Challenges before sustainable development
Sustainable development is development that can meet the current development needs without harming the development needs of future generations. A 1987 report by the United Nations on the environment and development outlined two key concepts for sustainable development; to meet the basic needs of the poor and to use logical technology to protect the environment.
Sustainable development is a set of goals for future international development. The proposal, entitled "Transformed Our World: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030", is aimed at ensuring empowerment and non-discriminatory development in a changing world. These goals have been officially approved at the three-day World Conference on September 25-27, 2016 at the UN Headquarters. These goals replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The UN General Assembly has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals for the development of the world. 193 countries including Bangladesh are taking various steps to achieve 17 sustainable development goals over a period of 15 years. By 2030, the SDGs have a new agenda of global development to build not only a sustainable world but also prosperity, equality and justice for future generations. The Millennium Development Goals were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2000, before the Sustainable Development Goals.
Bangladesh's success in achieving the MDGs that ended in 2015 is quite significant. Bangladesh is being called a role model for achieving MDGs. The areas that Bangladesh as succeeded in MDG are: Poverty Alleviation, Health, Education and Gender Equality. Successful implementation of SDGs is required to sustain this success. Because the 17 goals of SDG from 2016 to 2030 are: poverty alleviation, hunger eradication, health and welfare, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sewerage, sustainable energy, economic growth, industrial innovation and urban infrastructure, urban development, infrastructure ensuring fair use of marine resources, reduce inequality, land protection, peace and justice, and tackling the effects of climate change.
Bangladesh has already started activities to implement the SDG targets. Bangladesh ranks 109th out of 175 countries in the 2021 SDG Index. Four years ago, Bangladesh was ranked 120th out of 156 countries in the 2016 index. MDG's goals include internal development, as well as programs to bring stability to the global partnership. The SDGs must be achieved by 2030 to ensure equitable and non-discriminatory development in a changing world. All the countries of the world are committed to achieve this goal. But in developing countries like Bangladesh, achieving the goals of SDGs will have to face many challenges.
Bangladesh's biggest challenge in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is unequal distribution of resources, inequality and poverty. We are talking about poverty alleviation on the one hand and wealth inequality in the world on the other. The widening gap between rich and poor has exacerbated poverty. The greater the inequality of wealth in the world, the greater will be the division between rich and poor. The development that is taking place in the world today is unbalanced. This development is divisive in different countries and among people. This apparent and growing inequality and division is a major challenge for Bangladesh on the path to sustainable development.
Our wealth inequality continues to grow. A class of people in the society is becoming the owner of immeasurable wealth by occupying land, rivers, forests and even economic institutions. As a result, an unbalanced society is developing. Poverty is becoming more pronounced as a result of the widening gap between rich and poor. Significant challenges to sustainable development are environmental pollution, climate change and natural disasters.
The illegal occupation of rivers by a class of people is threatening the aquatic biodiversity and the communication system in the rivers is being disrupted. Environmental pollution caused by unplanned industrialization and urbanization is having a negative impact on civic life. Uncontrolled use of fossil fuels has led to adverse reactions to climate change. Lack of necessary preventive measures against natural disasters is hampering the pace of development. Lack of coordination between public and private institutions is challenging sustainable development. Lack of accountability and transparency is hindering the establishment of justice in the society.
In a developing country like Bangladesh, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to implement the SDGs. In order to bring inequality to a tolerable level in all cases, inequality in income, consumption, gender, region and wealth must be reduced as much as possible and poverty must be eradicated in all cases. To this end, appropriate strategies and institutional arrangements have to be developed. The government and other stakeholders need to take and implement integrated activities. Education, healthcare, training and other facilities need to be enhanced. In this way they will be able to use their skills to collect resources as well as contribute to the development of the society and the country.
Ethical decision making, priority on planning, institutional and socio-economic environment needs to be enriched. At the same time monitoring system should be strengthened at every stage of plan implementation. Political commitment is essential for the effective implementation of sustainable development programs involving all in the collective commitment and efforts of all quarters.
We need to take more stringent measures to stop the smuggling of wealth abroad. In the development of rural economy, rural non-agricultural sector should be given sufficient priority. Development plans need to be adopted keeping in view the socially backward communities, geographically backward remote areas. Special programs need to be undertaken to reduce extreme poverty and poverty rate. The policy framework needs to be structured in such a way that socio-economic progress is fairly streamlined. Education, culture, health, development of sewerage system should be given priority.
In addition to increasing the budget allocation in these sectors, management and supervision should be increased. We have to ensure equal civil rights for all. There should be quality improvement and awakening in the field of education and culture. Although the energy sector has been given priority in the current budget, strict supervision has to be intensified in its implementation.
Meeting the challenge of sustainable development is not possible for the government alone, for individuals or organizations. In this case, everyone has to come forward from their own position. Awareness of all will take the state one step further in development. The key areas for sustainable development are our society, economic considerations and environmental protection. These are also called basic considerations. Sustainable development can be expected in all areas if development plans are adopted and implemented focusing on these three issues.
The writer is a student,
Jagannath University, Dhaka.