Build back Greener is need of the hour towards achieving SDGs

Guwahati, Sep 14, 2020, ENEWSTIME Desk

South Asian Institute of Sustainable Development (SAISD)and Australian Centre for Sustainable Development Research & Innovation (ACSDRI) jointly organized a 3-days global conference during September 5, 12 and 19 with speakers from different countries on different dimensions on Sustainable Development Goals.

In the first day, Dr. Shiladitya Chatterjee, Former Director, PMO and Adviser, SDG Cell, Govt of Assam, India discusses the experiment and experiences of the state of Assam towards effective implementation of SDGs. He reported that Assam 2030, the long term vision document in line with the SDGs, was adopted by new Assam Government in 2016 and emphasized on awareness raising; needs assessment; capacity building; decentralization of authorities and resources; developing supporting institutions and monitoring progress. He believed that the Assam experience has several useful lessons particularly in leadership and ownership are critical for the SDGs to succeed.

Liam Michael Clancy from Australia presented on Sustainable Development practice and Australia’s Indigenous Community.

Localization SDG and Citizen’s Participation was emphasized by Dr. Jayanta Choudhury, Asso. Professor, NIRDPR-NERC, India and Advisor, SAISD. He highlighted that major challenges towards localization of SDGs in South Asian countries are Ccapacity to Local Government for planning, fund absorption and improving service delivery towards achieving sustainable development goals; deconstruction SDG goals and targets with the perspective of local governments which can be used in local planning and implementation and monitoring the progress of indicators and targets of SDGs. Dr. Choudhury was passionate that strengthening of existing local government and Citizen’s participation in SDG centric local planning are key for localizing SDGs.

Tapash Ranjan Chakraborty from Oxfam, Bangladesh discusses the progress of Bangladesh towards the sustainable development goals is good. The civil society is aware and active; the Citizen’s Platform for SDGs is working for enhancing accountability of SDG implementation process. The SGD action points and annul progress reporting by the development intervention is a mandatory requirement. The national priority indicators are well set. National sustainable development strategy was formulated in the year 2013 that has identified 5 priorities, viz., sustained economic growth, development of priority sectors, urban development, social security and protect, and environment, natural resource and disaster management. SDG localization framework has been formulated by the Bangladesh planning commission and being practiced as pilot for Natore district by the government, and a non-government initiative namely, the Hunger project being piloting it at Saharabti Union Parishad under Gangniupazila of Meherpur district.

Dr. Raju Pandit Chetti, Prakriti Resources Centre, Nepal highlighted that environment should be the main issue of concern not only economic and social issues. He reminded that recently world is facing challenge of Covid-19 which may be reduce one day with successful invention of vaccination but the issue of climate change will last long. Therefore it is require to build back greener and for that we need society based on democratic principles, equality and equality and justice to environment.

Dipika Sinha (Sharma) educated us on Benefit of Forest Therapy.Forest Therapy offersa combination of therapeutic leisurely walks on gentle paths under forest canopy, or urban gardens & Parks with guided activities. It draw upon immersing in nature, awakening five sense organs; grounding or earthling;gong meditation inmovement and deep breathing exercises.

In the second day, Kate Harawa, Country Director of Water for People, Malawi had chaired the session on 12th. In her presentation, she highlighted the key challenges exist in African countries to drive SDG agenda such as low awareness level on SDGs beyond government departments, no dedicated ministry or department to focus on SDGs’ agenda, low outreach and citizen mobilization towards SDGs etc. She also suggested action for the African countries to address these challenges so as to drive SDG agenda and achieve targets by 20203. She suggested for citizen centric portals where citizens can see the progress of their countries on implementation progress on SDGs.

The importance of tracking the investment on SDGs and the benefitswas discussed by Bisola, Phd scholar from UK, presented. She also highlighted the needs of cost benefit analysis and the tool required to do this. Monitoring the progress of SDGs including trend of investment to achieve the targets of SGD is significantly important to report to the citizen and the word about the effort that every country making for 2030 Agenda. 

Satya Narayan Ghosh, an international development expert and Director, SAISD highlighted the issues and concerns on GDP driven development vis-à-vis environmental degradation and social progress. He presented with facts and figures that if the DGP driven development continues further then the world is most likely to fail to hit SDG targets by 2030. With some statistical analysis he shared that the world had 14000 USD per capita GDP in the year 2015 when the world scored 61 on social progress index. If the same GDP driven development program continues then the word will have 23000 USD per capita GDP by 2030, but the world will score only 62.4 on social progress. With this, he highlighted on the importance of different ways of working to hit the SDGs target 2030.  He also highlighted the role of citizen, government and other stakeholders to drive SDGs agenda. He emphasized on the point for citizen to be the drive of SGD agenda while the government and others stakeholder play the role of supporters.

Dr. Hishmi Jamil Husain, Head Biodiversity, Corporate Sustainability from Tata Steel Ltd. presented the need of protecting ecosystem. In his presentation, he shared that 88,000 km2 of natural forest lost globally every year and average wildlife populations have declined by 60% globally from 1970 to 2014; bee populations have declined by 37% though pollinator dependent crops contribute to 35% of global crop volume and 90% of the world’s flowering plants rely on animal pollination. About 75% terrestrial environment “severely altered” by human actions and 47% reduction in global indicators of ecosystem extent.

Joydeep Sen, head CSR and VP of Cairn Foundation presented the key factors to be considered while designing project to achieve the targets of SDGs. In his presented, he highlighted the importance of involving the target people and bottom up approach to ensure on one left behind. He also mentioned key steps to effectively drive the SDG agenda such as participatory planning, organizing, controlling and measuring.

Winifred Nabakiibi Kitonsa, Uganda presented the topic of role of citizen in driving SDG agenda. The key points that she highlighted in her presentation are raising awareness among citizen on their role on SDGs, increase level of literacy and education among the children and citizens, build the capacity of community people to adopt the principles of SDG in their daily life. She emphasized on the point of role of think tanks to continue the discussion on SDGs so as to bring more and more people on board to voice on SDGs. 

Dr Kuntal Goswami, Co-founder and Director ACSDRI moderated the conference.