Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)
This year began with the activation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) when on January 01 2016, the seventeen (17) SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — earlier adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Now over the course of the next fifteen (15) years, countries all over the world are expected to mobilize efforts to bring an end to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, in an equitable manner. The SDGs follow on the experience of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and have a much larger scope and mandate. The SDG’s bring within their fold, seventeen (17) thematic areas with a strong focus on sustainability and climate change. Pakistan has also become a signatory to the SDG’s and an SDG Secretariat has already been established at the National Assembly Secretariat in Islamabad.
When it comes to prioritizing the implementation framework in terms of spheres of governance, the local government tier and the academia enjoy a critical importance. Universities and institutions of higher education with a focus on youth mobilization can play a major role in the planning and implementation process. The UN specifically created the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to support universities and other knowledge centers to play this role. As the document Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals – A Guide for Stakeholders, released in 2015 by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, UN, very clearly states, “Through research and development (R&D) they can create and incubate new technologies, they can identify strategic priorities and best practices in strategy and innovation, and they can help to monitor the agenda through the collection, analysis, and interpretation of primary data. Universities of course are also the key nodes of higher education, training a new generation of sustainable development leaders, and playing a key role in public awareness and education as well. Universities can be a critical and invaluable source of long-term independent technical assistance to governments to design and support implementation of SDG plans, working with specific ministries and/or national statistical offices”.