Decade of action

All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG) is pleased to host the fifth edition of the South Asian Cities (SAC) Summit on March 5th & 6th in Goa.
As in the past, this Summit will bring together government functionaries, local body officials and elected representatives, urban planners, and other stakeholders from about 35 countries who are working to build a just, equitable and sustainable future for cities around the globe. In some ways, this Summit has a sense of urgency around it. The theme of the Summit is ‘10 years to SDGs’ – conveying that we have just ten years left to achieve the SDGs, i.e., by the year 2030. While ten years may seem a long time in some contexts, one may have to look at it in terms of what the targets are, what has been achieved and what is yet to be achieved. The challenges are several, and, to many, may sound significant. However, experience tells us that human ingenuity and technological advancements together can help us leapfrog several steps in a process and bring us closer to our goals.
This will require among others, close coordination and cooperation between governments, academicians, civil society and citizens. Global forums such as the SAC Summit will forge partnerships among nations and citizens in our quest for timely realisation of the SDGs. While several challenges are country or region-specific, such as poverty and its extent, education, the economy, and healthcare; a number of very significant challenges are common and call for concerted joint action by the global community acting in unison. Challenges such as climate change, economic disparity, and chronic epidemics are some. The current coronavirus outbreak, which has already claimed over 2000 lives, is a stark reminder of the vulnerability of humans to little known health dangers. It reminds us that despite all that has been achieved in science and healthcare, a lot remains to be done. It is also a pointer to the need for global collaboration and cooperation in addressing such issues which could strike mankind without warning.
Innovation and technology, notably Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and IoT are likely to play a big role in our race towards meeting the SDGs. These could be the tools to provide transformational changes and breakthroughs in our journey, whether it be in the area of clean mobility, public healthcare, or environmental issues. Let us pledge to use these tools to their fullest potential.
Cities will remain the focal point of the Summit. Here the challenges for many of the countries in the region could be common – housing, clean mobility and waste management, among others. In these areas several cities and countries have made notable progress. The experience of these could offer valuable learnings to the international community. One is confident that the Summit will be a platform for meaningful exchange of views and learnings to enable and encourage accelerated progress in our march towards a more just, safe, equitable and sustainable future for the world.
These 10 years to SDGs – let’s make this the decade of action.

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