We are thrilled to introduce our second newest member of the Give Me 5! team, Savio! We are grateful to have him on board and looking forward to collaborating with him on future projects. Savio has done us the honor of writing up a post by way of introduction, so without further ado:
My name is Savio Monteiro, and I am from one of the smallest states of India: Goa. The village I live in is charming island Divar and is accessible only by ferryboat. The ferry ride gives one a glimpse of Goa’s rustic countryside, and one can enjoy spotting exotic birds and amphibian life in their natural habitat.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a degree in Law (LLB). I worked for two years as an Associate lawyer and assisted senior counsels in court and during arbitration proceedings. I also worked as an independent lawyer and took up pro bono work for my village, while I completed LLM in Intellectual Property at Salgaokar Law School, Goa, India. I recently completed LLM in Transnational Legal Studies at St. John’s University, New York.
I came to know about sustainable development five years ago when a group of American exchange students from St. John’s University, New York, came to my village to study about sustainability. Their project sparked an interest in me, and I was keen to learn more about the research they were conducting in my village as a model state for sustainability. After my interaction with the students, I decided to play an active role in giving something back to the community through my college and village. In college, I was a member of the Legal Aid Society wherein I provided free legal aid services to those in need. To show my support towards gender equality, I helped organize a women’s protection symposium focusing on gender equality. Through my affiliation with the Piedade Youth Association (my village organization), I was able to organize several programs and events focusing on educating the youth on life skills and community building. Seeing the way that our planet is being degraded due to the greed of human race has compelled me to pledge to make a contribution towards the sustainable development goals. Hence I took these small steps towards making a positive change, and I am an optimist who believes that if each one does their bit for the community and environment, we could achieve the sustainable development goals at a faster and more efficient rate.
India is moving forward with the aim of SDGs through the initiatives taken together by our civil societies, public and private sectors. NITI Aayog is the national body which is primarily responsible for implementing the SDGs in India. Our Prime Minster is a strong advocate for sustainable development goals and has initiated campaigns such as Swatch Bharat (Clean India) and Digital India which have garnered a positive response from the citizens of India and widespread media coverage.
In 2016, the government set a goal to double farmers’ income by 2022 and to create a budget that supports the agricultural sector. They also aim to increase investment in infrastructure, irrigation, education and training, and healthcare. The National Food Security Act, Mid-Day Meal Scheme, and Anganwadi Centres have been initiated to tackle food security problems.
Several state governments in India have made robust efforts in implementing SDGs. One such example is the government of Delhi, which introduced the Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinics Scheme, wherein new Mohalla Clinics are launched, a substantial number of medical and para-medical staff are employed, and free medicines and tests are made available. Similarly, the state of Andhra Pradesh has adopted the Sustainable Development Goals that offer an eclectic array, covering the entire spectrum of development priorities.
Some of the corporations in the private sector in India are also focusing on SDGs; Siemens India, which plays a pivotal role in creating smart city that will meet the demands of a growing population, provides access to healthcare and drinking water. Reliable power supply and public transportation are some of the key elements for sustainable urban development.
Similarly, Infosys invests in sustainable development in the tribal villages of Madhya Pradesh with the aim of transforming the village and its community in a holistic and integrated manner, covering aspects related to education, vocational training, community development and conservation of natural resources.
The SDGs are a universal agenda that reflects the global nature of the challenges and opportunities we have to face collectively. Government organizations must prioritize the people and the planet and must work towards a future that is more inclusive, equitable and sustainable by developing an efficient framework under the SDGs.
We must work together irrespective of differences, but keeping in mind one purpose of saving the planet and promoting prosperity for the coming generation. Countries should allocate more funds towards SDGs, take part in locally relevant and people-centric development policies, and build strong partnerships through the GM5 Campaign. Organizations from the public and private sectors should strive to achieve sustainable development goals by adopting a village or city that requires development. Society should also take on a stronger role in implementing the SDGs. It is our duty to ensure that we adopt the goals of the campaign and use them in the workplace, home, and other places. This can be achieved if more similar platform like the GM5 Campaign are created by lobbying civil society and public and private sector.
-By Savio Monteiro