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NITI Signs Pact With UNICEF

New Delhi: NITI Aayog and UNICEF India signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on children. Reiterating a mutual commitment towards realizing the rights of children in India, the SoI seeks to formalize a framework of cooperation to launch the first report on the ‘State of India’s Children: Status and Trends in Multidimensional Child Development’.

The SoI was signed by Ms Sanyukta Samaddar, Nodal Officer -SDGs, NITI Aayog, and Ms Hyun Hee Ban, Chief of Social Policy, UNICEF India, in the presence of NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar and CEO Amitabh Kant, and Arjan de Wagt, Officer-in-Charge Deputy Representative, UNICEF India.

To achieve the child development priorities under the SDGs, UNICEF India and NITI Aayog are developing a comprehensive measure to understand the multidimensional attainments and deprivations among children across health and nutrition, education, water and sanitation, household living standards; and protective environment, with the aim of analyzing the status of children around critical child related SDGs to establish recent trends. This effort will contribute to the realization of India’s commitments on the 2030 Agenda and provide a set of policy recommendations for concerted action in terms of accelerating progress towards the SDGs to ‘leave no child behind’ and achieving their holistic development.

In his address, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar said, ‘This child-focused SDG initiative builds on our effort of monitoring progress through the SDG India Index and Dashboard, which continues to be a unique data-driven initiative for triggering policy action. This new initiative with UNICEF is built on the ethos of SDG attainments for children and ensuring that no child is left behind.’

Mr Arjan de Wagt, Officer in Charge Deputy Representative UNICEF India said, ‘Addressing the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on children is vital to recovery efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda. Comprehensive measurement of the status of children will pave the way for multi-sectoral policies and programmes across health and nutrition, education, safe water and sanitation, child protection, social protection and climate action to reach the most vulnerable children. We congratulate NITI Aayog on this pioneering step and stand committed to provide all support.’

Articulating the way forward, Ms Hyun Hee Ban, Chief of Social Policy, UNICEF India, said, ‘We commend NITI Aayog for this initiative to develop a multidimensional measure of attainments and deprivations among children. It’s a demonstration of India’s strong commitment to achieve the SDGs, by focusing on child related SDGs. One in every third person in India is a child below the age of 18, while one in every fifth person is an adolescent between the ages of 10 to 19. Through this process, we look forward to engaging with various stakeholders particularly children, adolescents and young people.’

The collaboration between NITI Aayog and UNICEF India will draw up the methods, technical analysis, reporting, and action planning for the first report on the ‘Status of India’s Children’, with a focus on the multidimensional aspects of child development like health, education, nutrition, protection, and other relevant areas. This project will undertake a whole-of-society approach of involving all stakeholders ranging from Union Ministries, State Governments, Civil Society Organizations, and child rights collectives.