TOWARDS HOLISTIC ACHIEVEMENT OF SDGs AN ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE | ATIH ROHAETI DARIAH
The announcement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has attracted the attention of many parties. Guyer (2015) for instance mentions that there are five ways for the SDGs to succeed. Firstly, they can be used to build engagement in fragile states around long-term strategies that integrate humanitarian and development approaches. Secondly, they may help in shifting away from a centralized approach to engaging and empowering local systems. Thirdly, the SDGs may serve to integrate peace-building programmes and conflict reduction for development. Fourthly, their role in leveraging financial service innovations can be explored. Finally, they will allow the world communities to move beyond the UN (United Nations) architecture.
Szabo and Matthews (2015) explain how to track the success of the SDGs. They assert that an effective implementation.of such a two-track SDG framework would require close alignment of the key country level developmental priorities with the global sustainable development agenda and an establishment of clear monitoring and accountability mechanisms responsible for tracking progress. Blanc’s (2014) analysis suggests that goals and targets can be seen as a network, in which links among goals exist through targets that refer to multiple goals. However, a new study on how to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 2030 in a framework of sustainable development planning has yet to be found. The only related studies that seem to exist so far are those done by Roughley (1999), and AlQahtany, et. all (2013). Roughley (1999) proposed a framework for integrated planning for ecological sustainability, in which the value base for ecological sustainable planning is eco-centric philosophy and social justice principles. AlQahtany, et. all (2013) proposed a sustainable urban planning development framework that has four key dimensions, namely environmental, social, economic and planning. The communication technology dimension (ICT) is an implicit dimension that may be included within all of the four key dimensions. Achievement of SDGs depends on the conditions a specific country may face vis-àvis their disparate ideological, socio-cultural, institutional and political structures. Given the Islamic ideology Muslim countries have embedded in their socio-cultural structures if not institutionalised at all, whether political or otherwise, achievement of SDGs therein may have a different approach than in other countries where such an ideology is not relevant. Thus, achieving SDGs in the Muslim countries by way of delineating a sustainable development plan in light of the relevant Islamic teachings. A research study jointly conducted by Universitas Islam Bandung, Indonesia, and Universiti Sains Malaysia established a conceptual framework of Islamic sustainable development planning based on Indonesian National Midterm Development Plan (RPJMN) for 2010-2014 . The following figure illustrates this framework. RPJMN is the basis of strategic plans. Therefore, the proposed framework uses the elements of strategic planning in terms of identification of problem and the strategic issues, in the context of internal and external environments. The solutions must reflect the statements of vision and missions. Accordingly, the strategies & policies, and programmes & actions must be delineated to achieve development goals.On a philosophical level, the SDGs must be analysed in light of the core Islamic paradigm as a manifestation of the concepts and beliefs like tawhid (monotheism), rububiyya (sustenance) and uluhiyya (lordship)(Qutb, 1988 as cited in Hanafi, 2013). The belief and acknowledgment of Allah as the creator, owner, and master of the whole universe (rububiyya), hence, only Allah deserves to be worshipped, obeyed, and complied with absolutely (uluhiyya). In addition, according to Salleh (2003), human beings and natural resources are both creations of Allah. In the context of sustainable development planning, based on the Islamic paradigm, the Islamic philosophy becomes the operational foundation of the whole implementation of development. Thus, the first guiding principle for achieving the SDGs is the awareness and the belief that life is solely the property of Allah. Humans are created only to worship Him and all the inputs of technology, financial, and human capitals from across different sectors, constitutes an essential element in forwarding sustainable development. Natural resources and the environment are Allah’s creations functioning to fulfil the life missions of a Muslim. Life and living go hand in hand, and depend on the space, namely the earth, as one of the planets in the whole system of the universe. Al Jayyousi (2012) describes the earth as a huge circle, with life as a small circle inside it. It means that human life is a part of the whole ecosystem. With such a position, the exploitation of natural resources and the environment should be accompanied by comprehensive understanding, belief, and responsibility. Allah has created everything in balance. According to Nasr as quoted from Akhtar (1996), Islam, human beings, and the universe are in equilibrium, interrelated, and mutually completing. Thus, those conditions will encourage the achievement of the 12th SDG “Responsible consumption and production”. The essence of the above point is that the protection of natural resources and the environment is an inseparable part of the efforts of sustainable development. Principally, there should be ethics or norms in exploiting natural resources and the environment. According to Abdurrahman (2012), Islamic environmental ethics should be based on the conceptual Figure: The Conceptual Framework of Islamic Sustainable Development Planning their actions during their life will be accounted for in the hereafter. Strategies and policies for problem solving focus on an individual’s spirituality (rohaniyya), namely nafs (soul), aql (intellect) and qalb (heart) development. At the societal level, these include infrastructure, ecology, health, education, social welfare and economics; and at the state level they relate to politics, government administration, law, and security. Finally, at the international level it governs the relationship between the countries (Salleh, 2003). These strategies and policies are supposed to achieve excellence, accumulate social capital and avoid mischief. The scope of development starts at individual level and gets accumulated to community and the state levels. All these three levels are covered in the 17 SDGs. For example, the 16th SDG of “peace, justice and strong institutions” related to the state, which must use political process, government administration, and law and security to implement it. It means that the state with strong institutions can realize justice. At the international level, building togetherness between countries is aligned with the 17th SDG of “Partnership for the goals”.
