30 January 2017, New Delhi: The two-day Legislators’ workshop on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commenced in New Delhi at the WWF Secretariat on 30 January 2017. The workshop with the legislators’ is a part of the on-going consultations with key stakeholders about attainingthe SDG agenda in Sikkim through a legislative framework. The workshop began in the presence of Minister of Environment& Forests, Shri TsheringWangdiLepcha and Minister of Rural Management & Development Department Shri S.B.Subedi and sitting Member of Parliament from Sikkim, Shri P.D.Rai.
Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 goals adopted unanimously by 193 member nations of the United Nations in September 2015. These include ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator (UNRC) in India, Mr. Yuri Afanasiev set the tone for the day by emphasizing the role of India in the global negotiation of the SDGs in 2015. The need for focusing on the interlinkages between SDGs and domestically implementing these as per the local needs and challenges was stressed upon. The UNRC also acknowledged the efforts of Government and citizens of Sikkim in taking bold steps to make Sikkim the cleanest state, the only organic state of India and first open defecation free state in India. He also extended his office’s support to the Sikkim Government in its efforts to strategize and meet the SDG targets.
Day 1 of the workshop was conducted by Dr. Mandira Kala from PRS Legislative Research, Ravi Singh, CEO WWF India, Karma Bhutia, an entrepreneur from Sikkim and ZeenatNiazi from Development Alternatives.
Shri SB Subedi, Minister, underscored the SDG initiatives being undertaken by his department. Shri Rai, MP, acknowledged the leadership of Chief Minister Pawan Chamling in institutionalizing this effort through legislation especially after receiving the Sustainability Leadership Award on 6th October 2016 during the World Sustainability Summit from President Pranab Mukherjee.
Day 2 of the workshop focused on the process of law making and was conducted by AmitaKatragadda of leading law firm Cyril AmarchandMangaldas, Dr. Madhavan from PRS Legislative Research and MoulikaArabhi from WWF-India.
The legislators debated the priority areas for Sikkim and discussed challenges of development. It was also appreciated that Sikkim is already on the path to sustainability and we need to embed the goals of sustainable development in Sikkim’s DNA. The Panchayati Raj institution of Sikkim is poised to take this agenda forward and legislators pledged their support to increasing awareness in each of their constituencies regarding the subject.
The members also went on a field visit to the energy efficient campus of Development Alternatives in New Delhi. They also discussed the major issue of implementation of the new legislation to be and looked for ways to overcome the same.
MP, Rai in his concluding remarksexpressed his gratitude to all supporters and partners in this just begun journey toward ensuring a legal framework for the implementation of the SDGs in Sikkim and making it worthy of emulating in the rest of the country.