Amendments.
An integrated perspective is necessary as social and environmental problems cannot be addressed in isolation anymore.