Research for Sustainable Development Global Partnership to revitalize Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The emerging and stagnating socio-economic and environmental challenges bring a new debate to revisit the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The traditional Millennium Development Goals has a substantially (not extraordinary achievements) improve lives of people yet there are still issues need to be resolved as present Secretary General Banki Moon expressed ;

“Eradicating extreme poverty continues to be one of the main challenges of our time, and is a major concern of the international community. Ending this scourge will require the combined efforts of all, governments, civil society organizations and the private sector, in the context of a stronger and more effective global partnership for development. The Millennium Development Goals set time-bound targets, by which progress in reducing income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter and exclusion — while promoting gender equality, health, education and environmental sustainability — can be measured. They also embody basic human rights — the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter and security. The Goals are ambitious but feasible and, together with the comprehensive United Nations development agenda, set the course for the world’s efforts to alleviate extreme poverty by 2015. “

The present socio-cultural, environmental and economic researchers, experts and policymakers are in a final sprint to identify such tangible goals that would shape the work of the global aid community and try to achieve the peaceful and prosperous future we want. As an outcome of 2012 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development or the Rio+20 the emphasis of the world leader is on “Sustainability” that aim to be included in policies and programs around three sphere; economic growth and equity, social development and environmental preservation. The idea seems to be is quite simple yet hard to achieve. Most of the countries can pursue socio-economic development while safeguarding the environment to ensure sustainable socio-environmental development. However, in practice the trade-offs arise due to the diversity of challenges, stakeholders and interests. As often the country development needs win-out over environmental issues. Such problems promotes some of experts to argue that stamping out poverty and protecting the Earth’s life support system must be twin priorities for the coming SDGs.

In order to find a balance between competing demands of economic growth and protecting environment is at the crux of sustainable development-a challenge all of us should tackle. The academia and research institutes must took on through sustainable development goals by devising Research for Sustainable Development (RSD) programs that aims to contribute to setting the post-2015 agenda by advancing SDGs such as linking poverty reduction with environmental protection, and proposing policies and frameworks for action to the aid agencies and multilateral organizations. The Uni-led RSD programs  must seeks to propose tangible goals, specific and time-bound targets and regulatory frameworks for governance by integrating findings from studies, which utilize human development and environmental sustainability paradigms. The Researchers can follow the basic principals as;

  • Initially by understanding the Climatic and Earth Challenges and then proposed multivariate approaches for Sustainable Development through analyzing goals and targets at different levels of governance e.g. local, national, regional and global and to ensure the preservation and protection of Earth’s life such as water resources (oceans), atmosphere (air),  forests and biodiversity (esp. Flora and Fauna).
  • Linking and Integrating Formal Education with World’d Challenges globally such as Water and natural resource utilization and management through non-formal educational or training programs and by developing basic literacy competencies.
  • Ending the Inequality, Promoting Justice to tackle Multidimensional Poverty; Conflicts, Food and Health Poverty Nexus;  There is a dire need to revisit the current global FTAs, Monetary and Economic polices in order to reduce inequality between countries. Further, the academia can analyzed multidimensional poverty in terms of Food and Health such as researching links between economic deprivation, health and conflicts (Terrorism and Crime) and suggests that the SDGs address this by linking targets and indicators with the delivery of socio-economic and educational programs to boost economy and address poverty and its outcomes globally. Further, to end the “double burden” on Poverty-interventions should focus more on eliminating inequality and food disparity.
  • Comprehensive governance and Management of United Nations and SDGs; Tackling opportunities for creating a coherent governance system. It required not only to arrange High-Level (Political) workshops or forum on Sustainable Development rather needed a high-level active participation, contextualization of goals and target with innovative techniques for dialogue and feedback, and links with intermediaries inside and outside of the U.N. system. The UN and its bureaucratic mode must listen to the developing  and underdeveloped world and let them decided what is important for them to work on.
  • Partnership among researchers and experts from around the world and among universities and research institutions would help in identifying, measuring and suggesting appropriate strategies and solutions and provide a platform for emerging research for playing their role sustainable development.

Both UN and Academic institutions must play its role in order to create a healthy environment, a viable economy, just and peaceful community where everyone has a right to live and progress independently. The research focused SDGs can lead towards achieving goals and targets of ending global poverty, inequality, hunger, basic education, health, food and environmental security globally.


Why Religion is out of Development Agenda?

The world has changed after the 9/11 and war on terror has shaken the whole population especially the Muslim countries. The recent emergence of Global Jehadis as “Daesh or ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) changed the traditional warfare and financial mechanism of terrorist groups. This war between fundamentalists Muslims and Moderate world not only lost millions of innocent lives but also damage the world economy. In relation to Pakistan’ the developing economy paid cost of war against terrorism, which escalated up to $90 billion to $100 billion, as well as it is confronting at both internal and external fronts.[1]The whole Muslims in the world especially living the USA confronted multifaceted problems. Why this happen is a contested issues which is beyond our focus but the world has realized the significance of Religion as a driver for change and paradigm shift in contemporary world. The religious institutions such as Madaris, Mosque and Ulama (Religious Leaders) are linked closely and are complimentary to each other. They are important stakeholders of the civil society in Pakistan. Their numerical strength, potential to influence the general public, acceptability among the communities, and proximity of contact with the people at the grass roots level, and various religious services provide their institutions a monopoly over the interpretation of Islamic teachings. The enormous resources available to them (according to Agha Khan University local communities in Pakistan contribute Rs. 70 billion in Philanthropy a big portion of which goes to the religious institutions)  make  them very fit as a means to support the process of social transformation in the country.  However, no organized, continuous and consistent effort has ever been made to bring them into the mainstream of development and to tap their potential for developmental activities in the country. The non-participation of these NSP/A (Non-state Providers or Actors) religious institutions into the developmental efforts in not only in Pakistan but in west especially USA is a key issue that has far reaching effects on the society. Hardly an organized effort has been made in the past to take the religious institutions into self-reliance, sensitize them on issues related to social development, utilize their strengths for positive communication at the grass roots, and motivate them to play an effective role in the overall developmental process of the country. Much has been written on role of religion as peace and conflict management but least focused on capacity development of religious leaders and strengthening these institutions for development. As a development practitioner for last eight years in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Korea, I have came with conclusion that present socio-cultural and environmental challenges can be address while making inclusive participation of everyone particularly Religious Leaders. The aim of my research is to critically analyze the role of Muslims institutions, how to enable inclusive participation and giving a model for institutional development and financial monitoring and evaluation.

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[1] Economic Survey of Pakistan. 2012-13: Islamabad