This years conference is about sustainable development, societies and responsive citizens. The theme is tightly connected.But what does creating sustainable development mean? What makes sustainable socie- ties? Is it just about switching to efficient light bulbs, recycling waste and drinking organic or fair trade coffee? Or is it more than that?
Sustainable Development = Individual and Collective Actions
Sustainable development is about individual and collective actions. It’s about empowering people to get involved and when civic engagement is harnessed to its full potential, it is a genuine force for social cohesion and sustainable societies. It’s not just the United Nations and Governments around the world that are responsible for achieving the Millennium Development Goals alone, ordinary citizens too must play their part in making this possible and popular mobilization does make a big difference. This is the job of NGOs and civil society: to connect the dots between sustainable development and the role of responsive citizens and engage communities to not only respond to the challenge of building a green economy but to unite around the goal of building truly sustainable societies.
Responsive Citizens in Sustainable Socities
In the wake of the recent public movements of historic proportions in middle east and northern africa, we see that social movements does most of the time start on the streets and not in the goverment offices. It comes from responsive citizens, thinking outside of the box and taking actions to make chenge happen. Even the most marginalized citizen can in this globlized world be an agent of change and a heard voice in the decision of their own future.
Taking all this in regards, the question might arise: Why is IFMSA present at UNDPI NGO conference on sustainable development? The answer is simple and comprehensive: Health is a sector being strongly connected and depending on circumstances people live in! Health is determined by poverty and access to health care in the exsisting systems as well as the peoples’ environment they work and live in. This revolves in a urgent need to question stakeholders of governments as well as NGOs, how they take into consideration effects on human health when discussing about creation of new green economys, climate justice or water, food and energy security in order to buil sustinable societies.
To be continued with reports from the days…
Maria, Usman, Hanna