It was our first day as interns in Planning and Development Department of Assam in Gauhati (Guwahati) and we were clueless about what actually sustainable development goals were and how would we as planning students could have a contribution towards it. Little did I know that SDGs is related to planning at the core.
Let me begin with what really sustainable development goals are, it’s a set of objectives which Assam with the help of government and private organizations will try to achieve by 2030 for a better future of the state as well as the region. The focus of this 14 year long project is to consider the rights of the human family to a healthy and productive environment It is the successor of Millennium Development Goals put forward by The United Nations.
“ The SDGs, adopted by all the world’s nations, cover nearly every aspect of our future — for our planet, and for humankind. They concern all people, all countries, and all parts of society. There are 17 goals in total, and they amount to nothing less than a complete transformation of global civilization” (17Goals n.d.)
Its an interesting fact that Assam has taken the initiative to achieve these 17 goals.
How has Planning to do with SDGs ?
While all the 17 goals are one way or the other related to the planning field.The Goal No. 11:MAKE CITIES INCLUSIVE, SAFE, RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE is what I felt is more relevant with our field. Population growth rate is such right now that there is no turning back and its triggering urbanization with no direction. Africa and Asia to be specific.
This particular goal is to give a direction to urbanization or if at all make the present urbanized centres sustainable.
To achieve these goals there are 10 targets which are
- By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
- By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
- By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
- Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
- By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
- By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
- By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
- Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
- By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
- Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials(Nations n.d.)
The above mentioned terms are all relatable to by a planner. A Physical Planner with his/her vast knowledge can make an effort to achieve all these targets for a better tomorrow. Talking about contribution, me and my classmates compiled a report on feasibility of relocation of Whole Sale market of Central Business District to outskirts of the Gauhati City. Profile of the city was studied, some primary data were collected and a conclusion was drawn. Why am I telling all these? To point out that whatever we have been taught in Planning Course is fully solid and applicable. There are some students whom I have come across who would complain why would they need economics and old conventional theories in modern day planning. But they forget that these are all the base which helps us to reach our ultimate goal.
The Scope ?
I guess there are lots of projects like SDGs(Sustainable Development Goals) which would need Planners’ contribution. Moreover only a draft of SDGs are being prepared as of now .The full implementation and working of SDGs in India is yet to take place.2030 is a distant aim. Present scenario of planning might be bad but working on this project has been an eye opener for me and I believe there is a lot more than SDGs for us in future. We can already see that all the targets are related to the planning world and this is just one ! Just one goal. There are 16 goals more which you can go through if you want to know more.
And at last if you want to be a part of SDGs as an individual or group you can visit http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/ and contribute to the world. Plan the world to make it a better place .
Author Bio: Khwmdwn Mushahary is a 3rd Year B.Plan student From M.A.N.I.T Bhopal. Originally from Assam. He loves touring, avid reader and popularly known as Motoring Monk among friends.