Thursday, July 12, 2018

United Nations Week. Post 5. What Cave and Karst Scientists Can Contribute to the Remainder of the Sustainable Development Goals

Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
Yesterday, I wrote about how the international cave and karst community can contribute to achieving SDG6 which focuses on water and sanitation. Today, I focus attention on how the cave and karst community can help achieve the other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Before continuing on with this post, it may be useful for readers to go back to the first post in this series here which lists all of the 17 SDG's.

One of the great things about the cave and karst community is that it is so well interconnected through professional organizations and cave clubs. As a result, we have a tremendous ability to marshal an international effort to create positive change in the world. As noted earlier, I focused yesterday on how we can focus initiatives on SDG6 which focuses on water. Below, I highlight some ways that we can contribute to the remainder of the goals.

SDG3. Good Health and Well-Being. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. One of the targets of SDG3 is "By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination." One of the indicators of this target is to assess the "mortality rate attributed to unsafe water, unsafe sanitation and lack of hygiene (exposure to unsafe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for All (WASH) services)".  This goal ties very much to the water goals outlined in yesterday's post. However, there is a specific cave and karst community response (CKCR) that could be developed: 
3.1. CKCR:  Evaluate the world karst map and assess in terms of water born illnesses to determine how the karst community can help with public health interventions.

SDG4. Quality Education. Insure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. There are several targets that can be addressed by the cave and karst community under the education goal. However this target, "By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development" with this indicator, "Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in: (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education and (d) student assessment" has the most relevance for the CKCR. 
4.1.CKCR:  Develop formal, informal, and public educational initiatives on cave and karst systems that embrace sustainability and the SDGs. 
4.2.CKCR: Ensure that cave and karst systems are included in education on climate change and the carbon cycle.

SDG5. Gender Equality. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. There is one main target where the cave and karst community can assist with gender equity. "Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life" and there is one CKCR that can assist with reaching the goal:
5.1.CKCR. Ensure that cave and karst organizations have equitable leadership by gender and that women are in positions of authority.

SDG8. Decent Work and Economic Growth. Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. There is an interesting target in this indicator that is rather significant for the cave and karst community, "By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products". This indicator provides opportunities for the cave and karst community to support cave and karst tourism.
8.1.CKCR: Develop cave and karst tourism assets to assist with job growth and economic development.

SDG11. Sustainable Cities and Communities. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The cave and karst community is very interested in insuring that our communities are sustainable. While there are several targets with which we could engage, there is one main target under SDG11 that we can address:  "Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage". So many of karst landscapes contribute to our natural heritage and we must work to protect and preserve them.
11.1.CKCR: With the support of the world karst map, identify key karst areas at risk from development and advocate for their preservation and protection.

SDG12. Responsible Consumption and Production. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. While it may not seem like there is much we can offer here, there are opportunities to look inward to verify that we are walking the walk. The target of significance is, "Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle". We can respond with:
12.1.CKCR:  Ensure that cave and karst organizations including cave clubs adopt sustainable practices and report to their members their sustainability initiatives.

SDG15. Life on Land. Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss. There are several targets that the cave and karst community could address under this particular SDG, but there is one main one that covers most of the issues of concern to the cave and karst community, "By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements." While cave and karst systems are not specifically mentioned, there is no doubt that the unique biodiversity in caves and karst landscapes need to be understood and protected.
15.1.CKCR:  Study, conserve, and restore the unique ecosystems found in cave and karst systems.

SDG16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels. There are a number of indicators within this SDG, but one is useful for consideration by the cave and karst community, "Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels." This indicator has been used by many groups, including indigenous groups, women, the disabled, and the LBGTQ community to address many concerns about equity with the SDG process.
16.1.CKCR. Ensure that cave and karst organizations are welcoming and open to participation by all including indigenous groups, women, the disabled, and the LGBTQ Community.


