UNLEASH Insights: What Are the Important Aspects of Sustainable Development?

By Sunday Ademola Bayonle | 27 January 2020

When we talk about Sustainable Development, we may fall into a maze that we are too immersed with KPI or data. In fact, there are concrete aspects for sustainable development. It’s not something abstract, but in fact practical. An OnFrontiers-UNLEASH expert, Mr. Sunday Ademola Bayonle shares his insights on the following aspects of sustainable development:

  1. Good health and well-being,
  2. Quality education,
  3. Clean water and sanitation,
  4. Affordable and clean energy,
  5. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure,
  6. Sustainable cities and communities,
  7. Responsible consumption and production,
  8. Climate action

We welcome everyone to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment area!

1. Good health and well-being

Futurism is important when writing on the innovations and ideas that touch human life and the environment. This brings to the fore, the third of the seventh of the United Nations sustainable development goals; which categorically states that man deserves to live a quality life devoid of sickness and ailments. It simply summarises that we must – ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages – SDG 3.

Nations of the world try as much as possible to ensure their entire population lives sickness-free life to fulfill this goal. Of a truth, it is a general belief that, health is wealth. This gives insights into the general definition of good health and the well-being of humanity in society across the globe.

Of a fact, health is a total state of the emotional and physical well-being of a man. Primarily, healthcare exists to help people maintain their wellness and good status at all times, this is adequately provided by responsible and responsive governments of the world.  Also, it can be described as the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of humans. To achieve this, man needs a clean environment, decent home; job however little, poverty-free life and good food to maintain a healthy status for longevity.

That is the major reason that healthcare delivery takes a whopping amount of budgetary allocation in the developed world. In it, to give primary attention to human capital developments and citizenry, such that, in all equations, it will, in turn, to boost the country’s GDP and promote mobility of experts for prosperity around the globe.

This goal aims at the provision of standard hospitals across the countries of the world to combat health tourism and boost the wellness of people. The accessibility of standard and state-of-the-art medical equipment and well-trained personnel will help nations of the world to save their hard-earned money and of course helping the government to timely rescue and attend to the citizenry. This promotes wellness and longevity globally.

Consequently, nothing can be compared with a healthy population of a nation, because such a nation is bound to be productive and resourceful. This affirms that good health is an ingredient and catalyst to the industrial revolution in any nation across the world. So, the provision of good health delivery is important in UN sustainable development goals.

2. Quality Education

This is a fourth of seventeenth of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals that affirms man deserves a quality education. In it, it is categorically stated that we must – ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all – SDG 4.

It is noteworthy, that education is a fundamental human right of all citizens across the globe. This is a fact, education is to develop the skills and talent of man, enables him to be useful in society, and breaks the shackle of ignorance and poverty. Apparently, it is a crime against humanity to dampen, stifle or hinder the course of talent development of humans in whatever ways and manners. Thus, education must be promoted unrestrained for mankind to flourish even when handicapped e.g. Professor Stephen Hawkins a renounced Physicist was an example of this phenomenon, who became authority globally in his field even though he was bed-ridden!

Obviously, it affirms that there is no age limit to learning, to improve man’s awareness of his environment. What a challenge when crisis comically popped up its ugly head and intellectual property is surreptitious confiscated? Or when a man was denied of education in his early life but shook it off, much later in life, job opportunities that he is graciously and eminently qualified to handle become a mirage? As reasons being tacitly adduced are based on ethnic, racial or security issues! This is just like life incarceration or sentence of death through euthanasia – by unabated biting-abject-poverty being rammed into the throat! There is no doubt, peace is needed on earth to achieve UN sustainable development goals worldwide, and we must find means of creating peace for mankind regardless of the price to pay when it is absolutely tough and demanding like this scenario and situation narrated.

Of a truth, the government must ensure that everybody has an equal right to education at all levels. This is to eradicate ignorance and totally remove ones from the doom of abject poverty. And, of course, it will give human society a decent look when a large percentage of society is educated, and its resultant effects are good for the advancement of the people of all races. In another word, it will promote longevity, behavioral decency and peaceful society across the world – less crime and tensions across the globe will be recorded.