Figure: The Conceptual Framework of Islamic Sustainable Development Planning
At the individual level, it is expected to create ‘ihsan’ as the best quality of being a human. In this context, spiritual element should be put forward, maintaining the status as Allah’s servant and representatives on earth. A reciprocal view is expressed by Nurcholis Madjid and M. Amin Aziz in Azis and Ulfah (2010) that development is the fulfilment of the role of humans, as Allah’s representatives on earth, that would eventually be accounted for before Allah. Al-Jayyousi (2012) asserts that the principle of responsible human beings is one of the 10 principles of sustainable development from an Islamic perspective. Interaction between human beings comprises of the relationships between individuals or groups in various aspects that shape a society. The establishment of Muslim communities have the characteristics of ta’awun (mutual aid), takaful (mutual share of the burden), and tadhomun (having solidarity). These characteristics are instruments of social capital. Al-Jayyousi (2012) evinces that the social capital refers to the social networks, from family to neighbourhood and the global human community at large. Research results from Farooqi (2006) show that the strengthening of informal cooperative networks, through the inputs of technology, financial, and human capitals from across different sectors, constitutes an essential element in forwarding sustainable development. Natural resources and the environment are Allah’s creations functioning to fulfil the life missions of a Muslim. Life and living go hand in hand, and depend on the space, namely the earth, as one of the planets in the whole system of the universe. Al Jayyousi (2012) describes the earth as a huge circle, with life as a small circle inside it. It means that human life is a part of the whole ecosystem. With such a position, the exploitation of natural resources and the environment should be accompanied by comprehensive understanding, belief, and responsibility. Allah has created everything in balance. According to Nasr as quoted from Akhtar (1996), Islam, human beings, and the universe are in equilibrium, interrelated, and mutually completing. Thus, those conditions will encourage the achievement of the 12th SDG “Responsible consumption and production”. The essence of the above point is that the protection of natural resources and the environment is an inseparable part of the efforts of sustainable development. Principally, there should be ethics or norms in exploiting natural resources and the environment. According to Abdurrahman (2012), Islamic environmental ethics should be based on the conceptual framework constituting: tawhid (monotheism that Allah is the only God), ibada (devotion, having the value of charity), ‘ilm (knowledge searched in an attempt of glorifying Allah), khilafa (exploiting and preserving the nature), amana (being honest in treating the nature and just in empowering it), ‘adala (balance, where violators of amana will be rebuked by the prevailing law), jamal (beauty, beautiful phenomena should not be damaged), and halalharam. The above argument shows how pursuit of excellence, accumulation of social capital and avoidance of social harm are injected in the notion of development. The main focus is human development, especially spiritual development that is based on the Islamic belief system, with six pillars that is, faith in Allah, the angels, the prophets, the holy books and the day of judgment, and destiny. Furthermore, the ideal person is not only a pious and faithful human being, but also one who is well-educated and physically healthy. These two characteristics correspond to the SDG-3 ‘Good health and wellbeing’ and SDG 4 ‘Quality education’. The first point, still in the context of human development, is that each individual need food, clothing, and housing. This need is met through economic growth as well as job opportunities. And this relates to SDG-8 ‘Decent work and economic growth’. The essence of economic activity is production, distribution, and consumption. Production touches directly with the management of natural resources and the environment in an attempt to produce final goods through a number of production stages. According to Nasr as quoted from Akhtar (1996), Islam, human beings, and the universe are in equilibrium, interrelated, and mutually completing so that economic activities in the context of Islam will sustain the balance of nature to guarantee the availability of clean water and energy, and to maintain life under the sea and on land as well. All of them refer to the SDG-6 ‘Clean water and sanitation’, SDG-7 ‘Affordable and clean energy, SDG-13 ‘Climate action’, SDG-14 ‘Life below water’, and SDG-15 ‘Life on land’. The economic activities take place in a space or location. Each location has specific physical characteristics that the exploitation should be in accordance with, such as the potentials, capacity, and the maximum limit of use. Hence, spatial arrangement becomes equally crucial to support the activities of each sector. Moreover, to encourage economic growth, infrastructure is needed, in the forms of roads, bridges, terminals, ports, airports, electricity, water, telecommunication, and the like. And this is aligned with SDG-9 ‘Industry, innovation and infrastructure’, SDG-11 ’Sustainable cities and communities’. Fairness in this respect is in line with the SDG-1 ‘No poverty’, SDG-2 ‘Zero hunger’, and SDG-3 ‘Reduced inequalities’. Based on the above explanation, moving towards holistic achievement of SDGs in the Islamic perspective stresses on the paradigm that a human is a leader who is in charge of prospering and nurturing the earth and is forbidden to do any damage. Human responsibility to prosper and nurture the earth can be held under Islamic economic system which guarantees the economic, social and environmental integration. Within an Islamic perspective, there are five aggregate components for the achievement of SDGs. It involves an Islamic paradigm, human and human relationships, utilization of natural resources and environment, and economy. Therefore, the framework and structure of Islamic sustainable development planning will cover those components. The Islamic paradigm has become the operational basis for Islamic sustainable development planning formulation. The fundamental focus is on human development, i.e., creation of a complete man ‘insan kamil’, which requires spiritual development as the first priority, followed by education, health, and economy. The human development is supported by carefully managing the natural resources and environment, the infrastructure facilities and spatial responsibility.
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