This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Pooja Parvati. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

World’s Richest 80 People Have The Same Amount Of Wealth As The Poorest 50%: Time To Change?

More from Pooja Parvati

By Pooja Parvati

As the 70th UN General Assembly readies for the historic adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on September 25, 2015, the star-studded fest being put together for the three-day special event promises to rival the best of Hollywood premieres in glamour and show.


A curtain raiser curated by the Global Goals Campaign funded by British filmmaker Richard Curtis set the ball rolling on September 22 that saw the UN Headquarters illuminated by images representing the 17 SDGs and those commemorating the 70th anniversary of the UN. On September 25, a potpourri of celebrities will take centre stage and ring in the SDGs.

Commencing with the Pope Francis’ address at the UN in what has already got the social and conventional media abuzz, the casting coup also includes performances by Shakira, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and fellow ambassador and singer Angélique Kidjo. One of the event’s highlights will be an address by Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Interestingly, a previous blog post foretold the exact theme of this event, including the address by the young Yousafzai!

The 17 SDGs that will be adopted will come to define the global development agenda for 15 years till 2030. This marks the end of a long process of open (and at times closed) negotiations.

The draft outcome document, accompanied by a letter from the President of the UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa dated August 12, 2015 to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, outlines the promise to transform the world by focusing on people, planet, prosperity and ensuring that the drivers of peace and (global) partnerships are central to Agenda 2030 (as the post-2015 development agenda is now being termed).

A quick review of the 17 SDGs shows that they carry forward some of unfinished agenda from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as blend the additional transformative aspects necessary to attain sustainable development.

• Goals 1 to 4 and goal 6 form the primary goals covering key human needs, such as ending poverty, ensuring food security, healthcare, education, water and sanitation.

• SDGs 5 and 10 address the crucial issue of inequality; while goal 5 is about ending gender inequality; goal 10 focuses on reducing inequality within and among countries. From an Indian civil society standpoint, there has been a concerted push towards strengthening language around all of these goals. It is heartening that, in most cases, the draft outcome document reflects these changes in terms of strengthened articulation.

• Goals 7 to 9 are seen as the fundamental building blocks for the attainment of human development (i.e. affordable and modern energy, inclusive economic growth, productive employment and decent work, and resilient infrastructure and industrialization).

• SDGs 11 to 15 address the issue of sustainable development and climate action (i.e. safe sustainable cities, sustainable consumption and production, action against climate change, sustainable use of oceans and terrestrial ecosystems).

• Goals 16 and 17 are seen as the transformative aspects for the new development frame to be effective. While Goal 16 underscores the need to ensure rule of law, access to justice and promoting peaceful societies, goal 17 identifies myriad options to promote global partnerships to implement the SDGs. Some of these options include technology transfer, facilitating trade, private and innovative financing mechanisms, data monitoring and institutional strengthening. It is worthwhile to note that Goal 17 is the revitalized MDG 8, which was considered by many as the weakest among the MDGs.

However, it is crucial that the theory framing the goals, is reflective of the realities on the ground. For instance, it is imperative to ensure that the “voices” of the most marginalized communities are “heard” and acknowledged even as we adopt such global commitments. It is in this context that the next stage of framing and agreeing on the indicators for each of the 169 sub-targets and 17 goals would become critical. Once the heads of nations return home and initiate work on compiling indicators, it would be vital for civil society to push for more concrete, robust and ambitious indicators that are not just a sleight of numbers.

For some of us who have, for more than two years, been closely following this complex yet interesting process to arrive at Agenda 2030, it seems like the lines are slowly blurring. Be it the lines between the private sector and the civil society, or the lines between media activism and mass activism. It is also reflected in the festive nature of this historic summit, almost bordering on a public relations blitzkrieg. Some might think of this as an effort by a 70-year old organization trying to make itself relevant in changed times and contexts. Whether this blurring of lines is a welcome development or not is something only time will tell. For now, suffice to say that the arc lights are on and we are waiting with a bated breath.

You must be to comment.
  1. Avinesh Saini

    Nope. That is how the world works. You can’t change that.

More from Pooja Parvati

Similar Posts

By Rimsha Khan

By Rimsha Khan

By Dr. Mrittunjoy Guha Majumdar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below