The Millennium Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 8, 2000. It set eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to outline the global agenda to “reaffirm the universal values and principles of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and the UN’s commitment to promoting peace, security, disarmament, human rights, democracy and good governance” (United Nation in India, 2011). Each goal has been set to achieve by the year of 2015 and has several targets, which can be measured by the indicators. As of now, 193 countries, which of course include India, have signed the Millennium Declaration and making their efforts to achieve the goals. According to the United Nation in India, the MDGs in India work within the framework of UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and the Government of India’s Fiver Year Plans. UNDAF is “the overarching policy document for UN country assistance to India,” which is implemented as a five-year cycle, so that it can overlap with the India’s Five Year Plan (United Nation in India, 2011).
There has been a lot of progress to achieve the MDGs by 2015. However, at the same time, many countries are having difficulties to improve several targets in the MDGs. In this paper, India’s progress on the 7th goal of MDGs, which is “Ensure Environmental Sustainability,” will be discussed. The Goal 7 includes four targets of: A) Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources, B) Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss, C) Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation, D) By 2020, to have achieved a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers (United Nations, 2013).
The latest country report on MDGs was issued by the government of India in 2011. According to the report, the major environmental issues that India is facing are “natural resource depletion (water, mineral, forest, sand, rocks etc.), environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and loss of resilience in ecosystems etc” (Government of India, 2011). Although the last word, “etc” made the statement very broad, it precisely states that three out of four targets of Goal 7 are still the major issues in India. The detailed analysis of India’s progress and challenges of each targets of Goal 7 is as follows.
Goal 7, Target A
India relatively did great job on increasing the proportion of land covered by the forest area. Despite the fact that most developing countries have been loosing forest cover, India succeeded to increase the forest cover from 678,333 sq.km (2003) to 690,899 sq.km (2007). This implies 12,566 sq.km increase in four years (Government of India, 2011). However, we should note that the area of very dense forest increased a lot, whereas moderately dense forest decreased. The possible reason for this is that over 200 million Indian people are dependant on forest resources such as fuel-wood, fodder, timber, lumber, and paper. These consumptions for livelihood are encouraging the deforestation. Class| Area (sq.km)| % of Geographic| Forest Cover| 2003| 2007| 2003| 2007| Very dense forest| 51285| 83510| 1.56| 2.54| Moderately dense forest| 339279| 319012| 10.32| 9.7| Open forest| 287769| 288377| 8.76| 8.77| Total forest cover| 678333| 690899| 20.64| 21.02|...