On 2 May 2019, RELX held its fourth SDG Inspiration Day in Delhi to catalyse action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This event took place at the iconic Imperial Hotel in partnership with Global Compact India, Responsible Media Forum and the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens. The theme Sustainable Cities: SDG 11, critical to the rest inspired rich discussion among participants from business, government, civil society and academia who explored the interconnection of SDG 11 with cross-cutting themes, such as health and the rule of law.
In the opening plenary, Dr Marcia Balisciano, Director, Corporate Responsibility at RELX, explained that India is in the top 10 countries for research on SDG 11 and in the last five years India’s research output on sustainable cities has more than doubled. Kamal Singh, Executive Director, Global Compact India, one of the top ten networks of the Global Compact, highlighted India’s contribution to the success of the SDGs – if India achieves the goals, we are half way there. The cost of implementing the SDGs is estimated to be 5 trillion USD per year, Anna French, Deputy Director, DFID India, added during the funders panel. New approaches are needed and the responsibility doesn’t just rest with governments. Barbara Muller, Programme Manager, BMW Foundations shared their approach which leverages Responsible Leaders Networks to mobilise young leaders, and Dr Manish Pant, Chief, Health and Development, UNDP, explained the need to expand research beyond the big universities.
The day featured an expert café with contributions from Arunava Dasgupta, Head , Department for Urban Design, Centre for Urban Design Innovation; Amit Sharma, BU Head, Energy and Sustainability Services, Schneider Electric India and Aditi Haldar, South-Asia Director, GRI among others, who explored the challenges of health planning for urban populations, the role of data, technology and smart infrastructure, circular and green energy systems and the future of jobs and skills.
An Inspirational keynote was delivered by Yash Ranga, Stakeholder Engagement Partner at Jaipur Rugs Foundation shared the philosophy that “hope is a beggar that makes you walk on fire” interpreted as don’t hope but do. He went on to talk about the customers wanting to buy not just a product but the story behind the product – a story of love and possibilities.
A keynote from Ambassador Kim won-soo, former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and Board Member of the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens, highlighted the need for smaller cities and the role of technology to harmonise this. Op Agarwal, CEO, World Resources Institute India, advocated the need to own the ride not the car in his closing presentation on the future of mobility.
Youth were well represented during the partnership fair, with a number of student presentations from the School of Urban Planning who shared their proposals for cities that were greener, more resilient and were more caring for older populations.
SDG Inspiration Day Delhi was the fourth of a series of inspiration days held across the world: London in 2017, which launched the RELX SDG Resource Centre; Silicon Valley which explored disruptive technology to advance the SDGs and Amsterdam on the importance of partnerships for the Goals, both in 2018.