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Bhutan Scouts contributes towards achieving SDGs


“Sustainable Development – Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

                      (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987”

In 2015, all member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It sets 17 goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the central plan to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. This agenda offers a universal framework that integrates sustainable development and global citizenship, emphasizing that everyone has a role to play for it to succeed. These goals cannot be achieved without the contribution of young people. This is the largest generation of young people in history which means they need to be involved today as leaders, partners, and innovators in global agendas for sustainable development (UNFPA, 2014)

In 2015, all member states of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It sets 17 goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as the central plan to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. This agenda offers a universal framework that integrates sustainable development and global citizenship, emphasizing that everyone has a role to play for it to succeed. These goals cannot be achieved without the contribution of young people. This is the largest generation of young people in history which means they need to be involved today as leaders, partners, and innovators in global agendas for sustainable development (UNFPA, 2014)

 To create a better world, there are so many challenges which Scouts will have to take on. However, these can’t be tackled alone. Scouts in Bhutan have come together to address these issues at their own local level.

The 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs are a great learning opportunity for young people to help them understand complex issues, and to find new ways of engaging with their communities. Transformative education that equips new generations with the needed competencies to promote sustainable development is key to achieving these goals by 2030.

This is where Scouting comes in. Since its beginning, Scouting has been enabling young people from every corner of the globe to create positive change in their communities, acting on challenges and needs at all levels of society. It uses an action-oriented, self-educational approach to contribute to the empowerment and holistic development of young people as autonomous individuals and active global citizens.

Education is a key factor in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Scouting uses its non-formal education approach, the Youth Program, to enable young people to be active global citizens that create a better world. This means asking some important questions: What are the most pressing issues in our country? How will we adapt the Youth Program to equip Scouts with the competencies to tackle them? How can we make the learning environment Scouting offers more sustainable? Scouts for SDGs is an unprecedented mobilisation of the Scout Movement that will see 50 million Scouts make the world’s largest coordinated youth contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

It is Scouting’s Mission to educate young people to help build a better world. A better world with better lives for all is one where the SDGs are achieved – and Scouts can offer a strong contribution to this agenda. These goals are powerful tools to help young people, as well as adults, organizations, countries and so many other actors, move in the same direction in making life on earth better for all.

 “Aligning” with the SDGs?

Bhutan Scouts’ role in working towards its purpose of creating active global citizens have enabled us to take up projects at grassroots level in trying to achieve the SDGs. “Aligning” would indicate looking at Scouting’s educational proposal through the lens of the SDGs, this allows us to amplify what Scouting is already contributing to the 2030 agenda, which also encourages us to go further. Use this opportunity to strengthen the educational proposal of the youth programme in empowering scouts as active global citizens.

Bhutan Scouts have been able to contribute a lot in terms of SDGS especially in the Asia Pacific Region. It was a great opportunity for Bhutan to align to SDG. Some of the major opportunities are as follows:

• Demonstrate how our actions impact a bigger cause outside of Scouting in order to continue inspiring young people to create a better world.

 • Offer new learning opportunities to young people and equip them with the competencies they need to find lasting solutions to the issues that affect them the most.

 • Reinforce the Youth Programme by identifying and addressing areas of alignment.

 • Ensure Scouting’s continued relevance by answering the current needs of young people.

 • Help achieve Scouting’s vision to be the leading non-formal educational youth movement by being part of the global agenda for sustainable development.

 • Promote Scouting to new audiences by showcasing Scouting’s impact on sustainable development for more than 110 years.

 • Strengthen partnerships and improve fundraising by being part of SDG 17 – partnerships for the SDGs, and collaborating with other actors who want to see the SDGs achieved.

• Become more sustainable as an Institution by aligning with the SDGs across the organisation’s spheres of work.

  • The SDGs are interconnected and indivisible:

Meaning that no one goal can be achieved without the others. Just as the three dimensions of sustainable development (social, environmental, and economic) are mutually reinforcing, progress is required across the entire Agenda for the goals to be achieved, and so it has to be seen as a whole, rather than addressing one goal at a time. The uniqueness of the SDGs is that they help us understand how issues are interlinked. Addressing only one goal at a time is unlikely to create the most sustainable solutions.

Leaving no one behind is the crosscutting principle of the agenda, meaning that the achievement of the SDGs requires that everyone is onboard, and that the SDGs cannot be achieved unless everyone can benefit from a sustainable development. This means that those left furthest behind have to be empowered first.

