ONGC Director (HR) and UN Global Compact Network India (GCNI) 16th National Convention Convener Dr Alka Mittal said that 2020, a year full of obstacles and challenges, witnessed the nation’s resilience and commitment to continue its efforts to attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Director (HR) was speaking at the Valedictory Session of the 16th National Convention of UN GCNI on 16 December 2021. She said that India is resilient and that has been proved by the developments of last year.
Director (HR) Dr Alka Mittal speaking during the valedictory session
On the occasion, the Director also launched the Calendar India @75 -- Goalkeepers 2022. “It is a very special movement for all of us. Citizens Foundation and UN GCNI are delighted to present the calendar Goalkeepers 2022 with the theme Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. Our Prime Minister had launched Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence. The mahotsav is being celebrated as a Janotsav, a place where all of us are becoming a part of the goals and development of the nation and celebrating that as well. Jan Bhagidari is the basic concept behind this. Everyone is involved in celebrating our 75 years of independence,” Dr Mittal said launching the calendar.
Launch of Goalkeepers Calendar 2022
She mentioned that various activities with emphasis on India’s glorious history, culture, technological development and digital inventions are being undertaken across the country to commemorate 75 years of India’s Independence. “People from all corners are taking part in the initiative. From good health, wellbeing, decent job, economic growth, affordable and clean energy, quality education, world class industry innovation, infrastructure, becoming the world’s third largest startup ecosystem. India’s growth model has been exemplary. We are very proud of being a part of this,” she added.
Dr Mittal said that this calendar commemorates substantial milestones in India’s SDG journey over the last year. “Keeping this in mind, Citizens Foundation and UNGCIN have collaborated on this theme, which highlights India’s achievements and milestones in relation to the sustainable development goals,” she said while complimenting Citizens Foundation CEO Ganesh Reddy for designing the calendar.
Citizens Foundation CEO Ganesh Reddy talks about conceptualization of the calendar
Talking about the calendar, Mr Reddy said it is all about India’s landmark journey towards achieving the SDGs. “The calendar was conceptualized to maximize the impact of the message in the minds of the people. We thought, when people see these SDG calendars on their tables, it will act as a reminder and encourage them to work towards achieving the same,” he said.
Delivering the valedictory address, Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka Eric Falt said that GCNI aims to acknowledge, celebrate and expand its partnership with all stakeholders to create a positive impact towards achieving SDGs. Mr Falt asserted that working to achieve SDGs is also good for businesses from a financial standpoint. “We live in an increasingly interconnected, complex and precarious world, with challenges arriving from rapid urbanization and migration. Vulnerable natural habitats and ecosystems, threatened by climate change and digital revolution that forces us to change our habits and preferences,” he said.
Eric Falt delivering the valedictory address
“In these settings, expectations of consumers as well as the larger society are changing. Businesses must not only think, but also act more responsibly and remain cognizant of the impact and footprint that they leave behind. They must also earn, more than ever, the respect and trust of their employees. A lot of the employees coming into the job market are younger, who seem to turning away from organizations that exist solely to make a profit. Instead, they want to work for and support businesses that embody values and principles; businesses that take ethical decisions, have responsible supply chains, defend environment and remain active in the communities where they do business. Millennials believe in purpose beyond profit and aiming for the SDGs keeps business viable,” he said.
NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, delivering the special address, said that the theme of the 16th National Convention aptly emphasizes that the time to act on SDGs is now. He said that the ambitious goals set by the government can only be achieved through partnerships; be it towards economic growth, sustainable development or climate change. Mr Kant underlined that the government, businesses and civil society must work together to achieve the shared vision. “It is only through interventions and effective monitoring at all levels of government can the SDGs be achieved. It is crucial to take SDGs’ localization to the grass root levels of the administration and measure impact and outcome in a more granular manner,” he said.
Special address by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant
“NITI Aayog has been taking the lead in building and enabling an environment to achieve the SDGs through devising a data-driven monitoring and evaluation approach. First, NITI Aayog has been bringing out the SDG India Index, where we assess and monitor the progress towards achieving the SDGs at the state-level. The third edition of the ranking were released in June 2021. The version of the report covers 70 targets through 115 indicator, a goal-wise ranking of states and UTs has been devised, along with states/UTs profiles. This is one of the rare incidents where a data-driven approach is taken to measure and accelerate the process. The report reflected the partnerships we have built and how partnerships can result in better outcomes and impacts,” Mr Kant added.
Earlier, Indian Oil Corporation Limited Director (HR) Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra complimented Dr Alka Mittal, under whose leadership UN GCNI has reached new heights. He said on the impetus to scale impact of actions towards achieving SDGs and desirable change. “It is important to know where we are today and where we want to be. With our collective efforts, we have achieved significant milestones. We also realize that we still have enormous challenges across poverty, sanitation, which has been hugely impacted by COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Mohapatra said.
IOCL Director (HR) during the session
He noted that governments around the world are planning to reduce carbon emissions and called all leaders to leverage their influence to bring about positive change. “Many companies have set ambitious target. But, we also realize that this will not be enough. We will never be able to achieve future targets without resolving current challenges. We must respond positively to current challenges,” he said. Mr Mohapatra highlighted the Prime Minister’s call to adopt environment as a way of life and added that India has the resolve to move forward in achieving SDGs. “We need to understand the way climate change and SDGs interact. To achieve SDGs, we need proper assessment and positive actions,” he said.
Priyanka Abbi summing up key takeaways
Accenture Sustainability Senior Manager Priyanka Abbi noted the key takeaways from the two-day National Convention. She said that perspectives from different sections -- academics, corporate and government representatives -- were put forth during the convention. She said that sustainability is no longer a moral obligation, but demanded by various stakeholders. Ms Abbi said that corporations are not always equipped to handle stakeholder demand and stressed that policy is expected to play huge role in achieving the SDGs. Noting that India has committed to achieve Net Zero by 2070, she said it is essential finance SGDs, bring innovation and technology, and adopt right action oriented ecosystem.
Vote of thanks
The 16th National Convention of the UN GCNI came to a conclusion with vote of thanks by UN GCNI APRC Head Aseem Kumar.