The economist Nitin Desai, the environmentalist Sunita Narain and the writer P. Sainath spoke at an event in Delhi on 28 January to launch the South Asia Sustainability Hub & Knowledge Network as part of the Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium.
The new hub joins five other hubs around the world in the Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium, which the ESRC STEPS Centre has convened to link up research and action on environmental and social change around the world. The STEPS Centre is a research centre hosted at IDS and SPRU, University of Sussex, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Other hubs are located in China, Africa, Latin America, North America and Europe.
At the launch, P. Sainath said that urban development was based on many false assumptions. “Affordable housing has a serious crisis worldwide, but there isn’t anything being done,” he said.
Sunita Narain said she hoped the hub would help to link knowledge and policy. “I’m proud to be a part of this moment. We have a huge challenge of unmet needs,” she said.
“This is a key moment for India as it responds to climate change, rapid urban development and other big environmental and social challenges,” said Professor Pranav N. Desai of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), director of the new South Asia Sustainability Hub. “It is vital to act now to make sure its citizens get a more equal share of the benefits of development. This means listening to poor and marginalised people when we make decisions about the future.”
Other speakers at the event included Fiona Marshall and Ian Scoones from the STEPS Centre, as well as Tikender Singh Panwar, Dipak Gyawali, Priyanie Amersinghe and others (along with many other speakers).
Video from the event
Watch the playlist below for speeches by Nitin Desai, P. Sainath and Sunita Narain.
Addressing climate change and urbanisation
The launch was part of a week-long programme of events which included a workshop on climate change and uncertainty, a conference on sustainable urbanisation and a policy-focused workshop on risks and responses to urban futures.
The hub will build on work on these and other themes, and join forces with researchers in Latin America, Africa and elsewhere during 2016 as the Global Consortium develops ‘transformative networks’ to address sustainability challenges.
About the South Asia hub
The South Asia Sustainability Hub & Knowledge Network (SASH&KN) aims to develop a growing network of institutions and people committed to exploring pathways to sustainability in South Asia. It is part of the STEPS Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium.
The South Asia Sustainability Hub & Knowledge Network (SASH&KN) is hosted by the Transdisciplinary Research Cluster on Sustainability Studies (TRCSS) at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Read more about the South Asia hub on the STEPS Centre website.