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India's progress towards SDGs at risk

India's Sustainable Development Goals at risk from heat waves a Cambridge study revealed

Photo by Naveed Ahmed / Unsplash

A recent study by the University of Cambridge has revealed that India's progress towards attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations may be jeopardized as nearly 90 percent of Indians were more vulnerable to public health problems, food shortages, and a higher risk of death due to severe heat waves in 2022.

The study also shows that the lack of a physical risk indicator for heat waves means that India's present Climate Vulnerability Indicator (CVI) (used to quantify climate vulnerability and plan adaptation) underestimates the dangers and hazards of heat waves to the Indian people. It is more difficult to pinpoint the regions of the nation that are most susceptible to severe heat waves because of this missing component, the study noted.

In addition, the researchers emphasized on the significance of preventing overheating in low-income homes, especially in sensitive cities like Delhi where social cooling practices must be comprehended to reduce and accommodate heat-related health and energy costs.

Co-author Dr Ronita Bardhan, Associate professor of Sustainable Built Environment at University of Cambridge said, “Social cooling practices need to be understood to mitigate and adapt to heat-related health and energy burdens.”

According to the study, progress towards achieving SDGs such as zero hunger, good health and well-being, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, and life on land, may be slowed down.

Further, the analysis revealed that India's position in the world rankings as determined by the UN Sustainable Development Group has gone down over the past 20 years as a result of not achieving 11 out of the 17 SDG goals.

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To further analyze the multi-dimensional nature of climate vulnerability and how climate catastrophes affect SDGs, policy action is required, the study highlighted.