Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, September 21st, 2017

How to Achieve Sustainable Development?

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How to Achieve Sustainable Development?

We live in “the global village” where human societies share organic relations. When a country sustains economic recession, prosperity is harmed everywhere. When a person suffers from a new flu, all are at risk. When nuclear weapon is pursued by one nation, all nations are susceptible to the risk of nuclear attack. When violent extremists spill the blood of individuals in one corner of the world, the entire globe is affected mentally and emotionally. And when innocents are slaughtered in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan, the public conscience is outraged. That is what it means we live in “the global village” and share this world in the 21st century.
Currently, the world is left at the mercy of terrorism. Terrorist networks have changed into global threat seeking to expand their reach. Terrorists murder innocent civilians, including women and children, on a massive scale around the world.
Confronting violent extremism in all of its forms is the first issue the world has to begin. To combat terrorism and mitigate extremism, we have to find out the root causes. It is believed that poverty is one of the main reasons behind extremism. A number of individuals join terrorist networks to alleviate their hunger and financial urges. Luckily, the first objective of the “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” is to put an end to poverty and hunger and promote well-being. This fact indicates that poverty plays a highly destructive role in human societies and should be eradicated.
The Belt and Road Initiative (B&R), which was raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September and October 2013, is one the mechanisms to alleviate poverty. The B&R is supported by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund with the aim of promoting regional and global trades and supporting sustainable development. So, the world should take more practical step in this regard so as to end poverty which will reduce extremism.
Lack of education is the second reason behind growing extremism. No wonder, the uneducated layer of a society will be more vulnerable to terrorist networks. According to my knowledge, those who live in tribal belts, where educational institutions are lacking, easily fall for the bogus claim of terrorist networks. Since one out of the 17 objectives of ‘the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ is providing learning opportunity and quality education, the world should broaden the individuals’ horizon through extending educational programs and vocational institutions.
Violence and discrimination against women is widespread, mainly in societies where patriarchal system rules. Women’s social, political and economic role is curtailed in light of cultural restrictions and traditional worldview. The fundamental groups and militant fighters, who practice upon misogynistic view, also pose a serious threat to women. For instance, women lose their lives in terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in war-torn countries. Women are exploited and murdered in cold blood by the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, to name but a few. To end sexual discrimination and violence against women, all nations have to act upon the fact that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” regardless of their race, color and sex, which has been stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and all countries should include this article in their constitutions so as to protect women’s rights and dignity and achieve gender equality.
Climate change and air pollution are believed to pose strong threat to people around the world and cause silent death. A large number of people lose their lives annually as a result of air pollution. Combating climate change is also the goal 13 of “the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The world needs to reduce pollution through supporting planting trees and preventing deforestation, saving energy and provoking sense of responsibility for companies and stakeholders. Similarly, the world should cut greenhouse gas emission and limit the temperature increase so as to reduce the risk and sustain environmental integrity. The best way to mitigate climate change and support sustainable development is to practice upon the “Paris Agreement”.  
To reduce extremism and build a world void of violence and bloodshed and to combat poverty, the human societies need to “act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” as it is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and strengthen global partnership in this “global village”. We have to respect the rights and dignity of all members of the human family. We have to seek common grounds and share common principles – principles of freedom, justice, tolerance and dignity. To reduce violence, the cycle of hatred and mistrust must end. In brief, religious tolerance, racial equality and respecting human rights and liberty will catalyze reaching sustainable development but contempt for human rights will lead to violence and cruel practices.
Words alone cannot meet our collective needs, these needs will be met if we take practical step boldly. Moreover, only military power cannot eradicate war and militancy in war-torn countries such as Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, this fact has been proved in Afghanistan and the “war on terror” did not bear the desired result. Besides targeting the sanctuaries of terrorist networks, no matter where they are, we need to pursue a non-violent mechanism, too, namely holding negotiation and eradiating poverty, lack of education, intolerance and racial injustice.

Streams of blood have been shed as a result of the protracted war and terrorism. People have been murdered on the grounds of their caste, color and creed. These outrageous acts will shake our collective conscience. We are all responsible and have to promote friendly relations among the nations. We have the responsibility to work for the time when the mothers of Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Israelis and Palestinians see their children grow up in a peaceful environment. 

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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