The late sage and philosopher – Chief Obafemi Awolowo (6th March 1909 – 9th May 1987) and Derek Curtis Bok, former President of Harvard University (1971-1991 and 2006 -2007) at a different point in time opinionated that: if you say education is too expensive, you can try ignorance. In a nutshell, governments must invest in qualitative education to drive home their policies and to assert the legitimacy of government worldwide. When a man is educated, is like a yoke and chains are broken, and it’s transformed his entire life and society – then there is light all around him!

Education is light.  It leads to great research breakthroughs when invested in educational researches in all disciplines. It reduces poverty and hunger through knowledge acquisition in agriculture when seeds are being multiplied via ideas and innovations that are passed across to farmers globally via information technologies or agricultural extension. This is confirmed when new seeds and technology in mechanized farming, are being introduced by a world institute or organization like the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) to encourage and promote farming to combat hunger and poverty.

Consequently, innovative researches are carried out in the area of medicine to cure diseases, untimely death and promoting longevity of mankind. And poverty is banished when people are trained in microfinance business and other entrepreneurial skills to emancipate from the dungeon of wretchedness. Above all, quality education brings about changes we desired in life via knowledge acquisition at any point in time of mankind. The impact of education in the fight against hunger and poverty cannot be overemphasized when looking at great engineering designs, clinical sciences, and business applications and so on and so forth. Therefore, quality education is critical to development and sustainability globally.

3.Clean water and Sanitation

This is number sixth of the United Nations sustainable development goals which affirms that we must – ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all – SDG 6.

Therefore, throughout the world, it is generally believed that water is life. How can we access clean water, and importantly, in a safe and sanitized manner? How can we ensure sustainable water management in the community? These are the fundamental questions we must answer to address sustainable community and environment. For this, we must be courageous, up and doing, to ensure there is a hygienic and safe environment where portable water is sourced for human consumption to avert the outbreak of epidemic in the society.

To this end, we must ensure proper waste management, and our environment must be clean, devoid of contamination (open defecation) of any form to avert diseases in the community. This will give the man a healthy life; boost the longevity and economy of the nation. There should be provision for adequate and potable water to ensure a healthy, buoyant and productive people live in the societies to meet United Nations sustainable development goals.

In other words, when the environment is challenged by a situation where we have recalcitrant and undesirable or criminal elements in the society, who take pleasure in polluting (oil spill) the source(s) of water for their personal gains – it is sad indeed. A responsible and responsive government must come hard on individuals who indulge in this criminal act.

However, this is tantamount to self-inflicted wound and an environmental genocide from man-to-man and of course man should rise up to fight it hard too to a standstill, systematically, it must be vehemently abhorred, to give man deserving peace on earth. There should be no sacred cow in the fight against crime that has humanitarian tinge and scourge. It is a fight for life to secure a clean environment to promote positive climate change campaigns worldwide.

4.Affordable and clean energy

This is seventh of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. To meet this goal, countries of the world must ensure the availability of affordable and clean energy to the citizenry. It states that – ensuring universal access to affordable electricity by 2030 means investing in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal. … Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean energy sources in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can both encourage growth and help the environment – SDG 7

We must be futuristic by investing in these innovative ideas to secure the human environment for life and prosperity. Presently, affordable and clean energy is a mirage in the developing world; the ultimate goal is to build human capital development in this area to march up with the developed countries of the world. Of a truth, the rate of emission through the production of hydro-carbon and combustion of fuel is telling on eco-system – changing world climate at an astronomical rate. There are good opportunities that can be derived from research into renewable energy only if we can pursue it across the globe as a panacea to future environmental disasters.

This is of importance to the world at large and it is a global trend – energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today – security, climate change, food production, jobs or increasing incomes. Sustainable energy generates opportunity – it transforms lives, economies and the planet – SDG 7

This confirms that where energy is accessible development ought to be real; there are prosperity and opportunities around such phenomenal ground-breaking discoveries. The world largely revolves around these utilized opportunities. We have to move along with it. This boils down on the innovative way of thinking, and ways of breaking-through, with less pollution, generating energy for man consumption to enhance sustainable environment and society where a man can live in a happy habitat without fear of a sudden illness and death.

In all, this new innovative idea of generating of energy via thermal/renewable or solar will eventually knock off over-dependency on oil, and it will reduce drastically pollution that usually emanating from its exploitation and production across the world. Apparently, this new insight into energy production when properly enhanced it will bring prosperity and longevity to mankind in the long run across the world. This is what UN sustainable development goal seventh is getting and driving at.