17. Partnerships for the Goals. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. While much of this goal is focused on national level cooperation and funding, there is one key indicator important for the cave and karst community, "Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism." As a result, one potential CKCR is:
17.1.CKCR. Develop and enhance cooperation among cave and karst organizations around the world.

Taken together, these CKCR's to the Sustainable Development Goals provides a framework and agenda that can help any cave and karst organization participate with the international effort to promote global sustainability.

A complete list is below that includes the ones that were developed yesterday in response to SDG6. Obviously, this list is a draft, incomplete, and up for discussion. Not all organizations will be able to do all things on this list. However, it is worth considering how the cave and karst community can respond to the SDGs in a clear and systematic way.


Cave and Karst Community Responses (CKCR) to the Sustainable Development Goals

3.1. CKCR:  Evaluate the world karst map and assess in terms of water born illnesses to determine how the karst community can help with public health interventions.

4.1.CKCR:  Develop formal, informal, and public educational initiatives on cave and karst systems that embrace sustainability and the SDGs. 

4.2.CKCR: Ensure that cave and karst systems are included in education on climate change and the carbon cycle.

5.1.CKCR. Ensure that cave and karst organizations have equitable leadership by gender and that women are in positions of authority.


6.1.1. CKCR:  Support organizations locally and internationally that are working to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.


6.1.2. CKCR:  Evaluate the world karst map and our own communities to assess key karst regions where there are challenges with access to safe and affordable drinking water. Support agencies in these areas that are seeking to improve access to water.

6.1.2. CKCR. Support organizations locally and internationally that are working to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.


6.2.2. CKCR.  Evaluate the world karst map and our own communities to assess where there is not access to equitable sanitation and hygiene for all. Find ways to either improve sanitation or support agencies working in these areas.

6.3.1. CKCR. Continue and enhance surface and groundwater monitoring in karst areas and share the monitoring data widely with the public and government agencies so that it can be evaluated over time.


6.3.2. CKCR. Advocate for reduction of point and non point pollution in karst watersheds.

6.4.1. CKCR. Advocate for sound planning of water resources in karst areas to ensure sustainable groundwater withdrawal and to protect surface ecosystems.

6.4.2. CKCR. Advocate for water conservation and water efficiency projects in cave and karst regions.

6.5.1. CKCR. Work to map karst watersheds and communicate the implications of transboundary issues to government officials and water managers to facilitate cooperations among regions on sound surface and groundwater management.

6.6.1. CKCR. Identify key areas for restoration and protection in cave and karst areas by identifying a list of international, national, and local priorities for attention. 


6.6.2. CKCR. Work with other stakeholders to restore and protect top areas identified in 6.6.1.

6.A.1. CKCR. Begin a new international education initiative aimed at creating greater understanding of cave and karst landscapes aimed not only at the public, but at key decision makers.


6.A.2. CKCR. Advocate for the inclusion of karst systems within youth curriculum.

6.A.3. CKCR. Accelerate informal education efforts through clubs, Websites, and public lectures.


6.B.1. CKCR. Provide opportunities for local communities to participate in cave and karst events, particularly those aimed at conservation or improving water and sanitation management.


6.B.2. CKCR. Create contacts with local, state, and national government officials to engage them with community initiatives.

8.1.CKCR: Develop cave and karst tourism assets to assist with job growth and economic development.

11.1.CKCR: With the support of the world karst map, identify key karst areas at risk from development and advocate for their preservation and protection.

12.1.CKCR:  Ensure that cave and karst organizations including cave clubs adopt sustainable practices and report to their members their sustainability initiatives.

15.1.CKCR:  Study, conserve, and restore the unique ecosystems found in cave and karst systems.

16.1.CKCR. Ensure that cave and karst organizations are welcoming and open to participation by all including indigenous groups, women, the disabled, and the LGBTQ Community.

17.1.CKCR. Develop and enhance cooperation among cave and karst organizations around the world.

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