The exchange of goods and services amongst people represents the economy as we know it today. However, we know that these transactions draw upon resources in the natural system represented by exchanges between people and nature. This heavily influences interactions within the natural system impacting the capacities of the natural system to be drawn upon. The ultimate objective of all economic transactions is to enhance ‘the real wealth of society’ measured by the quality and health of the five capitals – physical, social, human, financial and natural. We therefore need to understand whether or not the economic strategies and solutions that we employ add value to or enhance the fundamental capitals.
Climate change and global warming are emerging as major challenges facing agriculture in India and elsewhere. In future, these challenges will further accelerate and the resource-poor communities in India and other developing countries, least responsible for global warming, will be the worst affected by it unless urgent actions are undertaken to help them adapt and cope with its unavoidable consequences.
The Paris Agreement reached the threshold for formally entering into force this October, bringing into existence the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal. Until now as signatories to the agreement, it was just a commitment. But now after 55 countries with cumulative emissions accounting for 55% of the global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the agreement, it has entered the implementation phase. India is among the ratifying nations and must now prepare for implementing it’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
This report summarises the main conclusions of an inventory and analysis on low-CO2, eco-ef!cient cement-based materials, carried out by a multi-stakeholder working group initiated by the United Nations Environment Program Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative (UNEP-SBCI).
On the 16th of February, 2016, the Government of Assam released the Assam 2030 in light of SDGs – Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Assam. The document defines the ambition of the state to ensure the health, happiness, prosperity and wellbeing of each and every citizen of Assam, as also on the conservation and preservation of the State's unique bio-diversity, which is critical for the sustainable development and economic growth of Assam.
The United Nations conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) is aimed at ‘reinvigorating’ the global political commitment to the sustainable development of towns, cities and other human settlements, both rural and urban.1 UN Habitat is striving to arrive at a consensus on an urban agenda that would commit countries to sustainable urbanisation ‘which is now more critical than ever as populations, social interactions, economic activities and environmental impacts are increasingly concentrated in cities’. The product of that reinvigoration, along with pledges and new obligations, is being referred to as the New Urban Agenda. This agenda will set a new global strategy around urbanisation for the next two decades.
Providing adequate shelter for its rural population continues to be a major challenge. Development Alternatives in collaboration with Fondazione FEM Onlus did an action research project on ‘credit-based eco housing for the rural populate of Bundelkhand region” in central India, which aimed towards provision of low coast eco-friendly housing for working poor through ecosystem approach. The paper deals with the project case study and details the process innovations pioneered in the project, the benefits achieved through these innovations and the learning from the project. Based on this case study, the paper would also detail the mechanisms necessary for scaling the model for wider dissemination in Indian populace
Environmental performance evaluation is conducted by adopting a life cycle analysis approach. Eco-labeling is a voluntary scheme for certification of environmental performance of products. Eco labels, as per International standard, ISO 14021:1999 are classified under three types: • Type-I: A multi-criteria based programme which authorises use of eco-labels on various product categories based on life cycle assessment of its environmental impacts. The certification is done by an Independent agency. • Type-II: Self environmental declarations made by companies in association with their own products or services. • Type-III: Labels are awarded based on quantified environmental data of a product under pre-defined parameters set by a qualified third party based on life cycle assessment. Verification of eco-label is done by another qualified third party.
India is witnessing a demographic transition. It has one of the highest and the fastest-growing youth populations in the world. By 2020, India’s population is expected to become the world’s youngest. More than 500 million Indian citizens will be under 25 years of age and more than two thirds of the population will be eligible to work. This ‘demographic dividend’ offers a great opportunity to India.
The transition to a green economy is based on two concepts - ‘Greening the Brown’ and "Growing the Green". In recent years, many efforts have been made to create closed loop, circular production systems and adopt new business models. A greater emphasis is being placed on cleaner production technologies, ranging from low or even no cost solutions to high investment in advanced clean technologies while shifting from a brown economy to a green economy.
The benefits that human populations gain from healthy and functioning ecosystems are vast. Clean drinking water filtered by forests, carbon stored in plants and soil, crop pollination by wild insects and pharmaceutical uses of plants are just a few examples of services humans usually receive for free from nature. A recent wave of efforts to monetise the value of ecosystem services presents an opportunity to both protect these assets and bring their worth into the market. Currently, conservationists and investors alike are moving into this space in hopes of achieving a win-win for the economy and the environment. An array of public and private mechanisms exist to use payments to encourage responsible land management that preserves public benefits.
By definition the idea of ‘Green Economy’ does not limit to only shift in focus from indulging in more environmentally harmful activities to less. Green growth is derived from a larger principle of systemic thinking that promotes innovations that are based on life sciences and are nature inspired. At TARA, within its capacity of an incubator, it fundamentally operates to nurture green business solutions for the environment and development challenges faced nationally and globally. This herculean task however comes with shared responsibilities and engagements with local entrepreneurs, technology partners, regional and state level government agencies along with bilateral and multilateral agencies. Together with this synergised effect and optimal use of local skills and resources without depleting the environment, it encourages ‘Green Growth’.
Khushboo Mishra, a class VII student of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Awasiya Vidyalaya, Shivpura village in Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh, now feels safe and secure in the school and hostel premises. She not only moves around freely in the school campus after dark, but also utilises the now available electricity in the evening hours to focus on her studies and indulge in extra-curricular activities with her friends. Shashi Shukla, Principal of this school is the driving force behind the safety, security measures that have been taken care of through fulfilling the lighting needs of the school. She feels relieved that after eight long years she has finally been able to provide safety to the 100 adolescent girls residing in the school’s hostel.
It is indisputable that over the past fifteen years the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have contributed to the advancement of women and girls - particularly in the area of maternal health where mortality rates have been halved and in access to primary education where the global gender gap has virtually closed. However, many argue that the MDGs could and should have done more to improve the status of women and girls. Several issues critical not only to women’s progress, but also to the overall prosperity and stability of women such as child marriage, violence against women and valuation of women’s work were overlooked in the MDGs
Influencing Behaviour for Sustainable Development
All that we do must therefore be directed to achieve the core objectives of human prosperity and planetary health. But how will we know that our actions and the results of our actions are leading to the fulfillment of sustainable development at the most local and the most global of levels and everything in between? This is where indicators for the SDGs come in.