Collective commitment to make world greener needed to realize SDGs

Agartala, Sep 22, 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 on September 5, 12 and 19 to foster discussions on critical aspects of SDGs with global think tanks. The conference nurtured in-depth discussions with the practitioners from Africa, USA, Australia, Europe and Asia to find answer for the hard and yet unanswered questions critical to hit the targets of 2030 Agenda. Both the organizations are founded to work for SDGs and committed to support communities, government, civil societies, corporates and other stakeholders to bringsuccess to SDGs and make a better world free from poverty, hunger, inequality. 

On September 5, the conference began with a presentation from Dr.Shiladitya Chatterjee, former Director, PMO and Adviser, SDG Cell, Govt of Assam, who highlighted the effort of Assam government towards SDGs is an example of successful beginning to drive SDG agenda. The Assam model offers great learning opportunities for others to devise an effective strategy for SDGs. Dr. Chatterjee also chaired the rest of the sessions on September 5, 2020.

On September 12 last, Kate Harawa, Country Director of Water For People, Malawi was the first speaker and chaired the rest of the sessions. She started the session by highlighting key challenges exist inAfrica to achieve SDGs by 2030. She brought up important aspects to be considered to devise a strong base for SDGs in Africa. Her recommendations to create a strong base for SDGs include raising awareness, create a separate ministry or department for required attention on SDGs as well as to establish a citizen centric portal for the people to monitor the progress and contribute.

On September 19 last, Joh Oldfield, the Principal of Global Water 2020 from USA chaired the session. He opened the discussion with a highly influential speech on importance and role of advocacy initiative to achieve the SDG targets by 2030. Besides the impact of COVID19 on unemployment, he reminded the audience on the positive aspects of this crisis that has significantly enhanced the awareness on hand washing globally.He also highlighted the critical role that advocacy played to improve theWater, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services across communities, health centres and other institutions to fight against COVID 19.

In his speech, he appealed the practitioners, government and others to contribute and maintain the same level of progress on WASH to combat WASH related diseases that account for around 60 per cent of the diseases worldwide. 

Speakers from corporate houses such as Sudhir Jain, Senior Vice President from Bira 91, Joydeep Sen, Head CSR from Cairn Oil and Gas and Vice President, Cairn Foundation and Dr Hishmi Jamil Husain, Head Biodiversity, Corporate Sustainability at Tata Steel shared the successful initiatives of the corporates towards SDGs. Jain shared the successful initiative of Bira 91 towards reducing the carbon emission and other pollution load to the environment. The presentation of Jain offered a great lesson for the others to learn-how beer industry can significantly reduce the pollution load to environment by practicing recycle, reuse and a resource efficient method to operate the production process.

Joydeep Sen from Cairn Oil and Gashighlighted the important factors that are critical to consider in the process of planning, implementation, monitoring and governance of the project devised for SDGs. He also highlighted the importance of developing leadership among the marginalized to ensure no one is left behind. He shared a comprehensive framework to drive SDG agenda at the local level which triggered the attention of audience significantly.

Dr. Husain shared important facts of biodiversity and trend of loss of ecosystem over the years. He also highlighted the consequences of such loss to the survival and prosperity human being that are important targets of SDGs.

Dr.Jayanta Choudhury, Asso. Professor, NIRDPR-NERC, India, Dr. Om Katel, Dean of Royal University, Bhutan and Prof. Rolf Gerritsen from Australia drew attention of audience on the issues and importance of localizing SDGs for the success. Dr. Choudhury emphasised on critical factors of successful localization of SDGs in south Asian countries such as capacity building oflocal Government for planning, improving service delivery system, deconstruction SDGs and targets in accordance with local context Dr. Om Katel presented the case of Bhutan with an emphasis of climate change. He presented the case of increasing trend of temperature in the South Asian countries as a consequence of continuous deforestation and loss of ecosystem in the region.

Prof. Gerritsen presented the case of fishery industry of northern Australia where the need for conservation of indigenous species and reduction of the use of exotic species is an emerging issue to complement the effort of combating climate change in Australia. He also mentioned the successful effort of Australian government to preserve such speciesto sustain the ecosystem.

The eminent speakers from civil society organizations from different parts of world presented important aspects needed to be considered for the success on SDGs. Satya Narayan Ghosh, Executive Director of South Asian Institute of Sustainable Development presented the progress and challenges that the world witnessed during era of MDGs and in last 5 years of SDGs. He presented an astounding analysis of GDP driven approach that most countries followed so far to achieve the development targets vis-a-vis the situation where the world stands today with inequality and environmental degradation. He highlighted the with key facts that the GDP driven approach is unlikely to turn the world a better place for future generation to live in peace, prosperity, inequality, and an environment free pollution. He triggered the attention of audience with an appealing proposition to find an alternative way of working to hit the targets of SDGs by 2030. He shared the facts that alongside the growth of world’s economy over decades the CO2 emission, inequality, water scarcity has increasedsignificantly, which deserves high priority for everyone to act on and put an end to it.

Winifred Nabakiibi from Uanda shared the need of active participation of citizens and stakeholders to bring success to SGDs in African countries. In her presentation, she shared the challenges that the low-income countries are facing today to adopt the SDG principles in their programs and support required to enable them for a good beginning for SDGs. She also pointed out the need of more investment and financial support from developed countries to low income countries to help uplift those who straggle to catch the ladder of development.

At the end, Satya Narayan Ghosh from South Asian Institute of Sustainable Development consolidated the learnings, views and suggestions of all the speakers spoke in 3 days. In his conclusion, he presented that improving or bringing a change in the current way of driving development agenda is a ubiquitous suggestion of speakers for the success with SDGs. He ended with an appeal to everyone to adopt positive practice that does not harm anyone around us including species and influence others do the same to put up a good start for a better world.