Human behavior’s factor and consumption in implementing SDGs

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The states should adopt multidisciplinary approaches to changing peoples’ consumption patterns; behavioral science is one of several disciplines that can help political economy addressing modern challenges. Others include: social sciences and economics, systems thinking and social marketing, human-centered behavior and implementation science. All these disciplines are equipped with tools appropriately contributing to developing proper implementing policies designed to transform people’s needs and life experiences. 

Modern state’s governance urgently needs harnessing citizens’ behavioral insights and drivers that would change it according to sustainable goals. Learning about behavioral science’s input and application for the SDGs solutions can assist nations in creating optimal SDG’s strategies.
Sustainable development is the most important global movement of our time. In 2015, the 193 member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These interconnected goals aim to promote economic prosperity, ensure social equity and protect the environment.
Launched after the adoption of the UN-2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has had a task of delivering studies to assess where the world stands with regard to achieving sustainable development. The SDSN studies and reports on SDGs include indexes and dashboards using reliable data to show each country’s progress on the 17 SDGs. Value analysis and measuring progress on the SDGs can assist the states’ governance and policymakers in making important decisions about their development priorities using different types of data to measure socio-economic development towards SDGs on regional, national and city-levels.
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Responsible production and consumption
Global community is half-way to achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were projected for implementation by 2030. These goals provide a guide for the promotion of systems, practices and policies designed to create modern political economies along sustainable lines. National governance has not only to harness behavioral insights in political economies; it has to understand human behavior, its drives and changing patterns.
Learning from behavioral science, the national governance would use and apply solutions to contemporary challenges that involve all aspects of human behavior. The idea of applying behavioral insights to formulating national priorities is in line with reaching SDGs on local, regional and global scale.
The SDG-12 is specifically referring to responsible production and consumption; it means that promotion of sustainable consumption and production shall be followed by addressing socio-economic growth through the carrying capacity of ecosystems and decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation.
Modern socio-economic (more people globally will join the middle class in the next decades) and demographic changes (exponential growth in population) will additionally increase demand for already constrained natural resources. National governance is bound to adjust existing political economies in order to meet individual needs and aspirations within the world-wide ecological limits.
Among vital “adjustments” are the consumption patterns, which shall be sustainable; particularly the lifestyles in industrialized societies, to reduce their ecological footprint and to allow for the regeneration of natural resources and biodiversity for future generations. Besides, businesses shall find new solutions that enable sustainable consumption and production patterns; to reach the goal, a better understanding of environmental and social impacts of products and services is needed, including the product life cycles and their effect on lifestyles. It is firs of all businesses that are having greatest potential to improve production’s environmental and social impact: it can use its innovative power to design appropriate solutions that can both enable and inspire individuals to lead more sustainable lifestyles, reducing behavior impacts and improving well-being.
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SDG-12: main targets
These targets are composed in line with the implementation of the 10-Year Framework of Programs on sustainable consumption and production (10YFP), in which all countries are to take all the necessary actions. Among most important actions to be reached by 2030 are the following:
= achieving sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources;
= reducing by halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reducing food losses along production and supply chains including post-harvest losses;
= achieving environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle in accordance with agreed international frameworks; significantly reduce waste-release to air, water and soil to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment;
= substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.
Among other measures are:
= encouraging companies, especially large and trans-national companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycles;
= promoting public procurement practices that are sustainable in accordance with national policies and priorities;
= ensuring that citizens are having relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature and ecosystems;
= supporting developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacities to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production;
= developing and implementing tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which would creates jobs, promotes local culture and production of original foodstuff;
= reassessing inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, including restructuring of taxation and phasing out harmful subsidies with the negative environmental impacts.

Training and learning in SDG-12 implementation
The SDG Academy creates and curates graduate-level courses on sustainable development: from sustainable cities to human rights to climate action and waste management, etc. each course addresses the fundamental challenge facing modern governance. Most pressing issues include: how do people, communities, businesses and governments coexist, cooperate and collaborate to reach sustainable production and consumption; how to put national priorities on track to sustainability and prosperity; which SDGs shall be prioritized; and what kind of data the governance’s system need to ensure that no one is left behind?
There are certain drivers and barriers of citizens’ behavior which need a careful analysis by using behavior change theories.
In behavior change interventions, there is the need of designing and applying policy’s interventions, considering generic behavior-change tools, defining measures of success and evaluation
Among critical issues in behavioral change, the following issues shall be analyzed: behavior change-ethics, sustainable behavior change, as well as scaling national behavior models and perceptions.
Of utmost importance are behavioral changes in action: they include, e.g. improving waste management, protecting wetlands by changing cropping practices on private land, reducing food waste in households and enhancing patient care in hospitals, to name just a few.
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