Leveraging 'People' Power of Sustainability

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Exhibit 1 reveals that majority of these economies are yet to achieve even 50% of SDG targets set for them. In Exhibit 2, we further analyse six of the seventeen very basic parameters of the SDGs that include No poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Clean water and sanitation, Decent Work and Peace, Justice and strong institutions. Interesting to note that majority of these economies are yet to fulfill the goals of even these basic parameters and in most cases significant challenges remain. 

To add to the above, number of undernourished people in the world increased from 650 million to 811 million between 2019 and 2020. As on 2020, 2.37 billion people were without food or unable to eat a healthy balanced diet on a regular basis. The proportion of the global population who were refugees has more than doubled between 2010-2020 with child labour increasing to 160 million in 2020 (first increase in two decades) (OECD, n.d).

Not every data is dampening though. For instance, in case of digital inclusion, humankind have progressed tremendously. According to a recent report, by mid 2022, 5.3 billion people were online that is over 63 per cent of the world population. Two of the major G20 economies, India and China now account for nearly 50 per cent of the global mobile traffic, compared to their 12 per cent share 10 years ago. In 2012, India contributed to only 2 per cent of the world’s mobile data traffic and China held a 10 per cent share, while the western market accounted for 75 per cent of the global market share. However, according to the latest data for 2022, India holds a 21 per cent share of the global mobile data traffic and China 27 per cent, while the western markets of North America and Europe account for only a quarter of the global traffic for mobile data services. India has the highest mobile data consumption rate at 12 GB/user a month in the world, and the country is adding as many as 25 million new smartphone users every quarter. These days, a local vendor, even in a rural area, for instance who barely have many of the basic necessities of life met, carry a smart phone. There has been a tremendous growth in digital infrastructure that has led to such surge (ITU WRC, 2023).

Yes, the global pandemic had a significant contribution to all the above. However, if we think of the disparity, rich-poor divide we note that, "Inequalities increased significantly within countries. The gap between the average incomes of the top 10% and the bottom 50% of individuals within countries has almost doubled, from 8.5x to 15x. This sharp rise in within country inequalities has meant that despite economic catch-up and strong growth in the emerging countries, the world remains particularly unequal today" (World Inequality Lab, 2021, P11)

Yet another recent report noted majority of the respondents felt generally pessimistic about reducing the gap between the rich and the poor in their country. Many also held doubts about the way their political system works with not much interest in any power play of the so-called people’s representatives (Pew Research Centre, 2020). One the other hand, representatives of the mass population enjoys the ample resource of public money to play the power games on the global stage while in many cases genuinely ignoring the actual concerns of the mass population who are entangled in their daily struggles to survive. When it comes to the availability of well-paying jobs in the future, more people globally saw this negatively than positively. They are much more likely to feel pessimistic about the future.

Is this still the one world, one family, one future we envisage? What could be the reason for this disparity? Is there somewhere a failure in leadership or have the bosses taken over genuine leaders. We know, by the very definition, a boss usually have authority over their subordinates, but may fall short to motivate them. On the other hand, a true leader does not show off, knows how to inspire the team—not with fear or intimidation, but rather with enthusiasm, passion, and respect. They set an example for others by embodying integrity, honesty, and kindness. And, significantly, what a true leader does is revealed in his/her actions and is not restricted to mere words….

Understanding and differentiating between right action and otherwise is mostly straightforward. It is the choice whether to stick to the right path by challenging many and any obstacles that may come one’s way or stoop to the pressure created by opportunists to confirm and be enslaved to their norms. Has the world become a place where ahandful thrives on human misery, self-praise and arrogance while the majority suffers? How long shall these unjust actions continue? Can we summarise the year with a note to ponder upon- whether as a civil society shall we stay calm, as perhaps, there is no "hole on my side of the boat…YET" and allow any progressive thoughts to seamlessly enter into a black hole? or shall we say, Youth....Wake up, rise and save your tomorrow for the elders failed.
Being an idealist, I always think of a One world, One religion that of Humanity and One duty to genuinely care for its inhabitants. Are you in?

When Bosses Rule And Leaders Subside

 A Quick View Of The Global Economy And Its Repercussion On Human Lives

And Sustainable Development

We started this year on a promising note with global leaders joining hands, speaking a common language to make the world a better place to live in. There were high hopes, and a sentiment of positivity flew around the business and economic sphere, especially after the torment inflicted COVID years.

The sentiment of growth and
prospect of better future ran high and reached peak until the cracks appeared in spheres including global peace impacted by the ongoing wars, spiraling interest rates, uncontrolled inflations, dwindling economies, a sense of insecurity among the mass population and more. So, what went wrong? And, while we summarise the year and look ahead what do we make of the situation….

A few hard facts
Recently, the world witnessed a glorious and one of the most expensive G20 summits of all time (INR 4,100 Crore equivalent to nearly 495 Million USD spent for the 2-day summit), on the well appreciated and promising theme of –
One World, One Family, One Future (​The Economic Times, 2023). Social media were flooded with posts of its success. It was deemed to be the coming together of the most powerful and significant global leaders to benefit the society and humankind.

Technically speaking, the
G20 or Group of 20 is the intergovernmental forum comprising of 19 countries(please see Exhibit 1), the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU). It is composed of the world's largest economies, accounting for 80% of Gross World Product (GWP), 75% of international trade and 2/3rds of the global population, 60% of the world's land area (Wikipedia, 2023). Such is the magnitude and significance of the group that collaboratively it can change the face of the world and enable progress of humanity. The world's major economies formed this economic grouping after the Asian financial crisis in 1999 with the understanding that such crises could no longer be contained within a nation's borders and required better international economic cooperation (Reuters, 2023).

Hence, for the purpose of analysis let’s look at some of the hard facts with reference to these economies and ponder upon the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are recognised as the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The overall score measures the total progress towards achieving all seventeen SDGs on the people, planet and prosperity parameters of sustainable development. The parameters include No poverty, Zero hunger, Good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, quality education, reduced inequalities, decent work, peace, justice and strong institutions and more. A score of 100 indicates that all SDGs have been achieved while the lower score indicate otherwise (United Nation, 2023).

Dr. Jayantee Mukherjee Saha




Source: UN’s Sustainable Development Report 2023 compiled by Aei4eiA Research, 2023

Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those by the contributors alone and do not represent the views of any other organisation, the forum moderator or that of Aei4eiA.

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Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, n.d), Better agro-food policies are crucial to improving global food security 

ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (2023), Digital Inclusion of all
Pew Research Centre (2020), Many around the world were pessimistic about inequality even before pandemic 
The Economic Times (2023), G20 Summit: India spends Rs 4100 cr
Reuters (2023), What is the G20 and what are the key issues for the 2023 summit? 

United Nation (2023), Sustainable Development Report 2023
World Inequality Lab (2021)
Wikipedia (2023), G20 

Source: UN’s Sustainable Development Report 2023 compiled by Aei4eiA Research, 2023