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Assam has made vigorous efforts since 2015 towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cognizant of the state’s weak progress in development, its recent governments – irrespective of political affiliation– adopted the SDGs and Assam became the first state in India to do so. The paper discusses in detail the steps taken so far which include developing an overall vision of an SDG-fulfilled Assam in 2030; preparing a comprehensive strategy in a participatory fashion to achieve that vision; and steps taken to implement and monitor the strategy. The Assam experience has many important lessons. These include the criticality of motivating staff at all levels to instill the SDGs in every aspect of their work and the role of leadership in this respect; proactively forging partnerships with all stakeholders including the legislature and the judiciary and creating an environment for such partnerships to flourish; the general need for adopting a result and outcome-based development process that the SDGs represent abandoning narrow departmental and output-based activity and practice. These would require initiating institutional and organizational changes including to ensure that major improvements take place in project implementation processes. Also essential is inculcating a culture of innovation –including technological innovation–in every sphere of public service; and developing effective coordinating mechanisms to ensure that all concerned stakeholders work synergistically to achieve the SDG outcomes. Also, very critical is the role of national and global partners in supporting Assam’s earnest efforts as the resource, knowledge and capacity gaps that Assam faces are too large for it to fill through its own means –even with its best efforts.

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