Goal 12.8 of the Sustainable Development Goals states that ” by 2030 ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyle in harmony with nature ” . It is therefore from this background that i doubt the attainment of this goal taking a closer look at the current situation taking place at local level where there is massive land degradation ,deforestation vis-a-vis the target goal ,it’s really absurd and if the situation remains as such, meeting the goal remains “a pie in the sky”.
Sustainable Development means utilizing the resources in the present without compromising the opportunity of the future generation to enjoy the same benefits. Zimbabwe being one of the member states of the United Nations that adopted and endorsed the SDGs and pledged to work towards their attainment should really brace up and ACT now in ensuring that sustainable development goals won’t be just ” a much ado about nothing ” initiative.
To begin with, the populace at large need to be educated about sustainable development ,their engagement in national development framework should not be tokenistic but rather meaningful as they are the ones contributing to the deterioration of the natural environment. A notable example is that of ward 25 in Mashonaland West Zvimba East province where massive land degradation is taking place ,the area has become an illegal place for dealers who are digging up top soil /gravel on the vast land leaving it badly damaged with enormous gullies that have become nothing but death traps for children during the rainy season . Most of these people plundering the environment are youths who cannot find employment elsewhere, as an aftermath digging up the top soil and selling it to those in construction business has become the only panacea for their survival. The degradation of the environment happening in this community is an epitome of the real situation taking place in various communities which i cannot mention here as time may fail me. Looking back at goal 12.8 ,it is emphasising on making sure that everywhere people have relevant information and awareness for sustainable development so that they be able to deal with the nature in a more harmonous manner.
It therefore remains unquestionable that these people plundering the environment have no relevant information or awareness about the effects they will cause in the near or later future, their primary concern is survival . The SDGs also have not really been able to cascade from the top to the least person living in the community, they don’t know the relevance or the target goals ,thus the government is speeding towards a dead road because things are really ” falling apart” in various communities ,yet it still continue heralding about sustainable development.
Furthermore, goal 11.4 states that ” strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage ” ,strengthening efforts again becomes difficult if the real perpetrators are being left behind . It is myopic to hold hotel conventions discussion about what is to be done for the people ,yet the same people are miles away in their villages or communities unaware of what is being discussed. I stand to be corrected ,but i believe whatever is for the people ,without the people ,is against them.
Borrowing from the Nigerian proverb” he who does not know where he went wrong ,will never know when the rain began to beat him and worse off he cannot know when to start drying himself ” . What is wrong in the discourse of SDGs and also barricading towards attainment of target goals is simply lack of relevant information.