Recognising India as a key player in global efforts for the maintenance of international peace and security, University for Peace (UPEACE), a UN mandated university based in Costa Rica, is planning to set up a Yoga chair. Also, being a leader in South-South Cooperation, UPeace is keen on India playing a larger role in Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) ahead of a major conference in 2019. Talking to FE, Francisco Rojas Aravena, rector of the university, said, “As part of South-South Cooperation, the UPEACE is seeking India’s involvement in working on developing Objective 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in preparation for 2019 conference at UN Headquarters in New York.” “SDG 16 highlights that Rule of law at national and international levels, inter alia, has to be ensured by providing equal access to justice for all. Developing effective, accountable and transparent institutions is therefore necessary in order to provide good governance. In the absence of peace, achieving sustainable development itself will become difficult,” explained Narinder Kakar, permanent observer of the University for Peace to the UN. On plans of setting up of a yoga chair at UPeace, Kakar, distinguished senior fellow, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, said, “Yoga can help in attaining inner peace, and through education for peace, help in sustaining peace. Education for peace can play a useful role in supporting the process for peace building on the one hand and achieving peace that is sustained through understanding developed between people of different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds.”
The UN General Assembly, by its resolution A/Res/69/131, proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga. It recognised that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. It is noteworthy that the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon participated in the celebration of the First International Day of Yoga at the UN on 21 June 2015. The theme for the 2017 celebration, organised by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN, was “Yoga for Health”. UPeace, which is also involved in working on international law that would address issues related to environmental refugees or water conflict refugees, wants deeper involvement of India. As a background in September, 2015, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a new and ambitious collective global plan of action for transforming the world by 2030 through the implementation of the SDGs.
The SDGs, which are part and parcel of the 2030 Agenda, replace and build upon the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which ran their course in 2015. The advancement of the SDGs over the MDGs is not only in its scope — there are now 17 Goals as against the previous 8 — but also in some of the known structural shortcomings in the design of targets and indicators of the MDGs. The 2030 Agenda calls for a convergence around the SDGs of responses to several contemporary issues of global concern, whether related to climate change, human rights, peace and security, gender equality, migration, safe cities, rule of law, good governance, education, health, multilateral trade, investment, amongst others.