 • The SDGs reframes the three dimensions of sustainable development – The social, economic and environmental – into five areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet: people, prosperity, planet, peace, and partnerships.

Education for the SDGs is crucial in helping to achieve this agenda by developing in individuals the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes needed to empower them to develop sustainable solutions to our current problems. This education must be learner-centred, action-oriented, and transformative (UNESCO, 2017). See the section on Education for the Sustainable Development Goals for more details.

Young people are critical agents of change in this agenda. Almost one third of the SDG indicators reference young people explicitly or implicitly, with a focus on empowerment, participation and/or well-being (UNICEF, 2018). But more than just being affected by the issues in the goals, young people are also innovators, leaders, change-makers, advocates, and entrepreneurs who can find new ways of tackling today’s issues.

Scouting’s action-oriented, self-educational approach is uniquely positioned to help young people develop into active citizens and contribute to sustainable development. Over one third of the 169 SDG targets highlight the role of youth and the Scout Movement’s focus on non-formal education as a pathway to help young people develop to their full potential links directly with SDG 4 on Quality Education.2 This approach to non-formal education is articulated in Scouting’s Youth Programme. The Youth Programme is the means through which Scouting contributes to the empowerment of autonomous individuals and the holistic development of active global citizens for the community. As highlighted in the World Scout Youth Programme Policy, the Youth Programme prepares young people to be active citizens locally and globally, responding to current economic, social and environment challenges, and contributing to the achievement of the SDGs (WOSM, 2017a)

As a movement, Scouting is a deeply embedded in the context of local communities and able to respond to the diverse needs and aspirations of young people. It is, therefore, a prime place to understand and tackle the issues that are brought forward in the SDGs.

Bhutan Scouts have over the last couple of years have been actively promoting the SDGs in the Schools and hundreds of Scouts have been able to positively respond to this. Bhutan has now surpassed many other Nations in terms of aligning our Scouting Program to SDGs and we have contributed immensely towards global service hours.

With the introduction of a platform called scout.org in 2012, Scouts all over the world have been able to showcase their work in scout.org. Many have been able to tell their stories through scout.org. Scout.org is a platform for Scouts and Non Scouts to share their stories and inspire others to do the same. This platform has been able to inspire thousands of young people all over the world to share their inspiring stories of creating a better world and making an impact in their own communities. Bhutan has been able to lead the Asia Pacific Region in terms of sharing our beautiful stories with the rest of the world. Bhutan has played a huge part in contributing towards global service hours. Bhutan has been recognized by the Asia Pacific Region for its efforts.

In terms of the projects and service hours in scout.org, Bhutan is in the top five positions in the Asia Pacific Region. Scouts of Bhutan have worked hard towards working in projects aligned towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The below highlights the contribution of Bhutan Scouts towards SDGs. The following are the number of SDG related projects shared in scout.org by Scouts of Bhutan. The figures given below are an update as of 12th March 2020.

Scouts Projects in relation to  SDGs for
Bhutan
Goals Sustainable Development Goals No. of Projects
1 No Poverty 452 Projects
2 Zero Hunger 413 Projects
3 Good Health & Wellbeing 1294 Projects
4 Quality Education 862 Projects
5 Gender Equality 480 Projects
6 Clean Water & Sanitation 413 Projects
7 Affordable & Clean Energy 292 Projects
8 Decent Work & Economic Grwoth 258 Projects
9 Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure 180 Projects
10 Reduced Inequalities 425 Projects
11 Sustainable Communities 1094 Projects
12 Responsible Consumption & Production 282 Projects
13 Climate Action 766 Projects
14 Life below Water 72 Projects
15 Life on Land 549 Projects
16 Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions 971 Projects
17 Partnership for the Goals 534 Projects
  Total SDG Projects 9337 Projects

Bhutan Scouts have contributed about 9337 Projects for SDGs. It is also ranked in the Top Five positions in scout.org in the Asia Pacific Region in terms of users, projects and service hours. Bhutan’s contribution towards global service hours is enormous.

Due to the Messengers of Peace Program, Bhutan is able to make a tangible mark in the Asia Pacific. It has been able to venture into diverse Scout projects with positive impact. Bhutan now competes with large Countries such India, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia with high population and large geographical areas.