A note on CUTS International (Consumer Unity & Trust Society) consultation with NITI Aayog on SDG 12:
Lack of awareness, coordination and data availability are major concerns to achieve the SDG 12 which is Sustainable Consumption and Production. This also coupled with lack of funding, shortage of technical staff resulting in inadequate monitoring and reporting appears to be the most significant challenges at the state level in SDG12 implementation. These were the concerns expressed by George Cheriyan, Director, CUTS in the opening address of the consultation on SDG12 held in Jaipur today, Oct. 27, 2021 organised by CUTS in partnership with NITI Aayog and Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC). He further said comparing with other states, Rajasthan is lagging behind in overall implementation of SDGs.
While referring to the finding of CUTS study titled “Sustainable Consumption and Production – A Consumer Perspective”, George Cheriyan mentioned that several of the indicators’ condition may deteriorate further by 2030, compared to 2015, due to the Pandemic’s detrimental influence and other factors. He further added Rajasthan is lagging behind to achieve SDG-12 targets.
The study mainly looked at SDG 12 from a consumer perspective based on The United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP). The importance of studying and analysing the achievement of a country’s progress under SDG 12 than any other Goal was felt because of its interlinking nature with other goals. Almost all other Goals are connected with SDG 12, thereby underlining that any progress to meet Agenda 2030 by a country cannot be achieved without carefully approaching and addressing the concerns under SDG 12.
Speaking during the inaugural session Sundar Narayan Mishra, Senior Consultant-SDGs, NITI Aayog, Government of India while referring to the finding of CUTS study, Rajasthan is lagging behind to achieve SDG-12 targets. There are several initiatives at grassroot level but scalability is a challenge. Those small initiatives need to make larger initiatives by coordinated efforts and reporting. Progress of SDG 12 is important to achieve SDGs. He also discussed climate-smart agriculture, green building, pandemic & SDG and various best practices related to sustainable consumption. He further added there is a need of effective monitoring and data collection framework for SDG 12, sharing those efforts are being currently taken under NITI Aayog to address this concern. He highlighted Aayog’s milestone and strategy to achieve the SDG 12.
Anand Mohan, Member Secretary, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board highlighted various government schemes and intuitive regarding waste. He also briefed about the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, The Environment (Protection) Act and how these three laws are working in Rajasthan. The use of easily recoverable, recyclable, and less harmful materials that can be utilised for disassembly, refurbishment, reuse, and remanufacturing should be the primary priority. Recycling and reuse of materials are likely solutions for reducing e-waste. There is need of sustainable consumption behaviour in society to achieve the SDG 12 target.
Punita Singh, Joint Director, Department of Tourism, Rajasthan highlighted various traditional practices and government initiative on sustainable tourism in Rajasthan. According to Rajasthan Eco Tourism Policy 2021, Eco-Tourism is defined as a kind of sustainable tourism which has natural or cultural heritage region that includes community engagement, natural resource conservation and management, culture, indigenous knowledge and customs, environmental education and ethics, as well as economic benefits, she added.
Hitballabh Sharma, Deputy Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Rajasthan discussed about the challenge on implementation of SDG 12 and mentioned about lack of awareness and coordination among government agencies. He also highlighted the various initiatives of Rajasthan Grameen Aajeevika Vikas Parishad. He mentioned the role of SHGs to achieve the SDG12. There is a need to promote the SHGs and collaboration with CSOs.
Seven departments including Environment, Rural Development, Tourism, Planning, UNICEF and others shared their department specific progress and programmes related to the SDG12. The technical session was moderated by Amar Deep Singh, Sr. Programme Officer CUTS. He highlighted that there is a need to document the best practices and initiative regarding sustainable consumption in Rajasthan. Amit Babu from CUTS presented the key findings of the study in the consultation. The consultation, that followed COVID protocol guidelines, saw participation of more than 50 participants including representatives of various government departments, organisations working on sustainable consumption and consumer protection from different parts of Rajasthan.