Two major challenges face the human race as we enter the 21st century. The first relates to major damage to the environment and the earths natural resources including the threat of climate change. The second stems from the continued existence of poverty in several parts of the globe with an estimated number of 2.8 billion people living at incomes below $2 a day. Both these challenges underline the importance of all countries in the world pursuing the goal of sustainable development. Solutions to these problems require unprecedented efforts on the part of governments, corporate organizations, and civil society. The role of science and technology in any set of solutions would be paramount. Also relevant to the pursuit of sustainable development is the need to ensure equitable growth in different parts of the world, such that the rich and prosperous do not impose a footprint on the earths ecosystem larger than their share and one that allows the poor of the world to lift themselves out of poverty using environmental services in a sustainable manner.
The first DSDS (Delhi Sustainable Development Summit) would focus on some of these challenges by bringing together the leaders of government, industry, academia, and research institutions, and civil society as well as leaders from bilateral and multilateral organizations involved in development-related activities.
The summit thus fulfils the recommendation made at Global sustainable development in the 21st century: directions and innovations for change (19-21 Feb. 2000), namely to establish a forum to set a global development agenda and to monitor its progress jointly with all the stakeholders (governments, global institutions, NGOs, the corporate sector, the research community, and all other interested parties).
DSDS seeks to bring together the worlds most astute thinking, facilitate meaningful debate and constructive discussion, and help evolve global consensus such that clarity achieved will translate the ideals of sustainability into the thinking and living processes of humankind.
Government of Delhi
Prof. Y K Alagh, Vice Chairman, Sardar Patel Institute of Economic
and Social Research, India