On this note, with the global revolution and evolution of affordable and clean energy, the world is moving fast to a safer community and environment when it’s vigorously pursued it for the use of mankind. The power evolution will be transformational enough to embrace revolutionary ideas and bringing to pass the long-awaited wind energy and solar-powered machines alive, which man has been yarning for, moving the ever-mobile world forward. This is an anti-poverty drive and innovation to solve power problems which frustrate industrial growth especially in the third world countries of the world.

5.Industry, innovation, and infrastructure

This is goal number ninth of the United Nations sustainable development goals. It simply states that – investment in infrastructure and innovations are crucial drivers of economic growth and development. With over half the world population now living in cities, mass transport and renewable energy are becoming ever more important, as are the growth of new industries and information and communication technologies – SDG 9

Due to mass migration of people from rural areas to urban societies across the globe – technological progress is also critical to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges in this regard, such as providing new jobs, decent housing and promoting energy efficiency to meet up these enormous demands of individuals living in the urban society across the world. Also, promoting sustainable industries, and investing in scientific research and innovation, are all important ways to facilitate sustainable development that engenders decent life in human society.

Thus, these initiatives are the mainstay and economic drivers of the industrial revolution of any nation. The country that wants to develop must fall in line with the new innovative moves. These ideas are current and tilted towards industrialization that inspired United Nations sustainable development goals and good governance in any human settlement on earth.

To address urban explosive population and challenges, good governance must be encouraged to avert possible inherent dangers that are associated with this phenomenon. Therefore, the government must provide for all necessary amenities in terms of transportation, security, decent houses, good health delivery, clean energy, potable water, and a clean environment for the vast population of the urban areas and general human settlements.

At the same time, the movement of agricultural produce from the rural areas must be adequately planned and catered for as well, to balance the equation. And of course, the storage of perishable produce must also be taken into consideration. This can be achieved when we have constant and affordable power to power infrastructure both on land and maritime. This is the sign and beginning of the industrial revolution that touches the lives of people across the board that will avert poverty, hunger, and death.

Therefore, provisions of sustainable infrastructures are important to the industrialization of a nation. This must be backed by good governance and communication system with skillful hands on deck. For this reason, this will also improve access to information and communication technologies, boosting investment initiatives and industrialization moves by developing applications in the areas of security, trade; industry and transportation system. This will help combat poverty and hunger being caused by unemployment and underdevelopment amongst the under-developed countries of the world.

In another word, there cannot be any sustainable development without an adequate exchange of information, ideas and mass investments in industrialization, affordable power, and transportation as a result of explosive and exodus movement of people to urban cities world at large. This is the target, and apparently a ‘must-do‘, that is critically crucial to industrial revolutionary campaigns world-wide that we must all embrace to combat poverty and hunger for longevity and sustainability.

6.Sustainable cities and communities

This is goal eleventh of the United Nations sustainable development goals – the human settlements and habitats that are decent in terms of infrastructure, urban planning that gives room to prosperity, and safe for a living condition. The goal is to ensure everyone lives in a good, secured and decent environment with all necessary amenities in place. It emphasizes living in safe, well-planned houses, good transport system and economies that are people-oriented and all-inclusive.

All these plans are tilted to end poverty, promoting prosperity and make lives of people meaningful across the globe. That is the major reason for the eleventh goal which says that – making cities sustainable means creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies. It involves investment in public transport, creating green public spaces, and improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways – SDG 11

This is explicit on making cities and communities sustainable, creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies. The general wellbeing of the population is crucial and attached to this goal. Also, its level of consumption and resource balance must be clearly defined and measured at any given situation.

This involves massive investment in logistics, haulage or public transportation in water, air and land (rails), creating green public spaces to beautify the environment where man lives, and improving urban planning and management in participatory and inclusive ways and manners they are being run sustainably for mankind. This will help to evacuate goods, agricultural produce from hinterlands, creating job opportunities, combat poverty, and hunger in the communities around the world.

Above all, human communities are sustainable, peaceful and devoid of crimes when there is adequate provision for their needs. The idea behind this drive is to generate peaceful co-existence between industries and people within a settlement or environment. Therefore, a peaceful environment to operate for the industries is largely dependent on the general wellbeing of the people that live within an immediate environment.

