For thousands of years, human societies have proved that living sustainably — as healthy and happy individuals, within caring and stable families and communities, and in harmony with the natural world — is possible. In the last decades ‘development’ gradually came to be seen as a holistic notion, encompassing economic, social, cultural, political and environmental dimensions. Recently, the concept of global partnerships has gained prominence in sustainable development fora, most notably as a central element of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, which is at the heart of the global United Nations (UN) development agenda for the period 2016 – 2030. As we move closer to 2030, the stress is on collaborating and working together towards knowledge exchange, sharing of ideas and solutions, strengthening research at a global level.
The global community finds itself at a critical juncture today. We all recognize that succeeding in the attempts to mitigate climate change, control GHG emissions and combat various environmental issues is not down to one person. It’s about being resilient, with collaboration being the key ingredient that makes it all possible.
Mankind is facing emerging new challenges as well as exacerbated existing ones. Inequality has deepened, environmental degradation has increased, the energy crisis is intensifying, and urbanization is erratically increasing. At the same time, new economic powers have emerged, new technologies are shaping our societies, and new patterns of human settlement and activity are heightening the pressures on our planet. A new era demands a new vision and a responsive framework.
It has been established that the built environment can contribute to a more equal, inclusive and cohesive society if the places where we live, the facilities we use, our neighborhoods and meeting places are accessible, inclusive, resource efficient and user-centric. Education and awareness have come to the forefront as the world realizes that education must be reoriented to a vision of sustainability, one that links economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for Earth and its resources. The collaborative efforts of GRIHA Council, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are in synchronization with the criticality of education and research for linking social, economic, political and environmental concerns as crucial aspects of sustainable development. Interdependence between organizations and the natural environment is central to a systemic sustainability management perspective given that organizations depend on the natural environment for inputs and organizational actions directly impact the natural environment through feedback loops.
It is time to orient ourselves and embark upon the journey towards more inclusive and sustainable development. The 10th GRIHA Summit with the theme “Fostering Partnerships for Sustainable Habitat” shall serve as a platform to deliberate on interdependence between organizations, systemic sustainability management, and feedback loops for better resource efficiency. The Summit is to be held on 11th –13th December, 2018 at Indian Habitat Centre (IHC), New Delhi. Eminent speakers and dignitaries around the world will gather to debate, discuss and deliberate on the aspects of sustainability in the context of inclusiveness, international cooperation and education.