SDGs at Crossroads

A Decade of Delivery begins with Decisive Digitalization

2020 marks the beginning of the decade that would end by making or breaking the global resolve on SDGs. I must say that clock has started ticking. Sound of that tik-tok is deafening. It's not just an alarm. It is a siren.

Four years of the fifteen years of the implementation of global goals ended on 31st Dec 2019. Result? United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated recently, "We are in a world in which global challenges are more and more integrated, and our responses are more and more fragmented". The latest 2019 UN report on the global progress of SDGs concludes that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is must to unleash the social and economic transformation to achieve our 2030 goals. In September 2019 at SDG summit, a declaration was made by the world leaders, "Gearing up for a Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development".

That declaration for the decade of delivery would remain dormant unless we deploy the decisive digital disruption. TERRE's initiative of actions in university and college campuses aims exactly that. A movement, rather than a project, Smart Campus CloudNetwork (SCCN) triggers the accelerated actions by harvesting the potential of the campuses for innovative technologies, in order to achieve much needed economic and social transformation.

SCCN pulls the SDGs discourse out of the classroom to the open in campus and closer to the everyday reality. SDGs are better imbibed in the minds of the youth through hands-on work on the campus-green-board rather than on the classroom-black-board. At the same time, the campus green-board needs digital technologies to accelerate the pace of achieving SDGs.

Indeed, there is a growing recognition and conviction that heightened use of digital technologies can contribute to a more sustainable future and accelerated implementation of SDGs.

According to "Digital with Purpose: Delivering a SMARTer 2030," a report released by the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Deloitte,the deployment of existing digital technologies will, on average, help accelerate progress toward the SDGs by 22% and mitigate downward trends by 23%.

After the completion of the pilot phase of the SCCN and having analysed lessons learnt, I would say that essential technologies that can enhance the speed of SDGs are ABCD : Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Cloud and Data analysis through Internet of Things (IoT). These ABCD can have significant and tangible effects in accelerating the efforts towards SDGs. However, that would not be smooth unless we provide easy access to digital technologies, faster internet, enabling social environment and more importantly, skill building to deploy technologies in creative way.

In a new study, an international team led by researchers from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, which was published in Nature, found 134 of a total of 169 individual targets in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals that could benefit from the advent of just one of the ABCD, i.e. Artificial Intelligence (AI). Overall, AI has the potential to have a positive impact on 79 percent of goals. The study also offers guidelines for how to navigate the benefits and risks of applying AI to achieving the UN goals.

According to the research, AI has the potential in reducing energy consumption,promoting clean and affordable energy, measuring and monitoring air pollution. AI-enabled smart electricity grids can match and balance the need for electricity against various renewable energy sources. SCCN has core-objective of promoting precisely these activities related to SDGsin the university-campus.

This is really encouraging news. And such news coming in the beginning of 2020 is a pleasing rhyme with the rhythm of tik-tok.

By Rajendra Shende, 

Chairman TERRE Policy Centre

Former Director UNEP

People's Participation Approach
Entering a Final Decade of Action


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Saturday, 22 February 2020
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe now and stay updated
with the latest news and
much more!

Please wait
sccn logo
sccn logo
©2020 SCCN Hub. All Rights Reserved.  Website crafted with by Weppsol


Air Quality Service

Today : 22-02-2020



Leading Pollutant : PM 10




PM 10 103
PM 2.5 23

Health Advisory: Very sensitive people should consider reducing longer/heavy exertion and heavy outdoor work.

Health Risk: Minor health issues for sensitive people, no problem to he general public.