And apparently, this is a major responsibility of any responsible government, but the reverse is the case particularly in developing countries where corruption is the order-of-the-day. This must be stopped to fight poverty and hunger which drives people to their early graves. However, as corporate citizens, the industries or corporate bodies also have responsibilities to give back to communities, to grow and develop their businesses in their various areas of operations for sustainability.

7.Responsible consumption and production

This is twelfth of the United Nations sustainable development goals which stated that, responsible consumption and production. … Encouraging industries, businesses, and consumers to recycle and reduce waste is equally important, as is supporting developing countries to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption by 2030 – SDG 12

For any country to meet this goal, it must agree totally with the rules therein. Thus, it is of a fact that industries must continue to produce, and we must protect investors and their investments from all harms, while the populace must also consume responsibly to enhance the sustainability of their environment and business.

Also, it explicitly explains the promoting resource and energy efficiency, provision of infrastructure and basic access to good things in life like job opportunities without discrimination across the world. It highlights a fact that industries and businesses have the right to grow but with environmental considerations i.e. there should be proper waste management as these industries are growing and thriving in the society.

It is important to note that food production contributes, for example, to climate change, eutrophication and acid rain that fall, as well as the depletion of biodiversity. It is also a considerable drain on other resources, such as nutrients, land area, energy, and water. Also, these entire moves are to reduce drastically and save our environment from avoidable danger of environmental pollution, particularly the oil and gas industry around should be regulated by responsible and responsive government for gas flaring that depletes ozone layer and man-made environmental degradation (pipeline sabotage and oil bunkering) – releasing carbon dioxide to the air, fumes and other emissions causing people systematic and slow death by the day.

This gives insights into a responsible government, strives by formulating policies to save and restore the earth, work assiduously to protect the climate and particularly the immediate environment, by ensuring less depletion of biodiversity and over-cultivating of land and water resources. It is a fact that climate change is a major concern to the world leaders at large, to protect man and environment, for peaceful existence and sustainability.

In a nutshell, the production of both agriculture and others must be properly monitored and must not be threatened for human survival. Meanwhile, sustainability is crucial to responsible production and consumption of goods from these industries, as they have symbiotic relationships to human society and manners of relationships all over the world.

Therefore, the production of the industries must be unimpeded to engender development men are craving for. And they must be compliant with approved rules and regulations of wherever they operate across the globe. Lastly, human consumption must also be regulated and monitored via rules and regulations that are compliable. This will make the relationship be mutually beneficial to all players in the industry globally for the development, longevity, environmental sustainability, and prosperity of mankind.

8.Climate action

This is thirteenth of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it affirms that: stepped-up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-induced impacts, including climate-related hazards in all countries; integrating climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning; and improving education,… – SDG 13

To address this, we must increase climate change remediation campaigns to enjoy the God-given planet. There must be adequate monitoring and control of the gas flaring, pipeline sabotage, oil bunkering and all forms of emissions; steps must be taken to out-rightly combat fumes, carbon dioxide emissions and other sources of pollution which generate global warming, to have a healthy environment for longevity.

Also, burning of bushes must be checked and regulated to protect the environment and enhance the fight against climate change – Australia, Amazon and California’s endemic bush fires are terrible examples around the world. This is necessary to stem heatwaves across the entire regions where mankind populated and lost of properties to promote good health, wellbeing, longevity, and sustainability.

To this end, we need to take timely and necessary action in curbing emission via the production of hydrocarbons and associated sources of environmental pollutions, and to ensure a protected environment for mankind across the globe. These are certain steps that must be taken out-rightly promote a healthy environment and longevity.

Conclusively, to ensure these are enforceable and properly in place, we must follow the following under-listed pieces of advice from experts to protect climate, environment, and planet at large from hazardous gaseous discharges into the human environment:

  • Walk, cycle, or take transit instead of driving
  • Limit your consumption
  • Reduce your food waste
  • Use less energy at home
  • Limit your air travel
  • Give your home an energy retrofit
  • If you have to drive, consider an Electric Vehicle or Plug-In Hybrid
  • Use renewable energy

Sunday Ademola Bayonle is an expert in community engagement and local governance in Nigeria.